Since the first Bay Agreement in 1983, EPA has been the lead federal partner with the states in the work to reduce pollution to the Chesapeake Bay.
In the last eight years, the states and EPA accelerated their efforts to achieve specific, science-based pollution reduction targets by 2025.
All six states and the District of Columbia agreed, and developed their own plans to achieve the necessary pollution reductions. In addition each jurisdiction developed two-year milestones to help track progress. The result has been an accelerated recovery with water clarity and underwater grasses increasing, and the dead zone decreasing.
After the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement was signed in 1983, Ronald Reagan said in his 1984 State of the Union Address: “Though this is a time of budget constraints, I have requested for EPA one of the largest percentage budget increases of any agency. We will begin the long, necessary effort to clean up a productive recreational area and a special national resource—the Chesapeake Bay.”
On Feb. 28, President Trump spoke to Congress and said: My administration wants to work with members in both parties to…promote clean air and clean water…[emphasis added].
Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued the following statement concerning President Trump’s proposed budget, which eliminates funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program:
This just makes no sense. We are in disbelief. The EPA’s role in this clean up is nothing less than fundamental. It’s not just important, it is critical.
Eliminating the EPA Bay Program will slam the door on the Bay’s nascent recovery, a recovery which is still very fragile.
Thanks to an unprecedented partnership among elected officials, citizens and communities across our region, we are decades into a Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan that is restoring our waters and enjoys strong bipartisan support. Eliminating funding for EPA’s Bay Program derails these efforts and directly undermines all that has been accomplished. For all of us who care about a restored Bay, healthy crabs and oysters, and healthy local economies, the Trump Administration’s budget is a clarion call to stand up and fight to save the Bay.
There is the very real chance that if this budget were implemented, the Bay will revert to a national disgrace with deteriorating water quality, unhealthy fish and shell fish, and water borne diseases that pose a real threat to human health. Compare that to its current trajectory – a Bay teaming with healthy fish oysters and crabs; a Bay safe for children to swim in; a national model of a federal/state partnership heralded worldwide.
Clean water is not a luxury, it is a right that no American should have to fight to achieve.
By implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the benefits nature provides to us will increase in value by more than $22 billion. And we reap those added benefits every year.
At the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, we will fight with every fiber in our bodies to see that Congress rejects this Bay budget and maintains a program that has achieved so much and is poised to save one of the world’s greatest natural resources.