On Friday, June 25, 2021 Gov. Ralph Northam signed several environmental and conservation bills into law that will serve to protect Virginia’s waterways now and into the future.
The bills set a deadline to minimize pollutants with a goal of pollution mitigation by 2025. The causes of pollution are targeted with an aim of diminishing existing levels. One of the bills calls for the reduction of nitrogen and other discharges to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Other bills regulate sewage treatment facilities and financial assistance to low-income property owners to repair or install septic systems and other wastewater needs.
The new laws include banning the outdoor release of non- biodegradable balloons. Balloons are a major polluter of our waterways and a threat to marine animals. Del. Nancy Guy, who introduced the bill, said, “Balloons are beautiful and they are fun but they are also pernicious.”
Delegate Alfonso Lopez said that these bills offer certainty: Certainty of pollution reduction, funding costs, and dates.
Claire Connor, a sophomore at Hickory High School, gave a passionate speech on what these new laws mean to her. “Today serves as palpable proof that through advocacy and awareness, along with collaboration between citizens and elected officials, action and progress is possible,” she said.
Governor Northam stated, “When we talk about being stewards of our environment and our natural resources, this takes a village.” EcoAction Arlington agrees with this sentiment. It is our mission to protect and improve water, air, and open spaces in the Arlington community and nearby areas by promoting stewardship of our natural resources and connecting all residents to practical solutions that achieve a sustainable lifestyle. We must all be engaged, on every level, as stewards of our environment and natural resources for today and for the future.