CBF's Federal Policy Director Alix Murdoch. Photo by Marissa Rauch.
In Washington, Groundhog Day always makes us stop and dream about spring, when the dogwood trees will suddenly bloom and the shad will start running up the Potomac in droves. Will it come soon?! It also means the President is about to unveil his budget for the next year. Will he provide the leadership we need to clean the Bay? Will he provide strong support for our communities and our farmers as we work to reduce nutrient pollution? On February 9, we will find out.
This year, the President's leadership is more important than ever. In December, we explained how Pennsylvania is so far behind in reducing nitrogen pollution from agriculture that it has made the whole region off track. This is a very serious development, particularly since Pennsylvania has recently reported a $2.3 billion deficit. On the other hand, we also know that our restoration staff (who work directly with family farmers in Pennsylvania) have waiting lists of farmers who want their help to reduce the pollution coming off their lands and into the water. This gives us hope.
There are some other things that give us hope:
- The President, in his very first Executive Order, declared the Chesapeake Bay a National Treasure and pledged federal leadership to help states restore the Bay and its waters.
- Federal agencies, especially USDA, have incredible tools and resources to help family farmers reduce nitrogen pollution coming off the land during this critical time. How do we know this? Because at CBF, we partner with USDA and farmers throughout the watershed—every day—on projects that do this.
- Members of Congress, like Senators Casey and Cardin, have heard from CBF members like you that supporting family farmers is important. For months, they have been asking the Administration to help family farmers in the watershed reduce nitrogen pollution.
So while we can't tell you if spring will come early, we can tell you that with federal leadership, we can get the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint back on track. And on February 10, you can look to CBF to find out how strong the President's plans are for the Bay this year.
Federal Policy Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation