Proposed budget puts drinking water sources at risk for 13 million Bay residents
(Annapolis, MD) – Today, the President has released his budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which recommends that the $73 million budget for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program be eliminated. This would stop the clean up of Chesapeke Bay in its tracks and undo the tremendous progress we have made to date.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed is made up of a network of hundreds of thousands of rivers and streams that are important sources of recreation, food, and drinking water for millions of people. Tens of thousands of members of the tourism and fishing industry depend on the Bay to provide for their families. In fact, the Bay’s economic worth is estimated at more than $1 trillion. In addition, over 13 million people from six different states and the District of Columbia rely on the Bay’s rivers and streams to provide the water that they drink. The Chesapeake Bay restoration effort is not only about saving an iconic estuary, it is about protecting the water that residents depend on.
Bay Program funding supports on-the-ground restoration efforts that are improving communities and protecting local waterways around the watershed. The 226 organizations that make up the Choose Clean Water Coalition are just some of the organizations responsible for implementing these restoration projects. With no funding, grant programs that help sustain and support critical work would disappear, leaving many organizations with little to no support to implement projects.
“Support from the Bay Program is essential to continuing to reduce pollution in our local rivers and streams,” said Chante Coleman, director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “With such a drastic cut in funding, some of the most basic needs of people and wildlife, such as clean drinking water, will be threatened.”
The Bay Program is a classic example of “cooperative federalism,” in which federal agencies and states work collaboratively, with EPA providing critical resources and expertise to the states, which are ultimately responsible for cleaning up their own waters. Just a few weeks ago, 17 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to the president requesting full funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program. The Coalition will work with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to continue to push back on this proposed budget and secure the funding necessary to return clean water to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Choose Clean Water Coalition harnesses the collective power of more than 226 local, state, regional and national groups – including the Izaak Walton League of America – to advocate for clean rivers and streams in all communities in the Chesapeake region.
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