Category Archives: Environmental Issues

Virginia Supreme Court rules in favor of utility charge for carbon reduction

The State Corporation Commission acted lawfully when it approved a request from the Virginia Electric and Power Company to add a surcharge to utility bills to cover the costs of purchasing carbon allowances in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auctions. That’s according to an opinion yesterday by the Virginia Supreme Court. 

“Though highly complex in its details, the [Carbon Dioxide] Budget Trading Program relies on a basic economic thesis: CO2 emissions can be reduced over time by making those responsible for them pay for the right to emit,” reads the opinion by Justice D. Arthur Kelsey

Read more

Charlottesville to spend $20K on reusable bags for those on benefits

In their final action at their meeting on October 17, 2022, Charlottesville City Council held first reading on an item to spend $20,000 to purchase reusable bags for those on federal or state benefits. The 2020 General Assembly authorized localities in Virginia to authorize a 5 cent tax on plastic bags. 

“We along with Albemarle County will be launching that January 1,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. “We continue to work closely with the county to make sure that our efforts are in alignment with theirs because our residents move back and forth between the city and the county, we want to ensure that there’s no real concern in regards to understanding what’s different whatever we may be doing so our goal is to try to do it in conjunction with another.” 

Read more

City crews preparing to remove some Downtown Mall trees

Later this week, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will hold an information meeting on removing some of the trees on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Riann Anthony is the deputy director of the department. 

“We are very lucky that the Downtown Mall trees have been in existence for this long,” Anthony said. “Some of them are healthy and others are not healthy but per our urban forester is that all of the trees are stressed from a number of factors.”

Read more

Solar policy subject of Rivanna River conference

Do you or someone you know have an interest in the connections between how land is used and the water quality of rivers and streams? Tomorrow, an entity called the Rivanna River Basin Commission (RRBC) is putting on its seventh annual conference. 

“The purpose of this conference really is to promote the environmental stewardship and equity of the basin and the region as we transition into more renewable energy sources,” said Isabella O’Brien, environmental planner at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. “As well as to provide a forum for local governments, staff, and the public as well to learn more about this growing topic of solar.” 

Read more

UVA continues to use coal as a backup to Charlottesville gas

As the temperatures get colder, thoughts of many turn to how homes and businesses will be heated in the winter months. The University of Virginia continues to burn coal for a portion of the year to supplement the natural gas it purchases from the city of Charlottesville. 

The topic came up at the end of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors’ Buildings and Grounds Committee on September 15. University of Virginia Architect Alice Raucher provided an overview of UVA’s sustainability goals. 

“The big goal of course is carbon neutrality by 2030 and fossil-fuel free by 2050,” said Alice Raucher, the University of Virginia architect. 

Read more

Youngkin administration outlines plan to leave cap-and-trade system

Governor Glenn Youngkin has renewed efforts to remove Virginia from an interstate compact intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Within an hour of taking office in January, Youngkin issued several executive orders including one seeking departure from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

However, the Republican governor was unable to leave without the General Assembly’s approval as party control is split across both Houses. Now, however, Youngkin’s appointees now have the edge on the seven-member State Air Pollution Control Board and he sent acting Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Boyles to outline the new plan to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

“RGGI is a bad deal for Virginia,” Voyles said. “Whether you agree with the framework and principles of a cap-and-trade system, the way RGGI has been implemented in Virginia does not work as an effective means for greenhouse gas reductions,” Voyles said. 

Read more

Spotted Lanternfly continues to menace Virginia as quarantine area expands

In February, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors were briefed on the threat posed by the Spotted Lanternfly, an insect that has come to North America from Asia. 

“It’s original territory is kind of China, southeast Asia, and it made its way over to the [United States] in 2014 and made its way hitchhiking,” said David Gianino, the program manager for the Office of Plant Industry Services for the Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services. 

Read more

Spinymussel returns to James River

A small invertebrate that scientifically goes by the name James River Spineymussel  has not been seen alive in the waterway its named for since the late 1960s. 

“We’re pretty confident that they’re extirpated from the main stem river and even if they’re still out there, they’re probably at such low levels that they’re not really biologically like they should,” said Brian Watson, a top biologist for freshwater mussels at the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

Read more

City awards Schenks’s Branch contract

The city of Charlottesville will hire a North Carolina based company to restore the streambank of a waterway that runs through McIntire Park. KBS Earthworks won the contract through a competitive bidding process. 

“The Schenks’ Branch Tributary Project consists of a construction of a priority II and priority III stream restoration to stabilize 818 linear feet of existing impaired stream,” reads the project description in the construction documents that KBS Earthworks will implement. 

Read more
« Older Entries