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Chesapeake Bay States, DC Call For Continued Federal Funding Of Cleanup Efforts

Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution calling for continued federal partnership in the Bay cleanup as part of the Chesapeake Executive Council meeting.

The Governors and representatives who make up the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council took bipartisan action to lead the fight against the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate the Chesapeake Bay Program in the next fiscal year.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued this statement in response--

“CBF applauds the Executive Council’s strong, bipartisan action to protect the successful Bay Partnership. Unless we want this to be the last Executive Council meeting and the end of this historic collaboration, we need to continue to resist actions from the Trump Administration that would undermine state efforts to save the Bay and our rivers and streams.

“After all the progress made over the last 30 years, under the Trump Administration’s budget recommendation the Bay would revert to a national disgrace with deteriorating water quality, unhealthy fish and shellfish, and water borne diseases that pose a real threat to human health. The same proposal for FY 2017 was resoundingly rejected by Congress earlier this year, and it can be defeated again with the kind of leadership the Executive Council is demonstrating.

“Today’s resolution was an important step to protect the Bay partnership. Now we need to generate similar bipartisan support in Congress to counter the Administration’s efforts and ensure that the success we have seen in recent years continues. We call on Governor Hogan, as the new chairman of the Bay Program’s Executive Council, to lead the fight for clean water, both in the State House and on Capitol Hill.”

The text of the resolution follows--

Resolution In Support Of The Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership

WHEREAS the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership began in 1983 with the signing of the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement by Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Chesapeake Bay Commission; and

WHEREAS, the partnership has steadily grown over more than three decades to include the states of Delaware, New York and West Virginia as well as numerous public and private institutions, organizations and agencies; and

WHEREAS, the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership affirmed its commitment to Chesapeake Bay restoration as recently as 2014 with the signing of the2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement ; and

WHEREAS, the science, policy and budgetary actions promoted by the partnership have provided a solid foundation for improvements in water quality, habitat, fisheries and a range of critical restoration issues; and

WHEREAS, the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership has promoted, funded and implemented shared responses to bay challenges and opportunities by local, state and federal institutions and agencies and the private sector; and

WHEREAS, a 2014 peer-reviewed study estimated that the economic benefits of a restored Chesapeake Bay to the region’s economy could reach $130 billion annually; and

WHEREAS, the state-federal partnership has been hailed as a model conservation and restoration program – a successful example of cooperative federalism – on an unprecedented scale; and

WHEREAS, the independent volunteer advisors of the Citizens, Local Government and Scientific and Technical Advisory Committees support the critical and unique role of the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership and have encouraged us to advocate for continued federal support; and

WHEREAS, Section 117 of the Clean Water Act calls specifically for the signatories of the various Chesapeake Bay Agreements to “achieve and maintain...the water quality requirements necessary to restore living resources in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem”; and

WHEREAS, the EPA is mandated to have a Chesapeake Bay Program office that supports the states and the district through “implementing and coordinating science, research, modeling, support services, monitoring, data collection and other activities”; and

WHEREAS, federal agencies, including the EPA, the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Defense, Transportation, Commerce and others, have contributed significantly in both money and actions, to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay, and

WHEREAS, the partnership is at the mid-point of a fifteen year-long plan to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loadings to the Chesapeake Bay, known as the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL); and

WHEREAS, the scientific, technical and financial support from EPA and other federal agencies are important contributors to the success of the TMDL and the benefits that will accrue from improved water quality; and

WHEREAS, the partnership is at an important milestone as it approaches the mid-point assessment of the TMDL this year with a goal to have all actions in place by 2025; and

WHEREAS, in 2016 water quality in the Chesapeake Bay continued a trend of improvement, including record acres of bay grasses, smaller “dead zones” without oxygen and decreased loads of nutrients and sediment from most tributaries; and

WHEREAS, continued progress is based on maintaining and accelerating the scientific, policy and funding partnership, including both public and private sectors that the Chesapeake Bay Program represents.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Chesapeake Executive Council:

Calls on the President and the United States Congress to continue the current level of federal support for the Chesapeake Bay Program and the participating partners for the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, including the active, coordinating role of the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that science, monitoring, modeling and restoration continue to be undertaken with the full participation of local, state and federal agencies, and private sector entities as appropriate;

NOW BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, we, the signatories* of this resolution, will distribute this resolution to the President of the United States, members of Congress and other supporters of this federal, state and local partnership so they may have the sense of the Council on this important matter.

More information on Pennsylvania’s initiatives related to the Chesapeake Bay are available on DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office webpage.

For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to become a member.


AP: Chesapeake Bay Watershed States, DC Call for Federal Support

State Leaders Oppose Federal Pullback From Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Funding

Companies Making It Their Businesses To Help The Chesapeake Bay

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Budget Challenges Part II: Environmental Restoration, Park, Land Conservation Project Funding Cut 75 Percent

Budget Challenges Part III: Federal Govt Pays More To Fund DEP Than PA Does, Will They Cut Too?

[Posted: June 8, 2017]


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