Virginia’s second-most senior delegate called on fellow lawmakers Wednesday to invest more money in Chesapeake Bay restoration, saying current programs are “grossly inadequate.”It's interesting that a Republican legislator is making these comments. He does represent a district on the Bay, so his district is more likely than an inland district to directly benefit from Bay cleanup, or he might well think that more of the money spent on a cleanup will land in his district. But my guess is that he simply wants to see the Bay cleaned up after all. He's old enough to remember when the Bay was better off, and my wish for his children and grandchildren to experience it that way again.
Virginia has spent on average $68 million annually since 1997 to improve the bay’s health, said outgoing Del. Harvey B. Morgan, R-Gloucester. In a statement, he noted that is less than 1 percent of the state’s $15.4 billion general fund.
“That won’t save the bay and won’t protect one of Virginia’s greatest ecological and economic resources,” Morgan said.
The bay’s watershed, which stretches from Virginia Beach to upstate New York, has been subject to numerous cleanup efforts since 1983. Progress has been made but scientists say industry, farms and suburbanization continue to threaten the ecosystem.
Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources, Morgan has staunchly supported bay restoration since being elected in 1979. He announced in May he would not seek re-election.
I guess my question would be how to best spend money on the Bay to clean it up. If someone were to give you a billion dollars for the Bay cleanup, to be spent this year (with the promise of similar funds to continue) how would you use it?
From my perspective, nutrients are the greatest current problem in the Bay, and the best way to spend a buck to stop them from getting into the Bay would be to go after the most concentrated source, municipal sewage.