April 03, 2019

Van Hollen Secures EPA’s Commitment to the Chesapeake Bay, Raises Concerns on Trump Budget Cuts to Bay Program

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler about the Chesapeake Bay Program during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior hearing. After the Senator secured the Administrator’s ongoing commitment to the Bay, he raised the fact that the Trump Budget contains significant cuts to the Bay – which Senator Van Hollen is committed to blocking. Through his role on the Appropriations Committee, the Senator has successfully fought efforts to cut funding for the Bay for the past two fiscal years.

In response to Administrator Wheeler’s commitment, Van Hollen said, “I appreciate that, because as you know in the President’s budget he slashes the program from $73 million dollars a year to $7.3 million. Senator Udall mentioned that when the President was out at the Great Lakes he, on the spot, restored the $300 million dollar cut. The other day after Secretary DeVos defended the cut to the Special Olympics, the President reversed that. It does indicate that the whole process on the executive side of the ledger is a bit of a sham here, but I’m pleased that on a bipartisan basis that this Committee has continued to fund these important projects.” The full video of the exchange can be found here.

Senator Van Hollen has not just maintained Bay funding levels, he is working to increase them. In last year’s Farm Bill he secured millions more in Mandatory Funding available to the Bay through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). He has also supported legislation to increase Chesapeake Bay Program funding to $90 million annually, a proposal backed by the bipartisan Governors that make up the Executive Council of the Chesapeake Bay Program.