(RICHMOND, VA)—Approving historically strong levels of investment in clean water programs, the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates this weekend passed final budget amendments for the upcoming second year of the biennial budget.
The budget includes the following appropriations in key programs that benefit Virginia’s rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay:
- Upgrading Virginia’s wastewater treatment facilities to significantly reduce sewage pollution to rivers and the Bay would receive an additional $100 million. These upgrades are required in legislation (HB 2129 – Del. Lopez and SB 1354 – Sen. Hanger) approved by the General Assembly this session.
- The Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, which helps localities keep polluted runoff from waterways, would receive an additional $25 million, bringing the total biennium funding to $75 million.
- The Virginia Agricultural Cost-Share, technical assistance, and related programs support farmers who adopt conservation practices like stream fencing and nutrient management plans. These programs would receive an additional $30 million, for a total of $65 million.
- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) would receive an additional $12 million to support water, air, and land programs.
- Environmental literacy programs in Virginia would receive an additional $170,000 in the approved budget, bringing annual funding to $250,000.
- The Virginia Conservation Assistance Program, which helps homeowners and businesses pay for clean water practices, would receive an additional $500,000, for a total of $1 million.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Peggy Sanner issued this statement.
“This historic budget accelerates support for the three key programs needed for Virginia to meet its goals under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
“Legislators invested in a better future with their commitment to programs that restore and protect Virginia’s rivers and streams.
“We thank our elected leaders for their ongoing commitment to clean water and the Chesapeake Bay, and we look forward to Governor Northam’s positive action on these important measures.”