Chesapeake Bay Report Card

In this May 12, 2010, file photo, a man looks out over the Chesapeake Bay, with the Bay Bridge in the background, at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. For an annual report card evaluating the 200-mile-long bay, researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 gave the Chesapeake a grade of 46% for 2018, down from 54% in 2017. All of the indicators factored into the bay’s health index declined or stayed flat last year.

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and his colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee have passed two bills funding key investments to the Chesapeake Bay, including a historic $85 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program once slated for the chopping block.

The committee this week passed the $46.4 billion Energy and Water Development bill, which funds programs that address climate change, improve water infrastructure and protect against a nuclear threat. The bill is a $1.8 billion increase over current spending levels. Today, the committee passed the $37.3 billion Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill, which supports public lands, clean air and water initiatives and endangered species. This is an increase of $1.73 billion over 2019. The bill includes the Chesapeake Bay Program, which the Trump Administration has repeatedly south to eliminate under previous budget requests.

“The Chesapeake Bay is Maryland’s most precious resource and we must do everything we can to protect it and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it generates,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “I am proud to support legislation that will help ensure the Bay and all of our country’s natural resources are available to generations to come.”

The bills now move from the Appropriations Committee to consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives. The committee adopted dozens of Congressman Ruppersberger’s funding requests, such as:

$85 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program

$17.3 million for the Poplar Island and Baltimore harbors/channels dredging projects

$22.2 million for dredging the Intracoastal Waterway and Delaware River to the Chesapeake Bay

$147 million more for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (total funding now $1.7 billion)

The committee also adopted Congressman Ruppersberger’s requested language supporting the Chesapeake Bay Comprehensive Water Resources and Restoration Plan and the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration Program.

Congressman Ruppersberger also sought and secured language that will strengthen efforts to shield our critical infrastructure from cyber attacks. The bill urges the federal government to continue to leverage private-sector partners – including Maryland-based companies – to protect industrial control systems within the energy sector.