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Uranium mining, menhaden catch limits, Sunday hunting among conservation bills before General Assembly
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A hunting bill filed by Sen. Frank Ruff Jr., R-Clarksville, grabbed some headlines. It would prohibit use of a drone to monitor and photograph hunters on private property.
Each of the bills has been assigned to committees.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Virginia Conservation Network and Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club have weighed in about this session's crop of bills. Among their priorities: keeping the moratorium on uranium mining and milling in place and reducing the menhaden harvest.
Renewable energy, cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay and water quality are also on their radar, among other topics.
For example, in its most recent State of the Bay report, CBF said it will push for funding to upgrade municipal sewage treatment plants, controlling runoff and helping farmers with soil and water conservation practices.
One of VCN's goals is preserving the state's Land Preservation Tax Credit in its current form. One bill would let the tax credit, which has helped to preserve tens of thousands of acres, expire next year. The network, which represents 150 environmental, preservation and community organizations, is focusing its efforts on clean rivers, green communities and clean energy.
The Sierra Club supports renewable energy, preserving recreational access on rivers and streams, and transportation.
The legislature convened on Jan. 9 and is scheduled to adjourn on Feb. 23.
Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431
The General Assembly is considering dozens of conservation bills this session. Here's a sampling of what's on the table:
SB 1291--Reduces menhaden catch by 20 percent to bring catch in line with Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's mandate.
HB 1840--Reduces menhaden catch from 109,020 tons to 87,216 metric tons.
HB 1804--Sets a 3 percent state severance tax on gross receipts of any uranium mined in the state.
HB 1591--Bans the use of plastic carryout bags by retailers, unless the bags are durable, at least 2.25 millimeters thick, with handles and designed for multiple uses.
SB 202--Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to build or maintain an enclosure to pursue, hunt or kill a fox or coyote with dogs.
HB 2225--Allows Sunday hunting on private land with permission of the landowner.
SB 954--Prohibits use of a drone to monitor and photograph anyone lawfully hunting on private property.
SB 737--Opens rivers and streams in the state to vessels without motors, whether or not the waterway is considered navigable, or the adjoining banks are publicly or privately owned.Track the bills online at: leg1.state.va.us/