The following text was taken from an email alert sent out on October 5, 2020 by The Piedmont Environmental Council’s director of state policy, Dan Holmes. To sign up for PEC email alerts, visit pecva.org/signup.
Back in August, I sent out an email about Virginia’s upcoming “special” legislative session. If I knew then what I know now, I would have told you to strap yourself in for the long haul.
The session that began on August 18 is still ongoing. However, with the passage of House and Senate budgets, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Many tough decisions had to be made regarding funding priorities. But I’m happy to share that the funding for the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, our state’s main conservation grant program, remains in both budgets.
The amounts in both budgets are the same, however the House has placed a contingency on that funding, requiring Virginia to hit revenue projections before allocating that money. The Senate has not placed any contingency on funding, but may do so as the details are hammered out in conference committee. That agreement, after approval of the two bodies, would then move to the governor’s desk for signature.
Protecting Our Natural Resources Has Never Been More Critical
Covid-19 has driven home the vital connection between environmental protection and public health. Our need for parks, trails and open spaces has never been so readily apparent, nor our focus on restoration of water quality and strengthening local food systems so timely. Investments in conservation protects public health and that of our environment.
Once this special session is over, it will only be a few short months before the regular legislative session begins in January. With the next session coming so quickly, we have a rare chance to both thank our legislators for their support of VLCF now and to remind them of the importance of all of our conservation programs in 2021. Your legislators need to hear from you now on the importance of funding that supports conservation of our natural resources, improves access to nature, protects water quality and provides numerous other public health benefits.
Thank your legislators for their support of funding the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation now and to remind them of the importance of all of our conservation programs in 2021.
As always, thank you for being an advocate for conservation! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me directly.
Director of State Policy
The Piedmont Environmental Council