Monday 26 February 2018

Press Statements (61)

Proposed 90% Cut Ignores Overwhelming Bipartisan Support of Program (Monday, Febraury 12, 2018) President Trump’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019 essentially eliminates federal funding for the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest program to restore a body of water in U.S. history, just as the effort reaches its halfway point. The budget recommends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program budget be slashed from its current allocation of $73 million to just $7.3 million – an exact 90 percent cut to current funding. These funds would only be designated for monitoring and would effectively shutdown all other aspects of the restoration effort.  “By slashing the Chesapeake Bay Program funding, the president is giving polluters a green light to destroy the United States’ largest estuary and its already-imperiled tributaries,” said Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director of Waterkeepers Chesaeake. “The multi-state restoration work of the Bay and our rivers and streams is just beginning to pay dividends in the form of cleaner water and restored habitat. We can’t reverse course.” A multi-state, federally supported program is the only way to restore the Chesapeake Bay, because the tributaries to the Bay cross state boundaries and provide clean drinking water to millions. In addition, the Bay is the economic engine for the region, providing an estimated one trillion-dollar value in fisheries, shipping, tourism, and other industries. The president’s proposed budget is a direct attack on our rights to clean water and air. In addition to gutting the Bay Program, it calls for a 34 percent…
Waterkeepers Chesapeake, representing 19 Riverkeepers, Waterkeepers and Coastkeepers across the Chesapeake Bay region, are concerned about the health of the Potomac River watershed, which provides drinking water for millions – and could be jeopardized by the construction and operation of the Potomac Pipeline. We are joining 17 other groups calling for the Maryland Department of the Environment to respond to our concerns, be transparent in their permitting process, and take adequate protective measures with regard to the Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project. For the past nine months, we've been misled by MDE with inconsistent and conflicting messages on how the Potomac Pipeline would be regulated. We have explained, through every means possible, our concerns and recommended actions, and we have been ignored. While we have conveyed the serious impacts associated with this fracked gas pipeline – MDE has made the decision to have this project fall under the broader General Permit. This is a problem because the General Permit does not look at important indirect impacts to water quality, such as erosion and sediment from tree clearing, impacts to drinking water resources, and impacts to karst geology. Furthermore, this permit, approved in 2016, only applies to projects that have minimal adverse environmental effects. With a pipeline that could lead to contaminated drinking water aquifers, methane leakage, and impaired aquatic habitats – and is mutually dependent on the Mountaineer Gas Pipeline project in West Virginia, a new forty two mile gas pipeline proposal that relies on this project to provide the natural gas…
 On this 45th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we reflect on how our local Waterkeeper programs are needed more than ever to safeguard our clean water resources. Over the past few years, Waterkeepers Chesapeake has successfully brought together 19 local Waterkeepers programs to collaboratively advocate for and bring legal action to protect communities and waterways throughout the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bay regions. Waterkeepers Chesapeake has focused on unifying Waterkeeper efforts behind important clean water priorities, like the passage of the fracking ban in Maryland and the passage of protective coal ash laws in Virginia. Waterkeepers Chesapeake also works on issues at the federal level - coordinating efforts against EPA's rollback of clean water protections, the slashing of EPA funding, and Scott Pruitt's appointment. Through the Fair Farms campaign, Waterkeepers Chesapeake is addressing agricultural pollution while supporting sustainable farming efforts. This year, we worked to pass a second-in-the-country law to restrict the routine use of human antibiotics in livestock. At the core of our work we empower people to stop pollution and encourage better local water quality through tools and legal rights under the Clean Water Act. Waterkeeper programs were founded to engage and organize citizens to protect their right to clean water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supposed to promulgate and enforce laws and regulations to protect human health and the environment. Sadly, under this administration, the EPA has been fully captured by the fossil fuels industry and industrial polluters. To date, the EPA has rolled…