WASHINGTON – Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation, led by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Steny Hoyer, hosted senior officials from the EPA and the State of Maryland on Tuesday for a wide-ranging conversation about the Chesapeake Bay. Attendees included Cardin, Hoyer, Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes and Jamie Raskin.
Speakers at the meeting included U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic (Region III) Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio, EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Director Dana Aunkst, Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles and Maryland Department of the Environment Water and Science Administration Director Lee Currey who has been manager of Maryland’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program since 2010.
The meeting focused on the need to increase authorization and appropriation levels for the Chesapeake Bay Program, hold Maryland and all the watershed jurisdictions accountable for their nutrient reduction commitments, and the partners’ progress toward addressing the Conowingo Dam infill issue.
“Every member of Team Maryland treasures the Chesapeake Bay and we have made protecting its health a high priority. We will continue to do all we can to increase resources available for the Bay and we want to make sure all of our partners do their fair share, too,” said Senator Cardin. “We’re concerned about new challenges facing the Bay. Today’s meeting with the EPA and Maryland officials provided an opportunity to discuss these issues and how we can work together to ensure we are ready for what lays ahead for the watershed region.”
“Protecting and improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries is critically important to the Maryland Congressional Delegation,” said Congressman Hoyer. “I appreciated the opportunity to join my colleagues today to receive an update on the work of the Chesapeake Bay Program. A healthy Bay is critically important to our local economy, and I’ve worked hard to protect resources to clean up the Bay and ensure funding is available for oyster recovery. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to improve the health of our natural resources in Maryland.”
“Protecting the Chesapeake Bay is one of Team Maryland’s top priorities. I appreciate the opportunity to sit down with this group to discuss our efforts to work together towards a cleaner, healthier Bay. I am pleased the Senate and House Appropriations Committees have approved an increase in funds for the Bay Program and that a bipartisan group of Senate members have introduced new legislation to boost the resources available to our Bay partners through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I will continue working in the Senate to fully back the restoration and protection of the Bay,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“Protecting the Chesapeake Bay isn’t just a priority, it’s an obligation. As an Appropriator, I am laser-focused on fighting ill-advised efforts to cut and even eliminate critical resources to ensure the Bay is healthy enough to continue supporting our region’s economy and enriching the quality of life of Marylanders for generations to come,” said Congressman Ruppersberger. “We’ve set aggressive but necessary goals to reduce pollution in the Bay and it will take an all-hands-on-deck approach from the federal, state and local levels to achieve it.”
“Today’s meeting served as an important opportunity to bring together state and federal partners to better align our Chesapeake Bay conservation efforts,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “We must continue to work together to invest in pollution-reduction initiatives and conservation efforts that ensure the Bay remains an environmental treasure and economic driver for generations to come.”
“As someone who has loved the shores of the Chesapeake Bay since I was a boy, I am determined that we do whatever we can to bring the Bay back to its peak glory,” said Congressman Raskin. “I was glad to join my Maryland congressional colleagues for a meeting with EPA and state environment officials about ongoing efforts to clean up and restore the Bay. I’m proud that our state is on track to achieve our 2025 pollution reduction goals and am committed to doing all that I can to help us meet these important milestones.”