President Trump and some in Congress propose to slash the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget and weaken some of the agency’s tools that keep our air, water and natural resources clean and healthy.
When Congress disables EPA and cuts funding, Congress is undermining efforts that help clean up our local waterways. For example, thanks to strong clean water standards, the Potomac River’s health is improving, submerged aquatic vegetation is returning and some fish population trends are encouraging. Many species of waterfowl winter on the river and bald eagle numbers are climbing. Audubon has recognized a section of the Potomac River southeast of Washington, D.C., as an Important Bird Area because of the many species of waterfowl that winter on the river and the high and increasing numbers of Bald Eagles, and we appreciate EPA’s work in cleaning up the river.
EPA has helped improve Northern Virginia water quality with Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants. Some examples:
The Northern Virginia Regional Commission received a $164,637 grant to stabilize and protect approximately 800 feet of eroding shoreline along the Potomac River in Leesylvania State Park with a living shoreline. The project also restored .64 acres of riparian buffer and tidal marsh.
Arlington County received an $80,000 grant to expand incentives for private property owners to install innovative stormwater practices on their property to impede runoff.
Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church used a $20,000 grant to install a rainwater harvest system and rain gardens at the school.
As Congress wrestles with funding bills and struggles to keep the government running, Congress needs to remember that EPA is not a centralized, out-of-touch agency in the nation’s capital, but an agency that reaches into local communities and helps clean up local waterways.
The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia calls on the Virginia Congressional delegation to protect EPA funding for cleaning up our local waterways. We’ve made too much progress to slide backward now.
Carl Kikuchi, President
Audubon Society of Northern Virginia