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Maryland Gov. Hogan presses congressional leaders to increase federal funding for Chesapeake Bay

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is pressing congressional leaders to not only block an attempt by the Trump administration to drastically cut federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay, but increase it to $90 million.

President Donald Trump’s proposed $4.7 trillion budget, released earlier this month, includes a 90 percent cut in funding to the $73 million Chesapeake Bay Program, which oversees the multistate bay restoration effort.

In a letter sent Monday, Hogan said the bay is at “a critical juncture” with key deadlines for restoration looming in 2025.

“After three decades of collaboration with our partners, we are witnessing measured improvements toward clean water, improved Chesapeake Bay watershed resiliency to a changing climate, and the economic value of a healthier ecosystem,” Hogan wrote in the letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

While Trump’s budget is unlikely to be passed as proposed, the budget is an indicator of the administration’s priorities.

Hogan wrote that the bay needs continued, and even increased, funding in order to meet cleanup deadlines.

He noted that “each federal dollar leverages even more state, local and private funding.”

Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation are pushing for more bay funding, as well.

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, serves on the Appropriations Committee.

“This is the third year the president has tried to cut the bay program and, as in previous years, I am confident we will succeed in restoring these funds,” Van Hollen said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat, is co-sponsoring a bill with Republican U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia that would reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Program and give it increased funding for the next five years.

Cardin said in a statement that he expects Congress to “rebuff” Trump’s attempt to cut the bay program.

“We have accomplished big things in the bay, but still have much work to do,” he said. “It is essential that the federal government continues to be a reliable partner in this effort.”

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

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