Environment Virginia 2021 General Assembly Priorities

The 2021 Virginia General Assembly will convene on January 13th for a thirty day session where legislators will have the opportunity to take action on a variety of environmental bills. 

Credit: Elly Boehmer

Clean water to drink and clean air to breathe; healthy beaches, lakes and rivers that are safe for swimming and fishing; preserved open spaces; clean sources of energy that don’t pollute and never run out — all this should be the heritage we leave to future generations. Defending our environment requires independent research, tough-minded advocacy and spirited grassroots action. That’s the idea behind Environment Virginia. Together with thousands of supporters from all walks of life, we take the kind of action that wins results. 

The 2021 Virginia General Assembly will convene on January 13th for a thirty day session where legislators will have the opportunity to take action on a variety of environmental bills. In 2020, we celebrated many victories for the environment in Virginia including the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the authority for localities to tax single use plastics bags and the Virginia Clean Economy Act- committing to 100% clean electricity by 2045. Environment Virginia is working to build off those wins and secure further victories for our air, water and open spaces. 

Environment Virginia’s 2021 General Assembly Priorities

Protecting Our Climate: Destination Zero Carbon

  1. Implementing Advanced Clean Car standards for new vehicles and adopting the Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Program which would require manufacturers to increase the number of electric vehicles sold here in Virginia.

  2. Electrifying Virginia’s Transportation. We support adopting requirements to electrify state vehicle fleets, providing funding and incentives for cities and counties to purchase electric vehicles including transit and school buses. We also support incentives for individual consumers to purchase EVs, including rebates and expanded charging infrastructure.

Wildlife Over Waste

  1. A statewide ban on polystyrene and other single use plastics. Among the worst forms of plastic pollution is polystyrene foam (the stuff most of us call Styrofoam), which never fully degrades. In order to protect Virginia’s waterways and wildlife we support banning single use foam cups and takeout containers in Virginia as well as other dangerous single use plastics such as plastic bags and straws.

  2. Ending intentional balloon releases. In Virginia, an individual can release 50 balloons an hour into the environment despite balloons being one of the most dangerous and deadly types of litter. We support banning the intentional release of balloons and classifying and enforcing such action as litter. 

While these are some of the top issues Environment Virginia will focus on during the General Assembly session, we will continue to support additional policies that bring more clean energy to Virginia, protect our waterways, and preserve our iconic landscapes. 

We cannot do this work without your help. As always, decision makers need to hear from their constituents about their concerns. That’s why over the next five weeks, Environment Virginia will be hosting a Volunteer Action Series on Thursdays at 6pm where you can learn more about these issues, get updates on how the session is going and have the opportunity to take action and let your legislators know where you stand! Last week folks wrote letter’s to their representatives which you can do throughout session. 

You can register for week two’s volunteer action today on January 14th!

We look forward to working to win real results for the environment in 2021 and continue our work to build a greener, cleaner future. 


Elly Boehmer

State Director, Environment Virginia

A former canvass director and organizer with Impact, Elly now directs Environment Virginia's efforts to promote clean air, clean water and open spaces in Virginia. Elly lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she enjoys gardening, photography, hiking and rollerblading with her dog.