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Friday, October 14, 2011

Kory's Report from Richmond: Keep Virginia involved in watershed efforts

An open letter to Gov. McDonnell: Don’t endanger our water supply

Dear Governor:

I urge you to cancel your short-sighted plans to withdraw Virginia from the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB).

Virginia has benefitted greatly from its 70-year membership in this commission. I seriously doubt that our Commonwealth would have accomplished on its own what it has achieved as a commission member—activities ranging from pollution monitoring to shad restoration. 

The money saved in commission dues, about $150,000 annually, is truly a pittance compared with what we receive as a commission member: research and long-range planning aimed at keeping the Potomac a vibrant and healthy resource, a resource upon which more than one-fifth of Virginia’s residents depend.

The planning for the region's long-term water requirements, the monitoring and coordination of the regional supply of usable water to Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland are functions that Virginia cannot perform alone.

All this cooperative work would be jeopardized were Virginia to withdraw from the ICPRB. Virginia has been a mainstay of support for the ICPRB since its inception in 1940, largely because it alone has nearly 40 percent of the river’s total drainage area. Therefore, it is uncertain whether the commission could continue to exist without Virginia’s membership. Certainly the co-operative water sharing covenant operative in times of drought would not continue.

Finally, I firmly believe that because some potential uranium mining sites would drain into the Occoquan and on into the Potomac, we should be seeking, not discarding, the technical capabilities and expertise available through the ICPRB as we face this vitally important environmental question in the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

Del. Kaye Kory
38th District

Note: Kory plans to draft legislation reinstating Virginia’s membership in the ICPRB, but says “but most importantly, your comments in emails and letters to me, the governor, and your state legislators will make the difference.”

The public is invited to a meeting Kory has convened on this issue Oct. 25, 7 p.m. at the Fairfax County Water Authority, 8570  Executive Park Ave., Fairfax 22031.

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