(Annapolis, MD) – Today, the Choose Clean Water Coalition is issuing a formal response to the president’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The budget recommends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program budget be slashed from its current allocation of $73 million to just $7.3 million – a 90 percent cut to current funding. These funds would be designated only for monitoring, and would effectively shutdown all other aspects of the restoration effort.
Last year, the president recommended completely eliminating funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. This was met with resistance from not only the environmental community, but members of Congress, as this funding results in millions of dollars in support for projects that are improving communities and protecting local waterways around the watershed. Both the House and the Senate ignored the president’s recommendation, and increased the funding to $60 million and $73 million in their respective appropriations bills.
“Since the president took office, the Coalition and our 235 members across the watershed have sprung into action, rallying their legislators to pass a budget that will continue to protect our water,” said Chanté Coleman, director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “We look forward to working with our Chesapeake delegation in Congress to move the decimal point over to its rightful place and restore bay funding to $73 million.”
In 2017, at least $48 million of the allocated $73 million in funding went directly to the six watershed states and the District of Columbia. This funding supports on the ground projects that improve drinking water, restore oyster populations, reduce pollution from farmland, and create habitat for iconic species like striped bass and blue crabs. This support is awarded to organizations like the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, for projects that protect drinking water, plant more trees, and help farmers install pollution reducing practices across the watershed.
"The funding that groups like the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay receive through the Chesapeake Bay Program enables us to do boots on the ground work that produces real results for cleaner water in communities across the Chesapeake,” said Kate Fritz, director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. “With this dramatic decrease in funding, we will have to take our foot off the gas for restoring local streams and rivers, threatening all the incredible work that has occurred in the Chesapeake Bay region over the last 30 years."
The Choose Clean Water Coalition, an organization that harnesses the collective power of more than 230 local, state, regional and national groups to advocate for clean rivers and streams in all communities in the Chesapeake region.