VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - President Donald Trump's budget would eliminate funding for the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program, according to the Chesapeake Bay foundation.
The federal program helps coordinate research on the bay. It was receiving $73 million a year, but the number would be zero under the president's plan. Two-thirds of that money is used to reduce pollution at the bay, according to CBF.
"This just makes no sense," said Will Baker, the president of CBF. "We are in disbelief." The budget document says the EPA would focus on its highest national priorities, leaving the responsibility to local and state governments.
Reports previously suggested the budget would be slashed to $5 million, but when the White House released more information, funding to the program was eliminated. "Cutting budget to EPA's Chesapeake Bay program to $0 is an absolute insult to all who have worked so hard to save the bay," Baker said.
Christy Everett, the Hampton Roads Director of CFB, says this cut could have a big impact in Hampton Roads because the area is down the bay. "All that pollution was coming down stream to us," she said. "If that pollution prevention stops, we're going to get a lot more pollution in Hampton Roads and that means less fish, less crabs. It means dirtier waters."
Sen. Mark Warner called for a more balanced approach in a statement. "The Trump budget proposes to dramatically slash public investments in programs like early childhood education, job training, scientific research, and the protection of economic and natural resources like the Chesapeake Bay," he wrote.
State Del. Mike Mullin, D-93, is planning a rally for Chesapeake Bay clean-up funding this weekend, according to a press release. Mullin, along with State Sen. Monty Mason, D-1, will meet at College Landing Park on Saturday.
Several members of Congress, including Scott Taylor, a Republican, sent a letter to the White House asking for the funding to be reinstated. It'll be up to Congress to pass a budget before the president signs it.