I often say that saving the Chesapeake Bay isn’t just the right thing to do for our environment – it’s the right thing to do for our bank accounts as well. The Bay supports $1 trillion to the economies of its 6-state watershed, supplying jobs in fishing, farming, boating and tourism.
So President Trump’s decision to eliminate all federal funding from the $73 million Chesapeake Bay Program in his proposed budget makes little sense to anyone who makes a living on its shores. We are about halfway toward meeting our pollution goals – with the help of federal funding for projects like oyster restoration that I have personally supported. In fact, the Bay recently received its second-highest health grade since the scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science began grading its ecosystem 30 years ago. This would set us way, way, back.
The good news is that both Republicans and Democrats who represent the Bay, several of us who happen to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, understand the dire consequences. Some joined me in sending a bipartisan letter to President Trump earlier this year to request full Bay funding and are working with me to include the money in our annual appropriations bill.
The Chesapeake Bay is like “motherhood and baseball,” I recently told the Washington Post. “It’s part of what we do and what we stand for.” I will continue fighting to ensure the Bay has the resources it needs to continue improving and providing jobs and recreation for generations to come.