In the 2017 General Assembly session, the Governor and lawmakers had a $1.5 billion budget shortfall to close. As a result, VIRGINIAforever’s expectations for funding increases were tempered, especially as the Governor proposed significant cuts to balance the budget, including cuts to VIRGINIAforever priorities.
During the session, VIRGINIAforever worked closely with the state’s policymakers to identify opportunities that balance the Commonwealth’s current financial needs with VIRGINIAforever’s advocacy efforts to ensure the protection of our precious natural resources. Our strategy was to set a longer-term vision to identify a dedicated source of funding for land and water protection over the next several years while meeting FY18 appropriation goals to ensure funding for the minimum requirements.
Click here to read our assessment of land conservation and water quality funding outcomes during the session.
What’s next? The legislature returns for one day on April 5 to act on the Governor’s proposed amendments and vetoes to both general legislation and the budget. Looking ahead, in order to prepare for a 2018 rebound, VIRGINIAforever will continue monitoring the State’s revenues, meeting with key legislators and preparing our case for the 2018 General Assembly session.
Thank you to everyone who advocated our priorities to General Assembly members even in – especially in – a tough budget year!
VIRGINIAforever is very pleased and honored to be selected to make a presentation at Environment Virginia, the state’s premier annual conference for natural resources issues. The presentation will focus on the results of a 2016 study commissioned by VIRGINIAforever, The Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy that calculated the state’s return on investment in land conservation. The panel will also highlight return on investments for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, discuss why conservation matters to corporations in Virginia and how audiences can use ROI data when advocating for natural resources funding. The panel presentation will take place April 5 at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. For more information on Environment Virginia, click here. See the land conservation ROI study results here and a related opinion article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch by VIRGINIAforever executive board members Kendall Tyree and Lisa Kardell here.
In January, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce announced that it elected Dennis Treacy, chair of VIRGINIAforever and president of the Smithfield Foundation, as chairman of its board of directors. Dennis has held leadership roles with Smithfield Foods since 2002 and previously served as Virginia’s director of environmental quality and as an assistant attorney general in the natural resources section of the Virginia Attorney General’s office. He also currently serves as vice rector on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. Dennis has served as chair of VIRGINIAforever since 2016. A Virginia Business article announcing the Chamber appointment mentions Dennis’ leadership of VIRGINIAforever; the article can be found here. Read more about the Virginia Chamber’s board here.
VIRGINIAforever is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ourlandourwater. “Like” our page to stay in touch about VIRGINIAforever announcements as well as natural resources funding news from across the Commonwealth. You are encouraged to “share” and “comment” on our content.
The 2017 VIRGINIAforever legislative reception was held January 24 at Rappahannock Restaurant in Richmond. We were joined by lawmakers, including majority leader Del. Kirk Cox, and several secretaries including The Honorable Molly Ward, Secretary of Natural Resources; The Honorable Basil Gooden, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry; and The Honorable Karen Jackson, Secretary of Technology. VIRGINIAforever chair Dennis Treacy and vice chair Nikki Rovner outlined our legislative priorities.
VIRGINIAforever delivered custom made cookies to members of the Virginia General Assembly to remind them to attend our annual legislative reception and to highlight the need for additional funding for natural resources projects.
Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s reception.
Below find a compilation of recent natural resources news releases issued by the Governor’s office and the Secretary of Natural Resources.