May 25, 2024

Delegation Ensures Support of Chesapeake

Chesapeake Bay

Congressman Steny H. Hoyer joined congressional colleagues from both political parties to review the state of the Chesapeake Bay in June, discussing the bay’s role as the economic heart of the region.

The bipartisan congressional delegation highlighted the essential role of partnerships when it comes to restore the health of the bay, including US Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) and Reps. Elijah Cummings (Md.-07), Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.-02), John P. Sarbanes (Md.-03), Andy Harris (Md.-01), John K. Delaney (Md.-06), Anthony G. Brown (Md.-04), and Jamie Raskin (Md.-08).

The Environmental Protection Agency is the lead federal partner for protecting the bay, but the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership incorporates expertise from federal agencies such as the US Geological Survey, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Agriculture, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Department of Defense. A frequent topic of discussion during the meeting was that states, including Maryland, rely greatly on these federal partners to provide important data, analysis, interpretation, and coordination, and that all of the states throughout the bay’s watershed have to continue working closely as partners.

Congressman Hoyer noted that the Chesapeake Bay is one of the nation’s greatest natural resources.

“The health of the bay is critically important to communities across Maryland, and especially in the Fifth District. It’s important now more than ever that we work together to prevent funding cuts to programs that help clean up our bay. I’m glad to join with my fellow members of the Maryland delegation in reaffirming our commitment to the bay,” he said.

Sen. Cardin said a healthy bay equals a healthy economy, and that strong federal partnerships are essential to both. “The drastic cuts to the EPA, USDA, Army Corps, and many other agencies and programs will quickly cost the American people as we sacrifice public health, our national water infrastructure, and clean air and water,” he said. “Congress soundly rejected the recently proposed cuts in federal funding to Chesapeake Bay-related programs in the fiscal year 2017 appropriations. We must all continue working together to ensure that our delegation’s dedication to the Chesapeake Bay consistently builds and never wavers.”

Sen. Van Hollen said the Maryland delegation stands together for the bay, and will fight for the health and vitality of this waterway.

“The Chesapeake Bay is … central to our state’s economy – from the tourism and boating industry to watermen working on the bay,” said Sen. Van Hollen. “We will continue this important dialogue with the many federal, state, local, and private partners involved in this effort, and continue to build on the important progress we’ve made to clean up the bay and preserve it for future generations.”

Congressman Cummings expressed disappointment in the president’s budget, which abdicated the federal government’s role to promote the continued recovery of the bay. “The bay supports thousands of jobs from Virginia to New York, and only through coordination and cooperation between federal, state, local and private partners will we ensure that the Chesapeake Bay remains a national treasure for years to come,” said Congressman Cummings.

The Chesapeake Bay supports a $1 trillion economy in its six-state watershed. The Chesapeake Bay Program is a bipartisan partnership that works at the local, state, and federal levels. With buy-in from all levels, it has become too important and the delegation expressed shock that the president would propose to eliminate funding for the program, jeopardizing all of the progress that has been made so far.

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For more information about House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader Page.

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