LETTER TO THE EDITOR
President Trump’s proposed elimination of all funding for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program shows total disregard for the economy, job creation opportunities, public health, and the protection of our natural resources here on the Delmarva Peninsula.
This disregard frightens and discourages me. Through the efforts of numerous local, regional and other organizations, and their citizen volunteers, there has been impressive progress made in restoring our streams, rivers and the Bay. However, much work remains to be done. These waters remain fragile. They can quickly degrade. The question is — do we want a national disgrace or a national treasure?
There is no status quo. We continue the restoration or accept polluted waters and the wide ranging economic and public health consequences.
Much of the recent well documented success being made in cleaning up our waters is a result of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint and the science on which it is based. Agreed to in 2010, it is a bipartisan effort being undertaken by the six Bay states and the District of Columbia to reduce pollution in our waters. Each state has goals to meet and is committed to meet them.
The Chesapeake Bay Program is a critical part of the Clean Water Blueprint. Funded at $73 million in its 2017 budget, the Bay Program invests roughly 2/3 of its budget in grants awarded to states, municipalities and others to assist in meeting the pollution reduction goals. The remaining dollars support related science and the monitoring of results.
The effects of eliminating Bay Program funding are enormous right here at home on the Delmarva Peninsula. Jobs will be lost, businesses may well disappear, and any hope of sustained economic vitality will be increasingly challenging. The effect of polluted water on human health is obvious to all and something we cannot tolerate. And of course, when our natural resources are lost, they are lost forever.
Ronald Reagan in 1984 said the Chesapeake is “a special national resource.” At a time when necessary budget cuts were being undertaken, he saw the need to increase EPA’s budget, not eliminate critical initiatives.
We citizens of Delmarva are truly under attack. Congress will either support this attack or recognize it as unacceptable and not tolerate the consequences. It is time to have our voices heard. We must finish the job.