Report: Virginia Must Act Fast to Meet Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Goals
Friday, January 7, 2022
As a deadline looms to meet water cleanup goals for the Chesapeake Bay, a new report shows it is critical for Virginia to accelerate its work, or risk missing its pollution-reduction targets.
The Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint requires Virginia and other watershed states to have methods in place by 2025, but the report said the Commonwealth needs to do more to reduce farm and urban-suburban runoff pollution.
Peggy Sanner, Virginia executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which released the report, said despite bipartisan support, state lawmakers need to focus on farm conservation efforts, since agriculture is the state's number one source of waterway pollution.
"Our farmers are committed to adopting effective conservation practices needed to protect water quality," Sanner explained. "Yet Virginia has never supported our farmers adopting effective practices at the levels needed, and indeed, at the levels that are commensurate with farmers' interests."
But some environmental groups are concerned future cleanup efforts may face setbacks. This week, Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin nominated Andrew Wheeler as his secretary of natural resources. Wheeler was President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency chief, who led a rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations.
Sanner noted a lack of investment in water-related infrastructure also continues to plague cities and counties. Many struggle with outdated storm-sewer systems, some of which let raw sewage flow into some of the state's most important waterways, including the Potomac and James Rivers. But Sanner pointed out the Commonwealth has an unprecedented opportunity to address these issues.
"This year, there is sufficient money in the state's important Water Quality Improvement Fund to fully support the needs of farmers," Sanner contended. "Revenues are also available to assist localities to reduce storm water and sewage pollution to our streams in the Bay, without starving other necessary state programs."
Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Chesapeake Bay cleanup program will receive an additional $47.6 million for the next five years, a more than 50% increase over past levels of federal support.
get more stories like this via email
The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …
Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …
This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …
Health and Wellness
With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …
Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …
As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …
The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…
Health and Wellness
One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …