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Virginia Conservation Network Releases 2020 Special Session Common Agenda; Calls for Dismantling Environmental Injustice, Systemic Racism

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See below for an email from the Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) about the release of Conservation and the Virginia Special Session. Among other things, VCN says:

  • “During this special session and beyond, we commit to looking for ways we can be supportive of policies that help break down systems of environmental injustice and lift up communities of color including, but not limited to, our support of the Commonwealth recognizing racism as a public health crisis.”
  • “The Virginia Conservation Network wishes to restate our support of the Black Lives Matter movement and thank the Legislative Black Caucus and justice advocates across Virginia for their tireless effort to work on policies which work to dismantle systemic racism in our Commonwealth. We look forward to working with all of Virginia’s lawmakers and agencies to protect and enhance environmental protections for all Virginians while our policies and outreach help ensure Virginia is an equitable and just place to live.”
  • We hope that in making these [budgetary] decisions, the General Assembly will consider the holistic value of each program and the role that natural resource protection can play in combating this pandemic through better public health and renewed economic growth.”

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Today, the Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) released Conservation and the Virginia Special Session. This special edition of our annual Briefing Book highlights ways in which investments in natural resources will help relieve the economic and health-related impacts of our prolonged battle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conservation and the Virginia Special Session was written by VCN’s partners – Virginia’s top conservation advocates. This special edition covers a range of important topics including:

  • VCN Statement on Race and Equity;
  • Meeting our Chesapeake Bay Goals;
  • Protecting our Landscapes and Creating Access to the Outdoors for All;
  • Restoring and Enhancing our Natural Resources Agencies; and,
  • Transforming Transportation

As legislators look to balance the budget during this uncertain economic moment, VCN and its partners commend the public health and economic benefits of these priorities.

I hope you will join us next Tuesday, August 11 for our rescheduled 2020 General Assembly Special Session Preview. During the event, we will take a deep dive into the conservation issues at the special session and offer opportunities for organizing and advocacy.

As always, thank you for everything you do.

Mary Rafferty
Executive Director
Virginia Conservation Network