The US House Committee on Appropriations, with hearty efforts by Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD 2), has restored funding to Chesapeake bay cleanup efforts.
Congressional budgets are very unlike those at the Maryland state level, where the Congress (in particular the House of Representatives) has great latitude to craft its own spending plans, regardless of the initial proposals from the President. In that spirit, the House Appropriations Committee this week has approved an Ebergy and Water Development Bill, containing funds for a variety of areas slated for cutback or elimination by the Administration’s own budget plan.
From the website of Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2), a Committee member and former MACo President (during his time as Baltimore County Executive):
“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.
All federal legislation, including that proposing new spending authorizations, end up following a path through both the House and Senate, and frequently become part of omnibus legislation affecting multiple topics. The differing priorities of the Democratically-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate make this a matter of some uncertainty — but in past years, the Administration’s calls to de-fund Bay cleanup efforts have been rebuffed by both parties.