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Democrats push Hogan to oppose Chesapeake Bay funding cuts

Democratic leaders in the General Assembly introduced a resolution Thursday that calls on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to oppose proposed cuts in federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay.

President Donald J. Trump's proposed budget would eliminate all of the money for the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program — $73 million — which coordinates and provides funding for the joint federal-state bay cleanup effort.

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The Republican president is also proposing deep cuts to other agencies involved in bay restoration, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The resolution "urges the Governor of Maryland to publicly oppose the drastic cuts proposed by the President of the United States to the Chesapeake Bay Program and other federal programs supporting the efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries."

A spokeswoman for Hogan said the governor is concerned about federal bay funding.

"The governor has already made it clear he will always fight for the Chesapeake Bay and that he opposes hypothetical cuts at the federal level," said Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for the governor. She did not offer specifics about what the governor has done to lobby against the proposed cuts.

Chasse said the governor wishes that Democratic leaders would "focus on doing their jobs here in Annapolis instead of focusing on Washington, D.C. partisan politics."

More than three dozen Democratic senators and delegates were joined by environmental advocates at a news conference announcing the resolution on Thursday morning.

Environmentalists said the bay's health is beginning to turn a corner, and that progress could be threatened if restoration programs are cut.

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