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Commonwealth's Counties

Bill providing local authority to restrict nutrient credit usage continued to 2021

A bill introduced by Delegate Wendy Gooditis seeking to authorize local governments to restrict nutrient credit usage in their localities has been continued to the 2021 legislative session.

HB 1464 (Gooditis) sought to authorize the governing body of any locality, by ordinance, to restrict the total nutrient credits that are generated in the locality and used in an adjacent eight-digit hydrologic unit code or fourth order subbasin to comply with stormwater nonpoint nutrient runoff water quality criteria.  Put more simply, the bill was an attempt to give a local government more control over nutrient credit usage to help localities limit the amount of land that is used for nutrient credits in an effort to preserve their more rural or agricultural nature.  The bill was introduced by Delegate Gooditis to help Clarke County, who has recently seen hundreds of acres of land converted to “nutrient credits.”

HB 1464 was heard by the Chesapeake Subcommittee of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee.  After lengthy discussion about local government rights to preserve a locality’s distinct character, individual property owner’s rights, and the state of the nutrient credit trading industry, ultimately the Subcommittee agreed to delay action on the bill during this session and instead continue working on it in 2021.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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