An environmental group is blasting the Trump administration’s proposal to slash funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program.
The current budget for the Chesapeake Bay Program is $85 million. The Trump administration is proposing cutting that to $7 million, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation President Will Baker calls the decision by the Trump administration “an assault on the Chesapeake Bay and clean water.”
Baker said this is the third year the Trump administration has cut funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program.
“The first year he did it, he cut it to zero,” Baker said.
The Chesapeake Bay Program coordinates bay restoration efforts in the states that are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, chairman of the Chesapeake Executive Council, said the Trump Administration, “recklessly and repeatedly proposes gutting Chesapeake Bay funding.”
Hogan said as chairman of the six-state Chesapeake Executive Council, “I will again lead a bipartisan effort to restore this funding. While the Trump administration continues to turn its back on the bay, we will keep fighting to protect one of our most precious natural assets.”
Funding from the federal government helps states pay for the cleanup efforts.
“These are moneys that do not come to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation,” Baker said. “We are privately funded. These are moneys that go to the states and local governments to reduce pollution, to monitor the success of that reduction and to fund the research needed to advance it.”
Baker said in the past, when the Trump administration cut funding for the Chesapeake Bay, Congress restored the funding. In the current year, Baker explains, Congress was able to boost the funding to $85 million.
Baker added the Chesapeake Bay and efforts to restore it have traditionally been a bipartisan issue, so for that reason, he is “optimistic” that members of Congress can once again restore funding for the Bay.
“The shame of it is that they have to be fighting just to stay at equal funding,” Baker said. “They ought to be fighting to double or triple the funds to restore this great natural resource — not just to put back what the President has cut.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the current budget.