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President Biden's 2023 budget includes extra funding for Chesapeake Bay Program

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Posted at 12:05 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 14:13:09-04

President Biden's 2023 budget includes extra funding for EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program.

The Chesapeake Bay Program will receive funding increases as part of President Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget for two programs essential to restoring the Bay and its tributaries. The funding will assist EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program and technical assistance for farmers enrolled in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs.

The president’s budget request was released Monday. It would raise Bay Program spending by $2.6 million. The current fiscal 2022 level spending is $88 million, with an increase to roughly $90.6 million in fiscal 2023.

The Bay Program coordinates the federal-state-local partnership to restore the Bay and its tributaries and conducts scientific monitoring and research.

The program's annual budget devotes roughly two-thirds of its funding to cleanup projects in communities across the Bay region.

The Bay Program is critical to implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

The blueprint gives the six watershed states and D.C. until 2025 to implement policies and practices to meet science-based standards for reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in the Bay and the other water systems that empty into it.

President Biden’s budget also includes the five-year, $238 million increase the Bay Program got in the bipartisan infrastructure law  enacted in November. The increase is $47.6 million annually.

Technical assistance for farmers across the country enrolled in USDA conservation programs would rise by $125 million, from $760 million in fiscal 2022 to $885 million in fiscal 2023.

The programs would enable farmers in the watershed to implement practices like planting streamside forested buffers, that improve water quality in the Bay and its waterways.

Pennsylvania lags behind the other five watershed states in meeting its pollution-reduction commitments under the Blueprint, and agriculture is responsible for making more than 90 percent of Pennsylvania’s outstanding cuts.

CBF Federal Executive Director Denise Stranko released the following statement:

“With less than four years left to meet the Blueprint’s 2025 deadline, CBF is pleased President Biden proposes to increase funding for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program and USDA conservation technical assistance. Robust funding for both programs is essential to restoring the Bay and its tributaries while we still can.

“We also call on USDA to devote a significant portion of next year’s conservation technical assistance budget to helping farmers in the watershed, particularly in Pennsylvania, adopt practices that improve water quality. Reducing polluted runoff from farmland is the single largest hurdle to restoring the Bay, and nowhere is the need greater than in the Commonwealth.

“CBF looks forward to partnering with the Biden administration and Congress in the coming months to ensure maximum funding for programs across the federal government that play a role saving the Bay, its local waterways, and wildlife habitat across the Bay watershed.”