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Maryland’s Cardin, Van Hollen urge president to protect the Chesapeake Bay

An increased investment in the Chesapeake Bay is the focus of a letter federal lawmakers have sent to President Joe Biden.

U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, D-MD, and Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, have teamed with Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, and 18 bipartisan colleagues from both chambers of Congress who are urging the Biden administration to increase the federal investment in the bay’s watershed for the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget.

In the letter, lawmakers are pushing for the creation of the Chesapeake Resilient Farms Initiative. The goal of the program would be to aid farmers with resources needed to protect and restore the bay through improving water quality, lower, or eliminate, greenhouse gas emissions, and helping farmers become more resilient when it comes to reaching 2025 pollution reduction parameters for Bay states.

“We know USDA conservation programs are effective when deployed at scale,” the congressional members wrote in the letter. “These voluntary, targeted federal investments would be matched by funds from states, NGOs or farmers receiving assistance. But without additional federal resources – for both practice implementation and technical assistance – we will not be able to reduce pollution levels consistent with the most recent Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.”

NGO is an acronym for non-governmental organization; this typically means a voluntary group or institution with a social mission, which operates independently from the government.

According to the release, agriculture secretaries and farm bureaus in the Bay region support the CRFI creation, which would mirror the Mississippi River Basin Initiative that was created 13 years ago.

In the letter, the Congressional members said 85% of pollution reductions hanging in the balance will have to be a major focus of agriculture and forestry to meet 2025 goals..

“Therefore, a core component of the effort to clean up the Bay must include increasing and targeting conservation assistance to farmers in the watershed,” the members wrote.

The newly created CRFI, the letter reads, should feature financial and technical assistance targeting pollution reduction and placing an emphasis on cost-effective practices to reduce pollution.

The congressional members said in the letter that without federal dollar resources, efforts to reduce pollution levels will not be able to reach levels that are consistent with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

This article was originally posted on Maryland’s Cardin, Van Hollen urge president to protect the Chesapeake Bay

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