AP NEWS

Proposed Budget Includes Funds For Chesapeake Project

May 24, 2019

Work to clean the Chesapeake Bay could get more federal funding if a House Appropriations Committee budget becomes law.

The committee passed a proposed budget Wednesday that includes $85 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program, the regional partnership that directs the bay’s restoration.

The $85 million proposal is an increase of about $12 million for the program compared to the latest funding year.

The committee’s budget for the Chesapeake Bay Program contrasts with a proposal by President Donald Trump to cut the program’s funding by 90%.

The proposal will go to the full House for a vote. After that, it could go to the U.S. Senate. But it’s unclear if it will become law.

The funding increase was part of the fiscal year 2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies budget bill. That bill doubled the total money available for grants that can go to communities in Northeast Pennsylvania, from $12 million to $24 million, said Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8, Moosic.

More federal funding for stormwater improvements will help communities meet Environmental Protection Agency standards that have led to stormwater fees in Luzerne County, he said.

“I’ve listened to the homeowners and seniors in northeastern Pennsylvania. They’re trying to feed their families or living on a fixed income,” Cartwright wrote in a press release. “I believe this new federal funding will help reduce local fees over time. Every dollar spent by the federal government is a dollar saved by local communities and working families.”

Organizations and local governments can use these grants to clean up streams and address specific pollution problems, such as sediment erosion, degraded wetlands and forest buffers, or aging and faulty sewer and stormwater systems, Cartwright wrote.

In Luzerne County, 32 municipalities have agreed to let the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority handle their measures to meet the requirements that are stipulated in Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permits. The authority has implemented a fee to fund the work.

Contact the writer: bwellock@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2051, @CVBillW

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