SENATE DEMOCRATS CHAMPION ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Richmond, Va. -- This afternoon, Senate Democrats presented an array of environmental initiatives aiming to protect Virginia’s natural beauty. Senator Jennifer Wexton’s (D-Loudoun) bill SB 1154 addresses reporting requirements for noxious spills; Senator Lynwood Lewis’ (D-Accomack) bill SB 1317 establishes a fund to help residents and businesses that fall victim to recurrent flooding; and Senator Donald McEachin’s (D-Henrico) bill SB 771 calls for an inventory of Virginia’s toxic waste sites. These bills reported out of the Senate Agriculture Committee and will now make their way to the Senate floor. Another bill proposed by Senator McEachin, SB 1428, which would have seen Virginia join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, failed on a party line vote.
“Over the past year, Virginia has experienced various spills that have jeopardized our drinking and surface waters,” said Senator Wexton. “This bill shortens the time hazardous spills must be reported to the appropriate authorities and modernizes by which they are reported to media outlets.”
“Protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth from recurrent flooding is extremely important, with more and more homes being affected each year on Virginia’s coast,” said Senator Lewis. “Families and business owners need access to low-interest help in order to protect their assets from recurrent flooding, and I’m working hard to create that opportunity.”
“I am disappointed that my Republican colleagues are unwilling to acknowledge the imminent danger of rising sea levels,” said Senator McEachin after SB 1428 was passed by due to a party line vote. “Thankfully, they are at least willing to work with us to inventory Virginia’s toxic waste sites. This is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to making Virginia a cleaner and even more beautiful place to live.”
Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Mike Town said, “I am encouraged that all the Democrats on the committee recognize the urgency and importance of addressing climate change. I am certain that in 2016 we can get an even better result.”