March 30, 2017
To the Editor:
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) demonstrated her support for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) by casting a critical affirmative vote late last year to add the Delaware River to the list of nationally important waters benefiting from dedicated federal funding for restoration and protection. The Delaware River Basin is among the nation’s valuable sources of drinking water. It also provides habitat for diverse species and recreational opportunities for millions. But, like most of our nation’s waterways, it faces mounting stresses from climate change and pollution. The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed is grateful to Rep. –Watson Coleman for her support in passing the legislation that created the DRBRP.
The next step is to secure a robust level of funding so that the important work of restoring and protecting the Delaware River Basin actually can begin. Despite strong bipartisan support, this will not be easy because President Trump’s recently released budget calls for drastic cuts to water protection and restoration programs across the country. This approach is short-sighted. The Watershed is a national treasure. Its beauty is outranked only by its functionality: Millions of residents, businesses, and schools rely on it for clean drinking water. Watershed restoration programs don’t cost a lot compared with the myriad public health, economic, and recreational benefits they provide.
Passing the legislation creating the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, which President Obama signed into law before leaving office, was a major victory. Now, we must work together to ensure that adequate funds are appropriated so the program can yield results. The Watershed needs the advocacy of supporters like Rep. Watson Coleman more than ever to ensure that Basin restoration is properly funded.
State Lead, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, and
Public Policy Coordinator, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters