by Tyler Arnold
Virginia awarded about $7.8 million in state grants for 19 local projects designed to address flooding, sea-level rise and extreme weather, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday.
Funding for the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund grants is provided through the sale of carbon emission allowances, which began when the state joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in January.
The initiative requires businesses to purchase a certain number of carbon emission allowances depending on how much carbon they emit. The number of carbon emissions allowed is reduced annually. About 45% of the revenues obtained through these sales goes toward the flood preparedness fund.
The fund was established by the General Assembly in 2020. The fund and the use of carbon sales are designed to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change concerns. The carbon trading program received support from Democratic leaders, but opposition from Republican leaders who expressed concern it would put burdens on businesses and the economy.
“Virginians have experienced the devastating effects of flooding over and over again,” Northam said in a statement. “Without strong investments in resiliency, we will continue to see more of the same. The Community Flood Preparedness Fund grants are so important because they will jumpstart projects in more than a dozen localities, including some that have been impacted by recent disasters.”
Some of the eligible projects for the grant money include planning and capacity building activities, flood prevention and protection studies and on-the-ground improvements to strengthen flood resilience, the governor’s office said. The program prioritizes nature-based solutions and requires at least one-fourth of the funds be used in regions with low income. Nearly 50% of the funding in this round of grants was used in these regions.
“The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation stands ready to assist applicants in any way possible,” Department of Conservation and Recreation Director Clyde Cristman said in a statement. “And, as we announce this initial award, we’ll continue to work with those whose proposals require additional information to further evaluate their projects. We want as many communities as possible to benefit from these funds.”
The second grant cycle closes Nov. 5.
– – –
Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.
Photo “observing waterways” by Governor of Virginia.