In the Pruitt EPA, even when they might do important, good things, like Bay restoration, they don’t want us to know about it. The Bay Journal is THE BEST reporting there is on Bay restoration.
from the Newport News Daily Press
The nonprofit Bay Journal is set to lose about a third of its funding after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it’s terminating a six-year grant it awarded the magazine just two years ago.
The EPA notice came without warning in a “very terse” email Wednesday that attributed the decision to a “shift in priorities,” said managing editor Timothy Wheeler in a phone interview Friday.
The termination is effective February 2018, when the journal was supposed to receive an annual installment of $325,000 to help support a staff of 11 and 100,000 free print and online subscriptions.
“It doesn’t completely defund us, but it does knock us back, there’s no question about that,” said Wheeler. “If we can’t replace that money, we’re going to have to make cuts. It’s a rather big drop.
“It’s not as if we didn’t realize we were vulnerable. We had been working to reduce our share coming from federal funds even before this. But we had no reason to suspect that a grant that had already been approved would be yanked like this.”
In a statement, journal editor Karl Blankenship called it an “unprecedented decision” in the history of the nonprofit monthly magazine, whose mission since 1991 has been to cover the Chesapeake Bay watershed, particularly pollution, water quality, habitat and fishery issues.
“For 27 years,” Blankenship said, “the Bay Journal has been an important source of news and information for those who care deeply about the Chesapeake.”
The EPA has funded the journal since it began. EPA funding comes through the Chesapeake Bay Program, a regional partnership of federal, state and local governments, and academic, conservation and citizens groups, all dedicated to restoring the bay.
President Donald Trump wants to zero out federal funds for the CBP in a stated effort to shrink government bloat. His chosen EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, had voiced support for cleanup efforts during his confirmation hearings earlier this year, but since then has come under fire from conservation groups for failing to live up to those words.
At the nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation, president William Baker said the funding cut shows Pruitt’s “true anti-environmental colors” in a “transparent attempt to shut down the free exchange of scientifically validated bay information.”
The bay watershed is the largest on the continent, stretching over portions of six states and the District of Columbia.
The bay deteriorated over decades of pollution and overfishing, and the EPA has been at the forefront of efforts to restore it, pushing bay states into a so-called pollution diet in 2010 that recent scientific surveys indicate are starting to work.
The Bay Journal also receives funds from the Campbell Foundation for the Environment, the Town Creek Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chesapeake Bay Office, the Chesapeake Bay Trust and individual donations.