Richmond, VA — Earlier this week, Senate Democrats released their budget, making generational investments in the fight against climate change and includes substantial funding to protect and preserve our environment. Meanwhile, Republicans announced plans to slash hundreds of millions in funding for critical environmental preservation projects that will set Virginia back and worsen the ongoing effects of climate change. This follows Governor Youngkin’s dangerous appointment of a former coal lobbyist as his Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources, and his continued commitment to removing Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)–a move that is highly unpopular with Virginia voters.
The budget introduced by Senate Democrats sets Virginia on a path to combating climate change, preserving natural resources and supporting our thriving agriculture and forestry industries in the commonwealth. By fully funding the agricultural Best Management Practices, Senate Democrats are demonstrating their commitment to working hand-in-hand with industry leaders to build stronger and more sustainable agricultural and forestry businesses while protecting our environment. The Senate Budget also provides over $100 million to address combined sewage overflow and tens of millions in funding for land conservation and state parks. It preserves critical funding for the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Department of Environmental Quality to advance clean energy and flood preparedness as part of our participation in RGGI.
In stark contrast, Governor Youngkin and House Republicans launched another destructive attack on our environment, slashing hundreds of millions in funding for key environmental and land conservation programs. This comes as no surprise following Governor Youngkin’s appointment of Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist and Trump crony as Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources. The budget put forward by House Republicans withdraws Virginia from RGGI, cutting over $180 million for clean energy and flood preparedness, and slashing an additional $26 million for agricultural Best Management Practices that support local farmers and foresters, millions for tree planting initiatives that clean our air and cool our climates, and more. These efforts will hurt Virginia industries and exacerbate the already detrimental effects of climate change in our commonwealth.
“The Democratic Party is the only party in Virginia dedicated to tackling the worsening effects of climate change, which is causing major flooding in our communities, polluting our air and waters and putting our futures at risk, and our budget makes that crystal clear,” said DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “Since day one, Republicans have launched attack after attack on our environment, as evidenced by Governor Youngkin’s move to appoint a former coal lobbyist to oversee the natural and historic resources. Senate Democrats on the other hand continue to stand up for our environment, support our thriving industries and lay the groundwork for a better future, free from the negative and deadly effects of climate change.”