Statement from Chanté Coleman, Director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition, on the Chesapeake Bay Program Executive Council Meeting
(Annapolis, MD) – Today, the Chesapeake Executive Council, consisting of the governors of the six watershed states, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, met in Baltimore, Maryland to discuss the current status of the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort. The Council also signed a directive in support of agricultural technical assistance and conservation practice implementation.
In response, the Choose Clean Water Coalition is releasing this statement from Chanté Coleman, director of the Coalition.
“We applaud the Chesapeake Executive Council for signing the directive today that will make technical and program support for agriculture a priority. The recent Environmental Protection Agency report on the state of the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort indicated that while the states have made great progress in certain areas, many are lagging in reducing pollution from agriculture. While elevating this issue is an important step, without additional resources dedicated to actually funding on the ground projects that reduce pollution, this directive is just words. One of the reasons Pennsylvania has found itself behind in meeting their goals, is due to a lack of funding for projects, which is why we are calling on the state legislature to create dedicated funding sources for clean water.”
“Pennsylvania is not alone. It should come as no surprise, that areas where states like Maryland and Virginia are behind in meeting their goals are also often the result of a lack of funding. All of the states must make supporting on the ground projects that reduce agricultural, and urban and suburban runoff a priority.”
“One way that the governors and the mayor of the District of Columbia can support more funding and resources for on the ground projects, is to voice their support for the provisions of the Senate Farm Bill that are meant to do just that. The bay watershed’s Senate delegation worked hard for a greatly improved Regional Conservation Partnership Program that will provide more resources for farmers in Critical Conservation Areas around the nation, and that includes the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Senate Farm Bill also provides more funding for critically needed riparian forest buffers through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, and also streamlines the process for obtaining these resources, including technical assistance.
The Choose Clean Water Coalition is an organization that harnesses the collective power of more than 240 local, state, regional and national groups to advocate for clean rivers and streams in all communities in the Chesapeake region.