In this current political climate, there is one thing that Americans continue to support regardless of political affiliation, race, religion, and gender—and that is clean water. Polling continues to show that clean water issues, especially related to drinking water, continue to be a priority for our citizens. This is not surprising since we as a nation depend on clean water for everything from our daily cup of coffee to bathing our children to preparing our dinner. Clean water is an essential part of our lives, which is why it is so important for us to protect the growing threats against it.
The Trump Administration has made it clear that one of their priorities is to rollback essential protections for clean water, starting with major cuts in his proposed FY17 budget and the repeal of the Clean Water Rule. In response, the Coalition has joined a national effort called Clean Water For All. Clean Water For All is bringing together environmental groups from different strategic regions across the country to defend and protect our water from federal threats. In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the campaign is focused on clean water protections in two target states: Virginia and Pennsylvania.
In Virginia, the Coalition is supporting our state lead, the Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) in their role as a state-wide convener of groups concerned about national and local threats. The Coalition and VCN identified a few policy priorities that the campaign will further Virginia:
- Ensuring full funding of programs that give farmers the tools they need to implement Best Management Practices.
- Promoting and protecting core environmental laws including the Clean Water Act
- Demanding investments in the Chesapeake Bay at every level
- Upgrading Virginia’s infrastructure to provide clean water for all
So what’s happening now? Here is some of the current work happening to support the above priorities:
Ensuring full funding of programs that give farmers the tools they need to implement Best Management Practices.
- The Farm Bill is the number one priority related to agriculture on the federal level, and the Coalition is working closely with our supporters on the Hill to make the Chesapeake Bay a priority for funding. Coalition members are encourage to sign on to a letter of support here.
- At the state level, it imperative that the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practice (BMP) Cost-Share Program funding be increased and maintained in order for farmers to be able to participate in agriculture conservation practices. To support this effort, the Coalition, VCN, and its Virginia members are working to set up agricultural BMP tours and develop a communications toolkit to effectively communicate about the importance of this funding.
Promoting and protecting core environmental laws including the Clean Water Act
- One of the Trump Administration’s first attacks on clean water was the repeal of the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which clarified which bodies of water would be automatically protected by the Clean Water Act. The Coalition and VCN have worked to provide members with communications resources, links to sign on letters, and information on how to get involved with the effort to protect this important legislation.
- As required by the Clean Water Act, EPA put forward pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay after decades of failed attempts to restore this treasured estuary. The Coalition will continue to ensure that the states work to meet their pollution reduction goals through our TMDL Workgroup and sign on letters.
Demand investments in the Chesapeake Bay at every level
- With the elimination of funding in the President’s proposed FY17 budget, the Coalition has worked hard with its members and champions in Congress to reinstate the $73 million for the restoration effort. The Coalition has used and will continue to use targeted communications, sign on letters, and in-person meetings to convey the importance of this funding.
We will continue to update this page with new information about the Virginia Clean Water Campaign and the above priorities. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we work together to defend clean water for all.