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Statement: Virginia legislature passes vote to ban intentional balloon releases

For Immediate Release

Richmond, VA -- Today, the Virginia Senate voted 22 to 17 to pass Del. Nancy Guy’s bill (HB2159) to ban the intentional release of balloons. Currently it is legal to release 49 balloons per person, per hour in Virginia. Balloons are one of the most common types of litter found on Virginia’s coastline and poise significant danger to wildlife. 

The bill passed the House of Delegates in January and with the Senate’s positive vote, HB2159 will now head to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk for action.

Elly Boehmer, state director of Environment Virginia issued the following statement: 

Whether you are driving down a country road in rural Virginia, kayaking down the James River or walking through a city park, you have seen the impacts of plastic pollution. Balloon releases are organized litter events that have a devastating impact on our wildlife. HB 2159 ensures balloons are treated as the dangerous litter that they are. 

In passing this bill, Virginia sends a strong message that we value our special places. Virginia’s waterways and wildlife are among the Commonwealth’s best assets and by taking action on this dangerous single use plastic, our leaders have chosen to put the planet over plastic. 

We thank Del. Guy for championing this bill for the past two years and Senator Jen Kiggans for her ongoing advocacy on this issue as well. We excited the Virginia General Assembly voted to put wildlife over waste and move this bill to Gov. Northam’s desk.