For Immediate Release:
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Lee Francis | Deputy Director
Virginia League of Conservation Voters
(804) 225-1902 | email@example.com
RICHMOND – As the 2020 General Assembly nears its end, the legislature has passed a number of impactful bills to safeguard vulnerable communities and Virginians’ health from environmental threats.
From the water that comes out of our taps at home to the air that our children breathe when they’re at school, lawmakers have taken important strides forward in 2020 to ensure that all Virginians are better protected from toxic threats to our health and our environment.
“The work towards creating a permanent environment justice council has helped ensure a forum for communities of color and low-income residents have a place to discuss their concerns in an impactful way,” said Danielle Simms, interim political director for the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. “While we need to continue to ensure that a diversity of voices have a seat at the table in decision-making processes, this has helped highlight injustices such as mold, lead contamination in water, legionella in schools, lead contamination in water at daycares, medical monitoring for private well owners near coal ash ponds in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and a study of PFAS in water sources. Luckily, this session major progress was made to find solutions to these environmental health and justice concerns.”
Among the important environmental justice and health provisions that have passed are the following:
- House Bill 586 from Del. Elizabeth Guzman to study the prevalence of “forever chemicals” in our drinking water supply and to establish appropriate regulations.
- House Bill 797, House Bill 1342, and Senate Bill 392 from Del. Alex Askew and Sen. Jeremy McPike to protect us from lead in our homes and public schools (additional legislation, House Bill 799 and Senate Bill 793, which addresses lead in daycare facilities, is in conference).
- House Bill 1042 and Senate Bill 883 from Del. Charniele Herring and Sen. Mamie Locke establishing by statute the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice.
- House Bill 1641 and House Bill 1642 from Del. Hala Ayala to safeguard drinking water for residents who live near coal ash sites.
- Senate Bill 410, from Sen. Ghazala Hashmi to address legionella bacteria in public schools.
- Senate Bill 845 from Sen. Adam Ebbin to address the presence of mold in our public schools.
The Virginia League of Conservation Voters serves as the political voice of the state’s conservation community, working to make sure Virginia’s elected officials recognize that our natural heritage is an environmental and economic treasure for all. Virginia LCV works with conservation leaders across Virginia and strives for a conservation majority in state government. We secure good public policies on the state level and hold public officials accountable for their positions on environmental issues. For more information, visit www.valcv.org.