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Senators oppose Trump cuts to Chesapeake Bay funding

donald trumpU.S. Senators representing the Chesapeake Bay Watershed blasted President Trump’s budget released Thursday that would zero out funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program and severely cut funding for other core programs to maintain and restore the health of the Bay, which is an economic lifeline for the region. Led by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Chris Coons (both D-Del.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)joined together as a regional delegation to immediately urge appropriators to reject the shortsighted and dangerous cuts put forward by President Trump. Their letter can be found here and is in full below.

“President Trump’s budget cannot be taken seriously. He claims to want to help strengthen our economy and create jobs while simultaneously wanting to eliminate critical federal investments that allow Chesapeake Bay states like Maryland to prosper,” said Senator Cardin. “The president needs to understand that a healthy Bay means a healthy economy and this cannot be accomplished without a strong federal partner. Less pollution means more oysters and crabs, healthier farmland, more boats and tourism on the water, and more jobs. As a region, we are urging appropriators to quickly reject the president’s budget before the absurdity of his proposed cuts causes ripples of uncertainty and fear across the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed economy.”

“Thousands of Delawareans and millions across our region depend on a clean and healthy Chesapeake Bay. Slashing the funding that allows the EPA to maintain this environmental and economic resource is short-sighted and irresponsible,” said Senator Carper. “It’s critical that we keep fighting to protect the Chesapeake Bay so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy it the same way we have for generations.”

“At a time when Chesapeake Bay health is finally showing signs of improvement, this Administration ought to be doubling down on efforts to reduce pollution, not drastically cutting back,” said Senator Casey.  “I will continue to fight for additional resources to help Pennsylvania and all Chesapeake Bay states meet their cleanup obligations.”

“The President’s budget proposal to entirely eliminate funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort is incredibly short-sighted. The Chesapeake Bay is an essential economic engine in this region, supporting thousands of jobs in the fishery and tourism industries and generating millions in revenue each year,” Senator Warner said. “Since the implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Program in 1983, we’ve seen tremendous improvements in the health of the Bay.  I strongly urge congressional appropriators to reject the President’s request, and look forward to working with the entire regional delegation to Congress to ensure we don’t endanger the years of progress that have been made in restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay.”

“Cutting the programs that protect our clean water won’t create good-paying jobs, it won’t raise wages for workers in the region, and it certainly won’t make anyone healthier,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Congress should reject President Trump’s irresponsible budget proposal and instead fight for funding that protects the health, safety, and economic wellbeing of all Americans.”

“As I have said, I haven’t met a West Virginian that doesn’t want clean air to breathe and clean water to drink,” Senator Manchin said. “The Chesapeake Bay is an invaluable body of water that does wonders for our ecosystem. I am proud of the work that has been done through these programs to restore the nation’s largest estuary, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to maintain their existence.”

“We are blessed in Delaware with lands and waterways that are a source of pride, including the Nanticoke River,” said Senator Coons.  “The Chesapeake Bay supports the livelihoods of millions across our region, and our state agencies and landowners rely on this funding to ensure that we can continue to be careful stewards of the bay.  I will keep fighting to ensure that we can continue to preserve the health of this vital resource.”

“Because of bipartisan support for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, pollution is down, oyster and crab populations are up, and more people are able to enjoy the Bay. Saving the Bay is good for the environment and good for the economy,” Senator Kaine said. “In his joint address to Congress, President Trump stated that his Administration will work to ‘promote clean air and clean water.’ But today, just two weeks later, his budget proposes to eliminate the Chesapeake Bay Program. It is clear now what the President’s promises are worth.”

“The budget cuts proposed by President Trump would seriously damage our efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay – and threaten the jobs that depend on a healthy Bay ecosystem,” Senator Van Hollen said. “There is absolutely no justification for loosening rules on polluters and dismantling the Bay cleanup effort, which is what the Administration’s proposal would do. We must stand together and fight for the Bay so that the watermen, the tourism and boating industries, and all those who value clean water and clean air are protected from the Trump Administration’s assault on our environment.”

The text of the letter follows and can be found here.

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