BALTIMORE (WJZ) — President Donald Trump’s proposed budget is generating worry that it could be bad news for the Chesapeake Bay’s health.
Alex DeMetrick reports, one estimate could gut the Environmental Protection Agency’s oversight of clean-up efforts.
President Trump plans to spend billions to beef up the military. To pay for it, federal agencies like the EPA will face budget cuts. And that could trickle down to the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program.
The Office of Management and Budget estimates a reduction from $73 million to $5 million.
“It would pretty much eliminate the EPA money in the program, and that’s not only important, it’s critical to its success,” says Will Baker, of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
That’s because over 150 streams and rivers running through six states end up in the Chesapeake Bay.
Water quality that impacts what grows here, what lives here, and what ends up on dinner plates.
The EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program monitors those pulse points, displaying results annually. And the bay’s health has shown signs of improvement.
“It’s an accounting tool, so people can say ‘Hey are things moving in the right direction? If not, why?,'” says Nicholas Dipasquale, director of the Chesapeake Bay Program at the EPA.
And the EPA can penalize states failing to meet the set goals.
“They’re making sure all the states do what they’re supposed to do,” says Baker.
It will take the new EPA secretary months to finalize what gets cut.
“What we’re not sure of is how serious the proposal is,” Baker says.
There is hope what’s working for the bay will keep the EPA working on it. Supporters of the EPA’s bay program plan to lobby Congress to keep it funded.