Urban and suburban polluted runoff is the only major source of pollution still on the rise in the Chesapeake Bay region. Water running off streets, parking lots, and lawns picks up trash, motor oil, pesticides, and other contaminates and washes them into streams flowing through our communities.
Polluted runoff threatens our drinking water. It's the cause of beach closures and fish advisories. We all contribute to this pollution; we all must take responsibility in reducing it.
The 2014 Virginia General Assembly session will address bills asking for delay, dilution, or exemption from the rules that safeguard our waterways from polluted runoff.
Tell your legislators that they must not delay or weaken Virginia's stormwater management program. To ensure safe, healthy, and productive waters for us all, they must hold firm to the July 2014 implementation and provide $50 million in assistance to local governments working to reduce polluted runoff.
I am writing to ask you to oppose any effort to delay or weaken Virginia's stormwater management program.
The General Assembly had the foresight to initiate the stormwater management program in 2004. A diverse group of stakeholders, including developers, local governments, stormwater technical experts, and conservation organizations, worked on regulations for more than five years, reaching a consensus on the regulations in their current form. Implementation of the program was postponed in 2006, 2009, 2010, and again in 2012. It is past time for Virginia to act.
Virginia has committed funds to upgrade its wastewater facilities and to reduce runoff from agricultural lands, and our rivers and streams are cleaner and healthier as a result. Unfortunately, urban and suburban polluted runoff increases with every new roof, lawn, road, and parking lot. We cannot continue to postpone implementing these protections.
I'm heartened that Virginia committed to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution from urban and suburban lands in its Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). Please hold firm to the July 2014 deadline for implementation so the Commonwealth achieves these reduction goals.
Thank you for establishing the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) in 2013. The initial $35 million investment will pay dividends in healthier waters for all Virginians to enjoy. Please appropriate additional funds to the SLAF that will ensure $50 million is available in FY2015 for local governments, which implement cost-effective solutions to reduce polluted runoff.
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Thank you for your consideration and continued service.
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