(RICHMOND, VA)—In separate proposed fiscal year 2018 budgets released Sunday, the Virginia Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations committee both supported funding for the Commonwealth's agricultural cost-share program. The Senate committee's proposal would provide a total investment of more than $46 million for the program, while the House proposal would appropriate just over about $16 million. The final budget levels for the agricultural cost-share program will be decided by the end of the legislative session.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Rebecca LePrell released the following statement.
"We thank Virginia's House and Senate committees for including funding in their proposed budgets for the long-running agricultural cost-share program, which helps farmers adopt conservation practices that improve water quality. Sustained, consistent investment in Virginia's farmers is critical for healthy rivers and streams and a robust economy. As our legislators make final budget decisions, we urge them to continue strong support for the agricultural cost-share program.
"However, we're disappointed that neither budget proposed to appropriate money for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund. This program provides grants to cities and counties across Virginia to reduce polluted runoff entering local waterways. While Virginia is largely on track to meet its clean water goals, addressing polluted runoff from urban and suburban areas is among the biggest challenges moving forward. Local governments need this support in order to do their part."