ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Maryland’s greatest natural resource is getting attention in Congress.
The Chesapeake Bay Funding Reauthorization Act provides $90.5 million a year for five years. According to the Choose Clean Water Coalition, more than two-thirds of the program’s funds are passed through to the states and local communities for on-the-ground restoration work.
Thanks to continued funding, advocates said, the water is clearer, the aquatic grasses healthier and a reduction in algae triggers fewer dead zones.
But the fight against pollution doesn’t come cheap, and the Trump administration continually looks to cut funding.
U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Baltimore) is a key supporter in continuing that funding.
“Last year, in terms of the bay program, we actually protected ourselves and the bay against the draconian mindless cuts that were coming in the president’s budget.” Rep. Sarbanes said.
The bill proposes funding to restore clean water, protect drinking water, preserve fish and wildlife habitat and reduce flooding.
Six states and the District are included in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, 64,000 square miles and 18 million people, including Maryland and Virginia.
“We can make a very powerful case to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle that they gotta step up.” Rep. Sarbanes said. “If they truly want to protect clean water and do the right thing for the environment, make sure that the Chesapeake Bay is healthy they should do that in a bipartisan fashion.”
The bill has passed the U.S. House, and Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin is leading the effort in the Senate.