The 2023 Virginia General Assembly kicked off in Richmond last Wednesday, and we are excited to fight for our environment, win real solutions to our most pressing issues and defend the historic progress we have made. We’ll be sharing updates on what we are seeing in Richmond throughout the session. Here are some takeaways from the first week of the 2023 General Assembly:
We need to defend our climate progress.
There are several bills (like this one, and this one, and this one, oh and this one) that are attempting to roll back climate progress in Virginia. These bills are primarily attempting to rollback/repeal three key climate programs in Virginia:
- Clean Cars program
- Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
- Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA)
The Virginia Senate Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources (ACNR) committee killed a series of bills to repeal clean car standards but we know there will be more anti-climate bills in the Senate as well as companion repeal bills in the House of Delegates.
It is essential that your state senator and delegate hear from you in opposition to any and all climate attacks. You can look up who represents you and how to get in touch with them here.
We have the opportunity to take action on plastic pollution.
So far we have seen three bills that would work to combat plastic pollution as well as better understand some of the impacts.
- SB 1012: Bans single use plastics from state agencies as well as allowing local governments to do the same
- SB 933: Gives localities the authority to ban single use plastic bags
- HB 1721: Establishes a workgroup to study microplastics in our drinking water
We have also seen bills that support plastic to fuel and waste to energy- or what the industry is branding “advanced recycling”. Current bills, including this bill by Senator Lewis, would prohibit any locality from banning or preventing establishment of these facilities. We are opposed to any efforts to bring the plastic to fuel and waste to energy industry to Virginia and support localities efforts to prevent establishment of these facilities in their community if they choose.
It is time to invest in more nature and wildlife.
Conservation is an important part of what makes Virginia so special. When we invest in parks, trails and protecting more nature, we are investing in Virginians. There are few bills we are watching that would fund wildlife corridors and land conservation. We will have more information on these efforts in the coming weeks when budget amendments are all announced.
To learn how you can get involved in advocating for our environment as well as our top tips and tricks for having your voice heard this session, check out our How to navigate the Virginia General Assembly guide.
To learn more about our priorities for the General Assembly session as well as the rest of the year, take a look at Environment Virginia’s 2023 Priorities.