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Bill for Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Passes House
A Win in Senate Might Be Challenging

Bill for Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Passes House

Chesapeake Bay is about two hundred miles long from its northern headwaters, which is the Susquehanna River to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. Over 150 major rivers and streams make up the bay's 64,299-square-mile drainage basin encompassing the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. (Photo: TDH Landscaping)

The U.S. House of Representatives has just passed an Interior Appropriations bill - the EPA's budget - that includes $85 million to help clean up Chesapeake Bay. The last effort was $73 million.

As reported in the Daily Press out of Newport News, Virginia, much of the funding would be used in that state. The funding was requested by a democratic representative from Virginia who lists the health of the bay and other waterways as one of her top priorities.

Reporter Tamara Dietrich writes that the bill also has "$1.8 billion for the federal Clean Water State Revolving Fund, $523.9 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and $2.27 million for the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Trails Program to promote public access."

Getting it passed in the republican-controlled Senate's chambers is another issue as a signature of President Trump since his administration would like to put more of the burden on the states, Maryland and Virginia that border the bay.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group, recently released a statement saying the current administration threatened to reduce funding to The Chesapeake Bay program by 90%. The program coordinates the science behind restoration efforts and doles out grant money to states for research and actionable practices that reduce pollution.

The statement went on to say, "Additional funds would be used to expand grant programs - one that improves water quality and habitat in small, local waterways, and a second that supports innovative and market-based approaches to reducing pollution. In addition, funds will be used to assist local governments in reducing pollution and provide increased assistance to priority watersheds that will provide the most cost-effective pollution reductions."

"Since President Ronald Reagan singled out the importance of restoring this national treasure in his 1984 State of the Union Address, bay restoration has had strong bipartisan support," states Lisa Feldt, Chesapeake Bay Foundation vice president of environmental protection and restoration. "Under the leadership of the Bay Program, we are making progress. Over time the dead zone is getting smaller, bay grasses are rebounding, and oyster restoration is underway."

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February 16, 2020, 9:23 pm PDT

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