Congresswoman Luria Recaps Efforts to Protect the Environment

January 7, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Over the past year, Congresswoman Luria has fiercely advocated for Coastal Virginia’s environment by fighting for several legislative initiatives such as the health of the Chesapeake Bay and common-sense initiatives for addressing coastal resiliency.  

Congresswoman Luria fought to fully fund the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Chesapeake Bay Program. This program coordinates data collection and distributes grants to states for Bay restoration efforts. The Chesapeake Bay Program ensures that states get the resources they need to comply with their obligations to protect and preserve the Chesapeake Bay. In an appropriations bill last month, Congresswoman Luria secured $85 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program due to her advocacy. This is a $12 million increase from the previous fiscal year and is the highest level of funding that the program has received. In addition, Congresswoman Luria’s Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization Act advanced out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in September. This bipartisan bill would authorize an injection of $455 million into the Chesapeake Bay Program over the next five years.

“The Chesapeake Bay is a beautiful recreational and economic resource that we need to protect for future generations,” Congresswoman Luria said. “It is an honor to lead efforts to stand up for one of North America’s greatest natural resources and I will continue to work across party lines to ensure that we restore and keep the Chesapeake Bay clean.”

As a New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force Co-Chair, Congresswoman Elaine Luria helped release policy principles to combat climate change with the seriousness and urgency it demands. These principles seek to find common sense solutions to tackle climate change and to leverage America’s powerful economy to produce environmentally friendly technologies. For a full list of the principles, please click here.

Citing the risks posed by offshore drilling, Congresswoman Luria has championed efforts to ban the practice. The first bill that Congresswoman Luria co-led was the Defend Our Coast Act. This bipartisan bill would specifically forbid any drilling, exploration, development, or production of fossil fuels off the Continental Shelf in the mid-Atlantic region.

“Offshore drilling is a direct threat to our national security, local economy, and coastal environment” Congresswoman Luria said. “As a 20-year Navy veteran, I know that dodging oil platforms during exercises could prove costly and dangerous to our military readiness and national security. I also know that an oil spill would put our beautiful shorelines, tourism industry, and aquaculture industry at risk.”

Since then, Congresswoman Luria has remained firm supporter of legislation to ban offshore drilling. She spoke on the House Floor in support of Congressman Frank Pallone’s (NJ-06) amendment on a spending bill that would prohibit federal money from being used for offshore drilling throughout the entire Atlantic Ocean. Most recently, Congresswoman Luria voted for Congressman Joe Cunningham’s (SC-01) Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, which would permanently ban offshore gas and oil drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Congresswoman Luria served as a cosponsor of the Climate Action Now Act (H.R. 9). This bill would prevent any federal funds from being used to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. In addition, it would call upon the President to develop and make a plan for the United States to meet pollution reduction goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.

“Here in Coastal Virginia, the challenges of frequent flooding and sea level rise are getting significantly worse over time,” Congresswoman Luria said. “These are clear and present threats to our environment, infrastructure, and national security in my district and across the country. To create a more sustainable future and to better bolster our national security interests, we must treat the challenge of climate change with the seriousness it deserves.”

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.