Oyster boats deploy their dredges and work a small section of the Rappahannock River, part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, as the sun rises near White Stone, Va. (Steve Helber/AP)
When President Trump’s budget plan hit the Internet at midnight Wednesday, Virginia and Maryland environmental activists could not believe what they saw. A total elimination of the Chesapeake Bay program seemed impossible to them, considering the success of the federally funded six-state partnership over the past 15 years.
But in a two-sentence section of its budget plan, the White House dismissed the massive cleanup of a water body so large it can easily be seen from space as a “regional effort” that should not be funded by Washington.
So the activists got to work, along with elected officials from throughout the region, planning rallies, firing off dire warnings and promising to petition theRepublican majority in Congress, which has the ultimate say over whether to defund bay restoration.