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Still, environmentalists have praised the governor for his other environmental efforts in Virginia and to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Last week, Mr. McDonnell signed eight “environmental stewardship” bills, some of which were designed to enhance the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. One would eliminate the use of phosphorous in lawn maintenance fertilizer starting on Dec. 31, 2013, a measure that Ann Jennings, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, called “a good, positive step forward.”

“The governor did, early on in his administration, did indicate that restoring the Chesapeake Bay would be a priority,” she said. “We’re optimistic and pleased with the progress thus far.”

Richmond also served as host of the Chesapeake Executive Council’s annual meeting in July; attendees included Mr. McDonnell, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

The Environmental Protection Agency last year announced a sweeping plan to gradually reduce the amount of pollutants that run into the Chesapeake Bay, requiring the District and six states, including Virginia, to submit plans to reduce pollution runoff into the Bay by 2025. The state submitted a revised $7 billion plan last November after environmentalists criticized the first draft of the plan.