U.S. House approves increased funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, but Senate support uncertain

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to increase federal funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts, but it’s unclear if or when the Senate will follow suit.

The Democratic majority in the House passed an Environmental Protection Agency budget that includes $85 million for the federal Chesapeake Bay Program in fiscal year 2020, up from its current funding level of $73 million.

There’s no telling whether the Republican majority in the Senate will even act on the House legislation. Republican President Donald Trump has repeatedly proposed all but eliminating the bay program and initiatives like it in waterways across the country.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat who serves on the upper chamber’s Appropriations Committee, said last month he would press the issue but that it was unclear how the Senate might reach a bipartisan agreement on the next round of federal budgeting.

Bay advocates on Tuesday urged senators to advance the proposal.

“Since President Ronald Reagan singled out the importance of restoring this national treasure in his 1984 State of the Union Address, Bay restoration has had strong bipartisan support,” Lisa Feldt, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's vice president of environmental protection and restoration, said in a statement. “CBF looks forward to working with the Senate to make this critical funding a reality.”

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan also called on the Senate to advance the proposal.

The Annapolis-based bay program coordinates state-by-state efforts to develop and carry out plans to reduce pollution that flows into waterways across the Chesapeake watershed.



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