WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement on the newly released “State of the Bay” report, issued biannually by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Today’s report evaluates the overall and progressing health of the Bay from 2014 to 2016.
“Today the Chesapeake Bay’s health was given a grade of C-, a slight improvement from the previous State of the Bay report in 2014. This progress is due largely to the continued implementation of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. Below-average rainfalls also helped limit nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, resulting in clearer waters.
“This improvement, though modest, was hard-won. It is the result of countless hours of grueling work by both state and federal public servants and nonprofit workers. It is the result of the steadfast commitment of Maryland’s environmental community, without whom these strides toward progress would never be possible. It is the result of Maryland and all watershed-area farmers, working actively to implement cleaner agricultural practices.
“Still, we have a long way to go. A grade of C- is hardly an acceptable endpoint. To reach an A – which would represent a saved and comprehensively healthy Bay – we will need to accelerate and redouble our efforts. I am committed to redoubling mine. I am determined to pass on a vibrant and healthy Chesapeake Bay to the next generation, for the sake of public health and the local economies that depend on a clean and bountiful Bay.
“In 2016, I led a coalition of senators representing Chesapeake Bay watershed states in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, urging him to prioritize funding for agricultural conservation programs in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. I fought hard to ensure that the Water Resources Development Act increased authorization for the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery Program from $60 million to $100 million, knowing that the health of our oyster population is critical to both the Bay and Maryland’s economy.
“I will continue to work relentlessly for the Chesapeake Bay and all the families who rely on it in this new Congress, because I am pleased with the progress outlined in today’s report, but I am far from satisfied.”
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