|VIRGINIA BEACH—Governor Ralph Northam today joined Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Virginia Delegate David Bulova, Environmental Protection Agency Acting Regional Administrator Diana Esher, and representatives from the Chesapeake Bay watershed at a meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council to sign a directive that commits the Chesapeake Bay Program to addressing the increasing threats of climate change. The directive utilizes world-class scientific, modeling, monitoring, and planning capabilities to jumpstart the final phase of Bay restoration.
“We are making significant investments to meet the 2025 restoration deadline,” said Governor Northam. “As someone who grew up next to the Chesapeake Bay, its restoration has been a priority for my administration. I am proud of the concrete actions we have taken in Virginia to help protect the Bay, especially our collaboration with the watershed partnership to invest in the infrastructure and programing. Cleaning the Bay creates new job opportunities, grows economic activity, builds resilience, and protects this natural treasure and its waterways.”
The Northam administration spent more than a year developing a strong, science-based clean water blueprint that will reduce nutrient pollution and account for the impacts of climate change.
At the Chesapeake Executive Council meeting, Governor Northam, Maryland Governor Hogan, and Chesapeake Bay Commission Chair and Virginia House of Delegate David Bulova joined their colleagues in signing a directive to acknowledge the urgency and consequences of climate change.
This partnership recognizes the need to increase the resiliency of the watershed, including the need to significantly reduce water pollution. It also acknowledges the need to restore natural landscapes, habitats, public infrastructure, and communities so they can withstand adverse impacts from changing environmental and climate conditions.
“A clean Bay will generate more than $22 billion dollars each year in new economic value from improved commercial and recreational fishing, reduced drinking water treatment costs, resilience to climate change, and improved property values and quality of life in the region,” said Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Ann Jennings. “It is time to lean in on these efforts, acknowledge the undeniable impacts of the climate crisis, and, most importantly, work across the watershed to respond appropriately using the best science and data to protect the Bay and our environment.”
The Council, chaired by Governor Northam, includes the governors of the six watershed states, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The panel establishes the policy direction to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay.
Over the past four years, Virginia has made historic investments in Chesapeake Bay restoration, with more than $700 million allocated to these efforts thus far.