On environment, lawmakers to grapple with everything from small fish to global shifts

On environment, lawmakers to grapple with everything from small fish to global shifts
A heron perches on rocks in the James River near Mayo's Island in Richmond. The river is one of many Virginia waterways that impact the Chesapeake Bay. (Source: (Sarah Vogelsong/The Virginia Mercury))

As if they didn’t have enough on their plates with energy legislation, lawmakers this session are set to consider a vast array of environmental bills, ranging from small fish (menhaden) to problems perplexing leaders worldwide (climate change).

What unified policies, if any, will emerge from this pastiche of concerns and proposals is largely unclear, as is the degree to which legislators may prioritize energy legislation over environmental issues.

Even on issues like sea level rise and flooding, “there’s going to be a significant focus on green energy sources and reducing the carbon footprint,” said Del. Joseph Lindsey, D-Norfolk.

Nevertheless, a few themes have emerged on which legislators seem to be forming a consensus — or at least consistent enough positions for robust debate to occur.

The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.