By Emily Baldauff
TU Mid-Atlantic Organizer
March 2021 was kicked off by two federal clean water lobby weeks hosted by the Choose Clean Water Coalition and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. The Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC) is focused on protecting the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (PA, DE, NY, VA, WV, MD) and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW) is focused on improving water quality and funding in the Delaware River Basin (PA, NY, NJ, DE). Annually CCWC and CDRW travel to Washington, D.C. along with their members to discuss federal policy priorities and lobby for clean water funding across the basins. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic this year looked a little different, but still had impact.
The CCWC Hill Week was held the week of March 1. CCWC’s federal policy asks for 2021 are (1) Support for increased funding to $90.5 million for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program and for its local and state grant programs; (2) Support in securing appropriations for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s new Chesapeake WILD Program for FY22 in the amount of $15 million; (3) Support for increased funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to $10 billion in FY22; (4) Support full funding for the Farm Bill Conservation Programs in the FY22 Agriculture Appropriations Bill; (5) Asking to cosponsor the Environmental Justice for All Act [pending reintroduction]; (6) Asking to cosponsor the reauthorization of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office [pending reintroduction]. Trout Unlimited participated in the following meetings with PA Congress and Senators: Senator Toomey, Congressman Meuser, Senator Casey, Congressman Cartwright, Congressman Joyce, Congressman Thompson and Congressman Keller.
The CDRW Hill Week was held the week of March 8. CDRW’s federal policy asks for 2021 are (1) Support for a funding increase for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) in the amount of $15million; (2) Support of continued funding for the Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program in the amount of $3.925million; (3) Continued support for full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF); (4) Support of $10 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $10 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Trout Unlimited assisted in the following meetings with PA Congress and Senators: Senator Toomey, Congressman Smucker and Congressman Cartwright.
Follow-up processes and monitoring are in place to assess the effectiveness of these meetings.
Both coalitions plan to host a Pennsylvania (state) Hill Day in May. Please contact Emily Baldauff, TU’s Mid-Atlantic Organizer for more information and advocacy opportunities