Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee

Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee


Meets on:  Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in House Room 3

Members Ken Plum (Chair) – Rob Bloxom – David Bulova – Joshua Cole –  James Edmunds – Todd Gilbert – Wendy Gooditis – Nancy Guy – Dan Helmer – Sally Hudson –  Mark Keam – Alfonso Lopez  – Danny Marshall    Charles Poindexter – Margaret Ransone –  Shelly Simonds – Kathy Tran – Roslyn Tyler – Lee Ware  – Michael Webert – Rodney Willett – Tony Wilt

13 Democrats and 9 Republicans


  • Agriculture
  • Chesapeake
  • Natural Resources

OnAir Post: Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee


  • HB 1750 Dairy Producer Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program; established.
  • HB 1751 Peanuts; extends sunset date of excise tax on all peanuts grown in Virginia.
  • HB 1760 Conservation easements; certain easements be liberally construed in favor of purpose which created.
  • HB 1763 Tax credit; agricultural best management practices.
  • HB 1804 State parks; DCR to develop recommendations for funding, report.
  • HB 1819 Rappahannock River; designating a 79-mile portion as a component of Va. Scenic Rivers System.
  • HB 1833 Conservation and Recreation, Department of; leasing of land.
  • HB 1836 Natural Resources, Secretary of; name changed to the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources.
  • HB 1837 Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board; clarifies membership.
  • HB 1902 Expanded polystyrene food service containers; prohibition, civil penalty.
  • HB 1928 Historic resources; acquisition and lease of land.
  • HB 1958 South River; designates segment in City of Waynesboro as part of Va. Scenic Rivers System.
  • HB 1965 State Air Pollution Control Board; low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program.
  • HB 1982 Nutrient credits; use by facility with certain stormwater discharge permit.
  • HB 1983 Wetland and stream mitigation banks; proximity of impacted site.
  • HB 2030 Neonicotinoid pesticides; communication between beekeepers and applicators.
  • HB 2068 Local Food and Farming Infrastructure Grant Program; established.
  • HB 2078 Industrial hemp; updates laws to address the new hemp producer license.
  • HB 2129 Chesapeake Bay; wastewater treatment, Enhanced Nutrient Removal Certainty Program established.
  • HB 2159 Balloons; release of nonbiodegradable balloons outdoors prohibited, civil penalty.
  • HB 2187 Recurrent Flooding Resiliency, Commonwealth Center; study topics to manage water quality, etc.
  • HB 2203 Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance Program and Fund; established and created.
  • HB 2213 Gold; Secretary of Natural Resources, et al., to study mining and processing.
  • HB 2250 Humane Cosmetics Act; civil penalties.
  • HB 2298 Muzzleloading rifle and shotgun; clarifies definitions.
  • HB 2302 Farmers market food and beverage products; sales considered essential during state of emergency.
  • HB 2311 Objects of antiquity; unlawful to remove from battlefield, penalty.

Note: Details on bills passed below are in the Heading “Bills passed”


Standing Committee: 1/20 1/27 2/3 2/8 2/10 2/17 

Subcommittee on Chesapeake:  1/18 1/18 1/25 2/15 

Subcommittee on Agriculture: 1/19 1/20 1/27 2/17 

Subcommittee on Natural Resources: 1/20 1/27 2/17 

The geography of Mathews County was carved by catastrophe.

Thirty-five million years ago, a meteorite or comet tore through the Earth’s atmosphere and slammed into its surface somewhere between the county and what is now called Cape Charles. In the ruin it left behind, the Chesapeake Bay would form. Mathews, at the very tip of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, remains one of the state’s lowest-lying areas, surrounded on three sides by the Chesapeake Bay and the waters that flow into it.

“We’re flat as a pancake,” said Thomas Jenkins, the county’s planning, zoning and wetlands director. “Much of the county is close to sea level.”

Today a far slower but perhaps no less catastrophic force is reshaping Mathews. As climate change drives seas upward, the county is struggling to keep its waterfront properties above the tides.

On environmental justice, Democrats split over the best path forward
Virginia Mercury, Sarah VogelsongMarch 12, 2021

When the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an air permit last year for a compressor station Dominion Energy wanted to site in the majority-Black community of Union Hill as part of the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the judges admonished state officials that “environmental justice is not merely a box to be checked.”

In the wake of the ruling, newly ascendant Democrats in the General Assembly looked to legislation as a fix. Environmental justice — the idea that no group should bear a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences and that communities impacted should have “meaningful involvement” in the decision-making process — was added to state code and its promotion became declared state policy.

But as the 2021 session drew to a close, Democrats split over what to do next.

Eighteen months ago, Virginia released its Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan, which lays out the steps for achieving a restored Chesapeake Bay and healthy local rivers and streams by 2025. Achieving that goal by the target date will depend on significantly accelerated state investments in the key programs that reduce pollution from farmlands, sewage treatment plants, and the hard surfaces of our cities and suburbs.

Virginians are taking note. Before COVID took hold a year ago, legislators approved historic levels of clean water funding. Since then, despite the pandemic, the resulting economic downturn, and the year’s social and political upheavals, signs of continuing commitment to our waterways and natural environment abound. Visits to state parks are at an all-time high, favorite hiking trails and waterways have been crowded, and many have rediscovered in the outdoors an antidote to stress and anxiety.

Legislators are also recommitting to our lands and waters. Virginia is poised to enact landmark legislation (HB 2129 — Del. Alfonso Lopez and SB 1354— Sen. Emmett Hanger) that will require and direct significant upgrades to many older wastewater treatment plants along the James and York Rivers and other waterways. This work — continuing an effort that has seen great success in earlier phases — will lead to substantial reductions in the pollution that reaches the Chesapeake Bay over the next several years. But funding this effort will require help from the state.


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Agriculture Subcommittee

Meets on:  Wednesday at 4:00 pm in 400-B Subcommittee Room

MembersWendy Gooditis (Chair),  Joshua Cole,  Sally HudsonMark Keam,  Danny Marshall,   Charles Poindexter,  Roslyn Tyler,  Tony Wilt

Chesapeake Subcommittee

Meets on:  Monday at 4:00 p.m. in 300-A Subcommittee Room

MembersAlfonso Lopez (Chair),  Rob Bloxom,  David Bulova,  Todd Gilbert,  Nancy GuyDan Helmer,   Margaret Ransone Shelly Simonds

Natural Resources Subcommittee

Meets on:  Wednesday at 8:00 AM in House Room 3

MembersKathy Tran (Chair),  Joshua Cole,   James Edmunds,  Sally HudsonMark Keam,   Lee WareMichael WebertRodney Willett


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