Northam administration takes step toward improving DEQ


virginia deqToday, Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler released to Gov. Ralph Northam a report setting forth recommendations to improve the DEQ.

Following the Governor’s Executive Order 6 in April 2018, the Northam administration undertook the difficult task of reviewing Virginia’s environmental programs to identify needed improvements. This review was especially important after years of budget cuts eroded DEQ’s ability to fulfill its mission. To help inform the recommendations, the administration held meetings with a variety of stakeholders, including representatives of the Southern Environmental Law Center and other conservation organizations.

Today’s report, the product of this review process, contains many positive recommendations and provides a foundation to build on to better protect Virginia’s environment. The report also further outlines the Northam administration’s commitment to protect Virginia’s clean air, clean water, and public health from the rollback of national safeguards by the Trump administration.

“We are pleased to see many of the stakeholders’ recommendations make it into the report,” said Sarah Francisco, Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Virginia Office. “We are excited to see the Commonwealth’s commitment to current health and environmental standards, regardless of risky rollbacks in DC. And we are eager to help the administration turn this report into real change that will improve the environment and public health for the benefit of all Virginians.”

“Going forward, it will be essential for DEQ to follow through on its new focus on public engagement and environmental justice,” said Sarah Francisco. “Our agencies can and must better inform, serve, and collaborate with affected citizens—particularly with communities that too often bear the burden of pollution.”

The public release of the report is an important step that kicks off the next phase of the work, and securing full funding for DEQ will be critical for the agency to accomplish these goals.  “We look forward to working with Virginia officials and the public to flesh out these broad recommendations and ensure these improvements are expanded and implemented,” Francisco said.



uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Subscribe

Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009. (We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!) That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year. (Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.) AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue? From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading. Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.