(VIRGINIA BEACH)—Today Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced his Administration's proposed budget increases for critical programs that benefit Chesapeake Bay restoration. The proposed changes for fiscal year 2020, the second year of Virginia's two-year budget, include the following:
- Virginia's agricultural cost-share program, which supports farm conservation practices, and related programs would receive approximately $90 million for fiscal year 2020.
- 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.
- 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.
"Governor Northam's plan for an historic investment in Virginia's natural resources will help keep the recovery of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams on track. It's thrilling that the Governor is ramping up a multi-year financial commitment to restore our waters.
"Virginia's natural resources are vital to our environment, economy, and way of life, yet remain underfunded. With state finances in strong shape, now is the perfect opportunity for Virginia to catch up with neighboring states that have long invested more in their lands and waters.
"Governor Northam is proposing historic support that will keep us on the path to clean water. This level of commitment will be needed from our legislators when they set final funding levels in the upcoming General Assembly session."