Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called Trump administration plans to drastically curtail a federal Chesapeake Bay cleanup program "a betrayal" and said Wednesday he would fight the proposed budget cut.
As part of his $4.7 trillion federal budget, President Donald Trump this week proposed slashing the Chesapeake Bay Program by 90 percent. The Annapolis-based initiative of the Environmental Protection Agency coordinates efforts to restore the estuary’s ecosystem across its watershed.
It was the third consecutive year Trump proposed cutting the program.
The executive budget plan is not expected to be adopted as is — the government is typically funded through legislation known as a continuing resolution. But it signals the administration’s priorities and wishes.
Hogan called the proposal “potentially devastating.”
“The EPA administrator himself called the Chesapeake Bay Program a ‘high priority,’ making this week's cut in the budget a total betrayal,” Hogan said in a statement. “These cuts are potentially devastating to restoration efforts at such a critical time.”
The program is seen as critical to the bay’s restoration because it has the authority to force all states across the Chesapeake watershed to do their part in reducing pollution that washes into the estuary.
Scientists have credited it with significant improvements in the bay’s health in recent years.
Hogan said he would urge federal officials to protect the bay program’s $73 million budget.
“The Chesapeake Bay is a state and national treasure, and federal support is essential to improving the waterway’s health,” he said. “We will not allow several decades of environmental restoration to be dismantled.”