The Bay & Clean Water

Clean water is a necessity. Without it, life as we know it can’t flourish.

Unfortunately, the threats to water quality in Virginia are numerous – heavy industry, bad energy policy, wastewater plants, urban runoff and pollution from agriculture all threaten our local waterways.

Virginia LCV is committed to protecting and preserving water quality across the Commonwealth, from the smallest streams to the widest rivers, because water connects us all. We do this by advocating for strong protections at the General Assembly and for funding mechanisms that help restore water quality, reduce pollution runoff and protect clean water for communities across the commonwealth.

Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

Virginia is among a coalition of states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed working to help cut the pollution entering this national treasure.

We have made progress since 2010 when the Environmental Protection Agency implemented a “Total Maximum Daily Load,” also known as a “pollution diet,” for the Bay, but it’s vital that we stay the course by continuing to cut nitrogen, phosphorous, sediment and other pollutants that have long threatened this vital estuary. This means controlling the runoff that enters Bay tributaries from city streets and farmland alike.

We are coming up on the mid-point in the cleanup process when we will need to have cut pollution by 60 percent, with 2025 as the target date for full restoration of the Bay and its tributaries.

We’re closer now more than ever to hitting this goal, but we’ll need to keep the momentum going to fully realize a restored and rejuvenated Chesapeake Bay.

Coal Ash

Very few power plants in Virginia still burn coal to generate electricity. But, sadly, Virginians’ health and water quality remain at risk because of these facilities even after they’ve closed or been converted.

Coal ash, the toxic byproduct of burning coal to power our grid, is still stored at multiple sites across the state in unlined pits, where it runs the risk of leaching into our water supply, by slowly seeping into groundwater, or as we saw in 2014, through a large-scale spill into a local waterway.

Virginia LCV is committed to protecting communities across the Commonwealth from the dangers of coal ash by supporting legislation requiring utilities to dispose of this toxic waste responsibly, in lined, permitted landfills and to remediate these sites fully, in line with current standards for abandoned coalmines.
For decades, we’ve had to live with the dangers of coal in the air we breathe; we shouldn’t have to also worry about its toxic legacy in the water we drink.

Toxics

Your community could be at risk from a toxic waste spill and you wouldn’t know about it until it was too late. The party responsible for the spill would face only a slap-on-the-wrist fine and chances are you won’t learn about it unless you read the fine print in the back pages of a newspaper.

That’s because no state-level, publically accessible inventory of these sites exists; the polluters responsible for a toxic waste spill into a local waterway face only minimal fines under a fee structure that hasn’t changed in 20 years; and the only required public notice comes in the form of a newspaper legal notice.

Virginia LCV advocates for reform of our state’s weak or nonexistent regulations governing toxics. Transparency is woefully lacking in both the event of a toxic spill and the location of potential hazards to local communities. And polluters should be held accountable with a fine structure that sends a loud and clear message: Our environment is not your dumping ground.