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The 2022 General Assembly Legislative Initiatives
In January and February, our Delegates and Senators will be meeting in Richmond to consider thousands of pieces of legislation and our state budget.
Each year, our LRNow Board of Directors adopts a set of issues for the General Assembly session that have the largest potential impact on our work to protect and restore our waterways and natural areas.
Our legislative initiatives include reducing plastic pollution; increasing our tree canopy, preparing our communities for increased flooding; increasing access to the outdoors; developing offshore wind responsibly; and providing adequate funding for environmental education, stormwater improvements, and the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program.
More information about all of our legislative initiatives is available here.
Please watch for updates from us on these issues regularly throughout the legislative session.
If you are not sure of your Delegate or State Senate District, go to www.VPAP.org
Plastic Pollution Reduction
Plastic pollution is a growing problem in all of our wetlands, rivers, bays and the ocean. The biggest contributor to this problem is single use plastics. Those are items like beverage containers, plastic bags, straws, plasticware, and other items that are designed to be used for a very short period of time and discarded. LRNow cleanup volunteers clear thousands of pounds of marine debris from our waterways each year, but we need to effective ways to reduce the flow of debris. LRNow works with partners at the state and federal level to reduce single use plastics. Here are some specific items we are working on currently.
A Fee on Single-Use Bags
The 2020 Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that allows localities to impose a 5-cent fee on most single use plastic bags. The fee stays in the local area. A portion goes to the store to offset their costs and a portion goes to the local government for implementation of the program. LRNow will be working with our Virginia Beach City Council in 2022 to pass an ordinance establishing the bag fee in Virginia Beach. Click here to see the talking points.
I am pleased to save that we were able to get a ban on balloon releases passed by the state legislature in 2021. It imposes a fine of $25 per balloon for any balloons released outdoors. Currently, our efforts center around educating the public about this legislation, helping people understand how dangerous balloons are in our environment, and assisting people in finding alternative to balloon releases. More information on balloons.
Nimmo VII B Roadway Project in the Back Bay Watershed
The Nimmo VII B highway is being proposed in the Back Bay watershed in Virginia Beach. Potentially, it bisects the Lago Mar neighborhood, cross sensitive wetlands, and maritime forest in the northern area of the Bay Back Wildlife Refuge and tie into the existing Sandbridge Road on the east end. There are several significant problems with this roadway.
- It will adversely impact the Lago Mar neighborhood.
- In storm events, it will increase flooding to both the north and the south of the road.
- It will not improve access for residents on the existing Sandbridge Road.
- It will adversely impact sensitive wetlands and maritime forests that are part of the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
- It could increase pressure for further development in the very fragile Sandbridge neighborhood.
We are encouraging Virginia Beach residents to speak to their City Council representatives about this proposed project. More information onNimmo VII B.
Offshore Wind Energy Development
I hope you are all as excited about the groundbreaking wind energy project moving forward off of our Virginia coast. When completed, 180 wind turbines will provide enough energy for over 600,000 homes. This is the first wind project in US federal waters and currently the largest project proposed on the east coast. It is a big investment in clean, renewable energy.
But to get to those homes, the power has to come ashore and get to a distribution center. The power will come ashore at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach and travel across the city to the distribution center in Chesapeake. I encourage you to go to www.coastalvawind.com to learn more about this important renewal energy project. Take a close look at the proposed route of the transmission lines.
Dominion has filed their project paperwork with the State Corporation Commission (SCC). It could take 9 – 12 months for the SCC to process their applications. During the time period, there will be multiple opportunities for citizen comments. Please watch our E-News to learn more about the comment periods. More wind information.
Abandoned and Derelict Vessels
We have all seen the boats abandoned on a shoreline wetland, listing at anchor in the center of a river or bay, or half sunk while still tied to a dock. This is becoming a more frequent site on all of our waterways. Abandoned and Derelict vessels pose many hazards. They can impede navigation. They often threaten sensitive shoreline habitat, and they always pose serious pollution threats.
Currently in Virginia there is not a program in place to assist owners in the proper disposal of boats and the obstacles are many, complex, and expensive. LRNow is collaborating with several partners, to help find solutions to this problem. We have applied for grant funding to both remove boats and help inform a statewide program.
Watch for more information soon.
Virginian-Pilot, November 21, 2022
Commissions and Boards
LRNow staff members serve on all of the following local, regional and state boards and commissions.
Virginia Beach Green Ribbon Committee
Virginia Conservation Network Board of Directors
Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s Albemarle-Pamlico Advisory Commission
Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s Chesapeake Bay Advisory Commission
Virginia Beach Forest Conservation Study Group
Virginia Beach Open Space Committee
Virginia Beach Vision Board and Resiliency Committee
Resort Area Commission Green Committee
Bikes and Waterways Committee
Parks and Recreation Foundation
Our Elected Representatives
Virginia Beach City Council
Click HERE for Contact Information
Mayor Bob Dyer
Vice Mayor Rosemary Wilson
Louis Jones – Bayside District
Guy Tower – Beach District
Linwood Branch – Lynnhaven District
Michael Berlucchi – Rose Hall District
Sabrina Wooten – Centerville District
Barbara Henley – Princess Anne District
N.D. “Rocky” Holcomb – Kempsville District
Rosemary Wilson – At Large
John Moss – At Large
Aaron Rouse – At Large
All City Council meetings are open to the public, can be viewed on Cox Channel 48 and Verizon Channel 45, or streamed from the City’s website. Click HERE for more information about City Council meetings, schedules, or information about how to contact your City Council representatives.
Virginia General Assembly
Click HERE to learn who your legislator is!
Senator Bill DeSteph – District 8
Senator Jennifer Kiggans – District 7
Senator Lynwood Lewis – District 6
Delegate Kelly Fowler – District 21
Delegate “Cliff” Hayes Jr. – District 77
Delegate Barry Knight – District 81
Delegate Anne Ferrell Tata – District 82
Delegate Timothy Anderson – District 83
Delegate Glenn Davis – District 84
Delegate Karen Greenhalgh – District 85
Delegate Angelia Williams Graves – District 90
For information on General Assembly bills or access information for our representatives, go to the Virginia Public Access Project, Richmond Sunlight, or the Virginia General Assembly.
Senator Tim Kaine
Senator Mark Warner
Congresswoman Elaine Luria