This morning, Virginia’s Governor released his proposed budget in front of the General Assembly money committees. With a revenue shortfall to deal with, he had the tough task of cutting the budget. As we move towards the 2017 General Assembly session and craft our James River priorities, we must remember that funding for water quality is a paramount concern. Below is the 2017 James River Agenda.
2017 James River Agenda
Clean Water is Vital to Healthy Communities
• James River is Virginia’s largest source of drinking water.
• Healthy rivers are key to quality of life that attract skilled workforce, tourists and new businesses.
Virginia’s Investments in Clean Water are Showing Results
• The 2015 State of the James River gave a B- for the James – the highest grade ever.
• Virginia is on track with Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals.
Virginia Needs Consistent Investments to Stay on Track
• Agricultural practices provide the biggest bang for the buck in pollution reductions.
• Stormwater is the greatest challenge to future river and Bay health.
• Falling behind in funding now will cause increased costs in the future.
Agricultural Best Management Practices
Agriculture plays a critical role in Virginia’s economy – contributing $52 billion annually – and provides the food and products for all of us to thrive on. Virginia’s successful Soil and Water Conservation Districts help farmers get important practices on the ground, but adequate and steady funding is needed to continue these efforts.
• Support steady funding of $62 million for agricultural best management practices
Stormwater Local Assistance Fund
Stormwater pollution is a serious issue that communities across Virginia are required to address. Efforts at the local level range from educating citizens to implementing large scale projects. Past successes in water quality improvements suggest that the most effective path forward is a strong partnership between the State and local governments of all sizes, which the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund provides.
• Support $20 million for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund
Land Conservation Grant Programs
Land conservation is a Virginia tradition. Grant programs allow us to protect the land we need to provide good food and clean water, the land that keeps our economy strong, the land where we go to play and explore, and the land that renews us with its beauty. Continuing this tradition is vital.
• Support $10 million for land conservation grant programs
Stay tuned for more advocacy updates. The 2017 General Assembly session gets underway on January 11th.
For more information or questions, please contact:
Adrienne Kotula, Government Affairs and Policy Manager, James River Association
(804) 938-7266 or firstname.lastname@example.org