After having made progress on a number of fronts during a Trump administration that was generally hostile to environmental spending and regulations, Chesapeake Bay advocates say they’re hoping for much more once President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20.

Topping most advocates’ wish lists: further increases in federal funding for bay restoration and a reinvigorated U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will push states to meet their Chesapeake cleanup obligations by the 2025 deadline.

“We’re coming off an administration that for the last four years pretty actively undermined the effort to restore the bay,” said Jason Rano, federal director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “What we’re looking for is a recommitment to bay restoration, to fully implementing the bay restoration blueprint.”

Shortly after Trump took office in 2017, he proposed eliminating all federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program and the EPA’s other regional waterway restoration efforts. That shook up bay advocates, who drummed up bipartisan support in Congress to spare the bay program any cuts in its $73 million annual funding.

“The best thing Trump did for the Chesapeake was to put zero in his first budget for the Chesapeake Bay Program,” said Peter Marx, a former EPA official and congressional staffer who monitors federal affairs for the Choose Clean Water Coalition. Had the White House proposed steep but less drastic cuts, he said, lawmakers might have been inclined to go along.

The Trump administration backed off a bit in subsequent years but called repeatedly for slashing the bay program budget 90%. With many Republicans joining Democrats, Congress didn’t cut a penny and instead went the other direction.

In late December, lawmakers approved a federal spending package for fiscal year 2021 that includes a record $87.5 million for the bay program, up from $85 million in fiscal year 2020. It also includes $5.8 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Chesapeake Bay office, with additional funding for oyster restoration in the bay.

Congress also passed other legislation aimed at helping the bay, including the recent Chesapeake W.I.L.D. Act, which authorizes the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to award grants in the Bay watershed to enhance habitat.

“Despite big headwinds from the Trump administration over the last four years, we’ve actually made substantial progress working on a bipartisan basis,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who introduced the W.I.L.D. bill. One of its cosponsors was Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., from another bay watershed state.

Van Hollen said he’s expecting the incoming administration to take a more active role in Chesapeake restoration, especially because the president-elect is from Delaware, also a bay watershed state.

“He understands the bay very well, and I expect we will have a partner in the EPA,” the Maryland senator said.

For starters, Van Hollen and other bay advocates say they hope the Biden EPA will put pressure on Pennsylvania to step up its lagging Chesapeake cleanup efforts. The EPA came under fire in 2020 — and ultimately got sued by several states and the Bay Foundation — for not taking more aggressive action against Pennsylvania and New York after they submitted inadequate plans for meeting EPA-set pollution reduction targets by 2025.

EPA officials have argued that the targets laid out in the agency’s 2010 “total maximum daily load” for the bay were unenforceable goals.

But critics say that while the EPA has limited options for dealing with a noncompliant state, it didn’t even try.

Much of what Biden can do for the bay or the environment, in general, will depend on Congress. Bay advocates say they hope there’ll still be bipartisan support in Congress for the bay. Among their goals: increasing bay program funding even more; providing funding for the W.I.L.D. grants and even getting the Chesapeake Bay declared a national recreational area.

The Biden administration will also seek to reinstate or strengthen many of the dozens of regulations the Trump administration has revoked or weakened. Among those topping bay advocates’ wish lists for revisiting are rules that weaken federal protections for wetlands and streams and strip states of the right to block pipelines and other projects that could harm water quality. Returning rules to what they had been under the Obama administration could take years, but some advocates say this may be an opportunity for further reform.

Tim Wheeler is the Bay Journal’s associate editor and senior writer, based in Maryland. A longer version of this article first appeared in the Bay Journal and was distributed by the Bay Journal News Service.

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