Saturday, February 4, 2023

Northam Signs New Legislation Designed to Provide and Protect Virginia Waters

Gov. Northam signs three pieces of legislation to reduce pollution and protect water quality at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center. (Courtesy of the Office of the Governor)

REGIONAL — Last week, on June 25, Gov. Ralph Northam signed several pieces of legislation designed to benefit the environment and the Chesapeake at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) Brock Environmental Center.

“It takes a village to be stewards of our environment and natural resources,” said Governor Northam in a statement from a news release.  “I am grateful to our lawmakers who stepped up to protect the Chesapeake Bay by passing this important legislation, especially amid the challenges we have all faced over the last 15 months.”

H.B. 2129, introduced in the House by Del. Alfonso Lopez and in the Senate by Sen. Emmett Hanger, require upgrades that will significantly reduce pollution discharged from many Virginia sewage treatment plants

S.B. 1396, introduced by Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, provides financial assistance to low-income property owners to repair or install septic systems, establishes an advisory group to assess wastewater needs, and plans for climate change effects on wastewater treatment systems.

H.B. 2159, introduced by Del. Nancy Guy, bans the outdoor release of nonbiodegradable balloons. Any person convicted of this violation is liable for a civil penalty of $25 per balloon released or discarded.

CBF Virginia Executive Director Peggy Sanner said in an issued statement, “The modernization of sewage treatment plants will dramatically reduce the amount of nitrogen pollution that reaches Virginia rivers and the Chesapeake Bay every year. Financial assistance will be available to many homeowners who have long struggled with failing septic systems— a win for both families and clean water. Preventing balloon releases outdoors will keep harmful litter from plaguing our waterways and threatening wildlife.”

For more information on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, visit their website here.

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