Flood Fund oversight to remain with executive branch

Governor’s veto ends ongoing disagreement with General Assembly
A flooded road outside Richmond.
A flooded road outside Richmond.(Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 7:09 AM EDT
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Virginia’s Community Flood Preparedness Fund, a pot of millions of dollars earmarked for community flood protection work across the state, will remain under the oversight of the executive branch despite recent legislative efforts to shift authority to an appointed citizen board.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has vetoed legislation that would have transferred administration of the Flood Fund from the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation to the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board, a citizen body appointed by the governor in coordination with the state’s soil and water conservation districts and largest farm groups.

In his veto statement, the governor said the bill would “have the unintended consequence of fragmenting our coastal resiliency efforts.”

The move capped the end of an ongoing disagreement between the governor and the General Assembly over control of the Flood Fund, which to date has received roughly $136 million from Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Under that multistate carbon market, power producers have to purchase allowances for each ton of carbon they emit in quarterly auctions.

Youngkin had previously recommended that oversight of the Flood Fund remain with DCR, but his recommendation was rejected by a unanimous Senate vote during the one-day reconvened session in Richmond this April.

Under the state Constitution, any bill returned to the governor from a reconvened session that is then vetoed is considered dead.

Sen. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack, said the dispute boils down to “a policy disagreement between the governor’s office and those of us in the Senate who have been working on resiliency for some time.”

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.(Virginia Mercury)

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

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