Written by: Cory Nealon
February 9, 2012
Virginia lawmakers declined to back a $300 million bond package that would fund wastewater treatmet plant improvements in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The bond, which passed unanimously in the Senate, hit a wall Wednesday in the House of Delegates. An Appropriations subcommittee voted to shelve the matter until next year.
The decision is a setback for environmental groups, localities, sewer authorities and others that want to use bonds to help pay for upgrades that would reduce nitrogen and phosphorus discharges in the bay and its tributaries.
The legislation springs from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 15-year effort to restore water quality in the bay, where algae blooms, fish kills, and beach closures occur every year.
The EPA directed six watershed states, including Virginia and the District of Columbia, to devise ways to reduce pollution. In addition to targeting wastewater treatment plants, states are clamping down on agricultural operations, stormwater runoff and other sources.