200 Conservationists Join VCN’s Largest Lobby Day Yet!

We are proud to report that on Monday, January 23rd, Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) hosted its largest Conservation Lobby Day in recent history. Over 200 conservation organizations and activists from across the Commonwealth joined together in Richmond to hold nearly 100 meetings with their state legislators and urge them to support environmental policy advancements.

Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam addresses Virginia’s conservation community to kick off VCN’s 2017 Conservation Lobby Day.

Bi-Partisan Group of Elected Officials & 3 Gubernatorial Candidates Kicked off the Event

Despite the rain and early start time, Parish Hall at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was completely filled when the event began at 8:00 a.m. on Monday—every seat was occupied and the walls were lined with engaged citizens eager to bring their conservation stories and concerns to the Virginia General Assembly Building.
A bi-partisan lineup of speakers kicked off the event including three candidates for Governor:
  • The Honorable Scott Lingamfelter, Virginia House of Delegates (R – 31st District)
  • The Honorable Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
  • The Honorable Tom Perriello, Former Virginia Member of Congress (5th District)
  • The Honorable Frank Wagner, Virginia State Senate (R – 7th District)
  • The Honorable Alfonso Lopez, House of Delegates (D – 49th District)

Advocates Briefed Attendees on Priority Bills via Sunday Webinar & Issue One-Pagers

After their remarks, Conservation Lobby Day participants headed to the General Assembly Building to speak with their representatives. They shared one-page factsheets, created by VCN’s staff and Legislative Committee, highlighting priority bills in each of our issue areas. You can download the sheets here: Healthy RiversClean EnergyGreen Communities, and Good Government.
Priority Issues Included:
  • Keeping our drinking water and rivers clean by updating storage for toxic coal ash and preventing the oil and gas industry from hiding what chemicals they use.
  • Cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay watershed by fighting for full funding for critical land and water programs and preventing rollbacks to the Chesapeake Bay Act.
  • Working to harness the power of the sun through community solar programs.
  • Protecting our landscapes by fully funding programs such as the Land Preservation Tax Credit.
  • Ensuring the development of new roads doesn’t skirt environmental and planning reviews.
  • Reforming our redistricting process by working to ensure voters pick their legislators – not the other way around.
Attendees prepped for their meetings by joining a webinar lead by VCN Partners on Sunday, January 22nd. We recorded the webinar — you can download it here.

 

Nearly 100 Meetings Held with State Legislators

Due to the mass of other Virginians also trying to see their legislators, most participants had to stand in line for an hour and a half in the rain, waiting to get into the building—but that did not stop them. In fact, many participants reported upon their return to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church that they felt empowered after observing just how many people from across the Commonwealth were joining together in Richmond to push their initiatives on their elected officials. Nearly 100 meetings were held with legislators and aides.

Teachers and students from Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville traveled to Conservation Lobby Day for their third year in a row to discuss environmental concerns with their legislators.

Ditch Dirty Fuels! Rally

After lobby visits, participants returned to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club’s Ditch Dirty Fuels! rally. During the rally, activists demanded that all Virginians have clean water, clean air, and accessible clean energy. The Honorable Delegate Mark Keam spoke at the event.

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