Yesterday, Congressman John Sarbanes joined U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Congressmen Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger and Jamie Raskin (all D-Md.), to host senior officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Maryland for a wide-ranging conversation about improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
The meeting focused on the need to increase funding levels for the Chesapeake Bay Program. Participants also discussed the importance of holding all Bay watershed jurisdictions accountable for their nutrient reduction commitments and focused on the progress made to address the Conowingo Dam infill issue.
Speakers at the meeting included EPA Mid-Atlantic (Region III) Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio, EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Director Dana Aunkst, Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles and Maryland Department of the Environment Water and Science Administration Director Lee Currey, who has managed Maryland’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program since 2010.
“Today’s meeting served as an important opportunity to bring together state and federal partners to better align our Chesapeake Bay conservation efforts,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “We must continue to work together to invest in pollution-reduction initiatives and conservation efforts that ensure the Bay remains an environmental treasure and economic driver for generations to come.”
“Every member of Team Maryland treasures the Chesapeake Bay and we have made protecting its health a high priority. We will continue to do all we can to increase resources available for the Bay and we want to make sure all of our partners do their fair share, too,” said Senator Cardin. “We’re concerned about new challenges facing the Bay. Today’s meeting with the EPA and Maryland officials provided an opportunity to discuss these issues and how we can work together to ensure we are ready for what lays ahead for the watershed region.”
“Protecting the Chesapeake Bay is one of Team Maryland’s top priorities. I appreciate the opportunity to sit down with this group to discuss our efforts to work together towards a cleaner, healthier Bay. I am pleased the Senate and House Appropriations Committees have approved an increase in funds for the Bay Program and that a bipartisan group of Senate members have introduced new legislation to boost the resources available to our Bay partners through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I will continue working in the Senate to fully back the restoration and protection of the Bay,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“Protecting and improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries is critically important to the Maryland Congressional Delegation,” said Congressman Hoyer. “I appreciated the opportunity to join my colleagues today to receive an update on the work of the Chesapeake Bay Program. A healthy Bay is critically important to our local economy, and I’ve worked hard to protect resources to clean up the Bay and ensure funding is available for oyster recovery. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to improve the health of our natural resources in Maryland.”
“Protecting the Chesapeake Bay isn’t just a priority, it’s an obligation. As an Appropriator, I am laser-focused on fighting ill-advised efforts to cut and even eliminate critical resources to ensure the Bay is healthy enough to continue supporting our region’s economy and enriching the quality of life of Marylanders for generations to come,” said Congressman Ruppersberger. “We’ve set aggressive but necessary goals to reduce pollution in the Bay and it will take an all-hands-on-deck approach from the federal, state and local levels to achieve it.”
“As someone who has loved the shores of the Chesapeake Bay since I was a boy, I am determined that we do whatever we can to bring the Bay back to its peak glory,” said Congressman Raskin. “I was glad to join my Maryland congressional colleagues for a meeting with EPA and state environment officials about ongoing efforts to clean up and restore the Bay. I’m proud that our state is on track to achieve our 2025 pollution reduction goals and am committed to doing all that I can to help us meet these important milestones.”