Environment Position Statements - 2011 Legislative Program
Endocrine Disruptor Compounds
Support legislation and funding to implement a statewide strategy to address the potential health and environmental impacts of Endocrine Disruptor Compounds (EDCs) present in Virginia’s waterways. Budget language adopted in 2009 directed the Board of Pharmacy, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, and the Department of State Police to develop a program to ensure the proper disposal of unused pharmaceuticals; the take-back program recommended has not been funded, likely due to cost concerns. Legislation is pending in Congress that would provide for take-back programs for controlled substances. (Updates and reaffirms previous position.)
Global Climate Change
Support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through conservation, use of renewable fuels, regulations, and market-based or other incentives. As a signatory to the Cool Counties initiative, support the reduction of GHG emissions to 80 percent below current levels by 2050, which translates to an average annual reduction of 2 percent per year.
Support enhanced state efforts to reduce GHG emissions, through implementation of strategies set forth in the Virginia Energy Plan, including: a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2022; establishment and expansion of energy research and development programs; funding of renewable-energy grant programs; and incentives to assist the development and growth of energy-businesses and technologies.
Support opportunities for consumers to purchase renewable energy.
Support state legislative or executive action for Virginia to reduce GHG emissions, on a statewide or regional level, if a national system for GHG emissions reductions is not implemented.
Support legislation which would provide state income tax incentives for businesses or residents to defray a portion of the cost of new construction or improvements which save energy and mitigate adverse environmental impacts.
Support legislative or regulatory action strengthening energy efficiency standards for new homes. Virginia has not yet adopted the 2009 International Code Council energy provisions. Those provisions are currently under review by the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development. (Reaffirms previous positions.)
Support the current Governor’s goal to preserve 400,000 acres statewide, which would add to the total of 424,000 acres preserved by former Governor Kaine. Additionally, continue to support prioritizing the Virginia Land Preservation Tax Credit to encourage the preservation of land for public use. (Updates and reaffirms previous position.)
Reducing Environmental Contamination from Plastic and Paper Bags
Support legislation or other efforts which would encourage the use of reusable shopping bags, consistent with the County’s waste reduction goals and environmental stewardship efforts. As in previous sessions, it is anticipated that legislation to ban plastic bags or impose a fee for their use may be introduced again in 2011. Such legislation would need to be examined by the County for efficacy, cost, and ease of administration. (Updates and reaffirms previous position.)
Water Quality Improvement Fund
Support increased funding for the Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF), which is essential to an effective partnership among and across all levels of government to improve water quality and address federal Chesapeake Bay requirements.
The Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF) provides grants to local governments, soil and water conservation districts and individuals for point and nonpoint source pollution prevention, reduction and control programs. A primary objective of the WQIF is to provide funding to reduce the flow of excess nitrogen and phosphorus into the Chesapeake Bay. Without additional WQIF funds, wastewater treatment plants throughout the Commonwealth will receive no state support for required upgrades, leading to increased sewer rates for residents. Current estimates indicate that the WQIF is already overcommitted by approximately $130 million to $150 million, as projects have been approved far in excess of the funds available in the WQIF. Proceeds from a 2007-approved $250 million state bond issue will be exhausted by the end of FY 2011. Fairfax County, which is partially served by the DC WASA Blue Plains Treatment Plant, has recently applied for WQIF grants to fund a portion of upgrades required at that facility. (Updates and reaffirms previous County position.)