(VIRGINIA BEACH)—Virginia Governor Ralph Northam today unveiled his proposed budget for key state programs that restore Virginia’s rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) President William C. Baker issued the following statement.
“This is great news for everyone who cares about clean water. Governor Northam’s proposed budget would substantially boost investment in key state programs that are already working to restore our rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. These programs also combat climate change, create green jobs, and improve quality of life for all Virginians.
“We’ve now got the framework for major environmental success in Virginia. In the upcoming General Assembly session, we’ll work with legislators to build on the strong foundation provided in Governor Northam’s budget. We are grateful to Governor Northam and his staff for their dedication and commitment to the Chesapeake Bay and ensuring clean water for all Virginians, now and in the future.”
The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal years 2021 and 2022 includes the following funding levels:
- The Stormwater Local Assistance Fund would receive $182 million over the two-year period to reduce polluted runoff in cities, suburbs, and other developed areas;
- Funding for wastewater treatment plant upgrades would receive $120 million over the two-year period to provide certain and equitable reductions in sewage pollution across the Commonwealth;
- Virginia’s agricultural cost-share program would receive about $90 million over the next two years to support farm conservation practices;
- Oyster restoration and replenishment efforts would receive approximately $14 million over the two-year period, which would include a first-ever capital investment of $10 million in oyster restoration;
- Projects to address Alexandria’s combined sewer system would receive $65 million over the two-year period to prevent raw sewage from polluting the Potomac River;
- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s effectiveness in protecting water and air quality would be significantly strengthened with an agency budget increase to $32 million for the two-year period;
- Additional funding would create new full-time staff positions to support implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and the Agricultural Stewardship Act, as well as the expansion of riparian buffers and urban tree canopy, and;
- Virginia would be authorized to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to significantly reduce greenhouse gases and nitrogen pollution.