(RICHMOND)—Today Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced his Administration's budget proposal, which includes historic investments in programs to restore Virginia waterways and the Chesapeake Bay:
- Virginia's agricultural cost-share program, which supports farm conservation practices, and related programs would receive approximately $90.5 million for fiscal year 2020, a significant increase.
- The Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, which provides matching grants to localities for projects that reduce polluted runoff, would receive $50 million for fiscal year 2020. In the existing budget, the General Assembly appropriated $20 million for the current year, but nothing for fiscal year 2020.
- Oyster replenishment to assist commercial watermen, as well as restoration for sanctuary reefs, together would receive $4 million in fiscal year 2020, an increase compared to the $3 million appropriated in the existing budget for fiscal year 2020.
- For the Department of Environmental Quality, an increase of $2.5 million would support staff that monitor and enforce regulations that protect natural resources.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Rebecca Tomazin issued the following statement.
"We applaud Governor Northam for wisely investing in the programs that are needed to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its many rivers and streams. His commitment to continue these investments throughout his term, backed by a sound financial plan, reassures us that progress will be accelerated.
"Virginia’s General Assembly has long recognized the importance of these programs. There is bipartisan support from our legislators for clean water in Virginia. We are hopeful that the General Assembly will continue to prioritize this funding in the upcoming legislative session. Governor Northam and Virginia legislators thankfully recognize that the Bay is vital to our economy and the way of life here in Virginia."