(RICHMOND, VA)—The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates today formally proposed separate amendments for the upcoming second year of the biennial budget. A conference committee of legislators will now negotiate a single set of amendments that will need approval from Governor Northam before becoming law.
The budget proposals include the following levels of investment in key programs that benefit Virginia’s rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay:
- Upgrades to many of Virginia’s wastewater treatment facilities will significantly reduce sewage pollution to rivers and the Bay. These upgrades, required in major legislation (H.B. 2129 – Lopez and S.B. 1354 – Hanger) now proceeding through the House and Senate, would be supported over the next several years by a House-proposed appropriation of $150 million in bond funding.
- The Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, which helps localities keep polluted runoff from waterways, would receive an additional $26 million in the House budget, bringing the total biennium funding to $76 million. The Senate budget maintains current levels of investment.
- Virginia’s 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 a total of $69 million in additional funding in the House budget and $35 million in the Senate budget.
- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) would receive an additional $12 million under the House budget to help support water, air, and land programs. The Senate budget provides an additional $230,000 to boost DEQ’s work to reduce polluted runoff.
- Environmental literacy programs in Virginia would receive an additional $170,000 under both the House and Senate budgets.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Peggy Sanner issued this statement.
“Virginia is rapidly approaching the 2025 deadline to meet its commitments under the Clean Water Blueprint to restore water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Legislators’ ongoing dedication to fund effective programs that reduce pollution from wastewater treatment plants, farms, developed areas, and other sectors is key to this work. We thank legislators for these proposals and look forward to a final legislative agreement and enactment by Governor Northam.”