Category Archives: Laws&Regs

Potential Natural Gas Drilling and Transport in Virginia under Close Scrutiny in 2014

As of mid-October 2014, here’s an overview of recent developments regarding the extraction or transport of natural gas in Virginia.

DRILLING: The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) is continuing its process of reviewing the Commonwealth’s regulations on the hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling methods of extracting gas and oil from shales and other geologic formations.  September 24, 2014, was the date of the fifth and most recent (as of 10/15/14) meeting (the first was in June 2014) of a Regulatory Advisory Board assembled to help DMME review and make recommendations about current regulations; information about that panel is available at this link: http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DGO/RegulatoryAction.shtml.   DMME online information about the proposed regulation is available from Virginia Regulatory Town Hall at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewStage.cfm?stageid=6829; see particularly the “Agency Statement” link, which takes you to the 12/4/13 Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) describing the proposed action’s purpose, issues, and legal basis.  In that online information, the DMME states that “hydraulic fracturing has been used safely in Virginia since the 1960s, [but that] DMME believes expanding disclosure of ingredients used in well stimulation and completion is an appropriate and necessary safeguard for the citizens of the Commonwealth.  There is also a need to ensure that the regulation appropriately reflects current industry best practices, as the use of technology such as horizontal drilling has expanded considerably in recent years.”

As of mid-2014, natural-gas extraction in Virginia occurs only in the southwestern coalfields region.  But in 2010 to 2012, a gas-drilling operation was proposed in an area of Rockingham County that overlies the large Marcellus shale formation, the source of greatly expanded gas-drilling operations in recent years in the mid-Atlantic region, particularly in Pennsylvania and West Virginia; that proposal did not receive necessary local permits.   (For a compilation of news stories and information resources since 2011 on natural gas activities in the Marcellus shale region, please see the Water Central News Grouper items at this link: http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/category/marcellus/.)  Then, in 2013-14, Shore Oil and Exploration Corporation has acquired gas-drilling leases in five counties on Virginia’s Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula that overlie the Taylorsville basin formation.  And the U.S. Forest Service has been considering how to address natural-gas drilling in the current revision of the strategic plan for the George Washington National Forest, which covers a large area of western Virginia (information on the planning process for the GW National Forest is available online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/land/gwj/landmanagement).

PIPELINES FOR GAS TRANSPORT: Also in 2014, transport of natural gas through the Commonwealth has become a high-profile and controversial issue.  EQT Corporation of Pennsylvania and NextEra Energy of Florida  have proposed the “Mountain Valley Pipeline” from West Virginia to Pittsylvania County (exact route still being determined and subject to much public reaction and comment); Dominion Resources and several partners are proposing the Atlantic Coast gas pipeline from West Virginia through central Virginia to North Carolina; and Spectra Energy of Houston had been evaluating a proposal for a pipeline from Pennsylvania through central Virginia to North Carolina, but in August 2014 the company confirmed that it has suspended work on that proposal for now.  The EQT and Dominion, et al., proposals have received support from Va. Gov. Terry McCauliffe, but they are the subject of widespread public reaction, concern, and comment regarding their route and their connection to hydraulic fracturing and fossil-fuel use in general.

Sources for this post: Governor McAuliffe, Dominion CEO Tom Farrell and Virginia Natural Gas Chairman Hank Linginfelter to Announce Economic Impacts of Atlantic Coast Pipeline for Virginia, 9/2/14. Natural gas pipeline plan riles Floyd County, Roanoke Times, 8/14/14. Large crowd on hand for Nelson pipeline meeting; Spectra project on hold, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 8/12/14. Panel to review Virginia oil and gas regulations, Bay Journal, 6/3/14. With natural gas drilling possibly shifting to eastern Va., state looks anew at regulations, Associated Press, as published by Greenfield [Indiana] Daily Reporter, 5/31/14.

Additional news stories about natural-gas drilling or transport in Virginia, since December 2013 (from most recent to oldest; all hyperlinks were functional as of the date(s) they were added to this post, but they may not be at later times).

Pipeline opponents launch monitoring project [plan by Alleghany-Blue Ridge Alliance of groups in Virginia and West Virginia, for monitoring construction of proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, if it ultimately goes forward], Waynesboro News Virginian, 10/22/14.

Franklin County residents grill company officials about pipeline project [at 10/21/14 public meeting in Rocky Mount], Roanoke Times, 10/21/14.

Montgomery County supervisors comment on pipeline after hearing from large crowd, Roanoke Times, 10/15/14.

Petition drive against pipeline to go to McAuliffe, Waynesboro News-Virginian, 10/14/14 [petition drive by Augusta County, Va., Alliance].

Landowners state their case on fracking, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 10/11/14 [interviews with landowners—one each in Caroline, Essex, King George, King and Queen and Westmoreland counties in Virginia—who have agreed to lease property for natural gas wells].

New route for [Mountain Valley] gas pipeline avoids Floyd County, passes through Roanoke County, Roanoke Times, 10/7/14.

Partner in Mountain Valley Pipeline faces criminal charges in Pa., Roanoke Times, 10/6/14.

Opinion: Virginia must carefully consider fracking issues, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/2/14 [Virginia chapter of Sierra Club is advocating that Virginia not issue any new gas-drilling permits “until a Virginia-specific study has been completed and strong regulations addressing risks have been put in place”].

McAuliffe defends pipeline support at climate-change meeting, Washington Post, 9/10/14.

Anti-pipeline groups form coalition, Waynesboro News-Virginian, 9/11/14 [22 groups join to form Alleghany-Blue Ridge Alliance in opposition to Atlantic Coast Pipeline project].

Washington County supervisors vote 6-1 to allow natural gas drilling, Bristol Herald-Courier, 9/10/14.

Fracking takes center stage with panel at Rappahannock Community College in Warsaw, Northern Neck News, 9/4/14 [very detailed version of forum on natural gas].

Pipeline: pro and con, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/2/14 [Responses to Va. Gov. Terry McCauliffe’s announcement about Atlantic Coast Pipeline].

Natural gas pipeline plan riles Floyd County, Roanoke Times, 8/14/14.

Drilling company official says no rush on fracking [King George County, Va.]; Regional fracking discussion set Sep. 3 [at Rappahannock Community College in Warsaw, Va.], Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 8/9/14.

Drilling, fracking controversial for Va., Hampton Roads [Virginia Conservation Network public meeting on hydraulic fracturing in Virginia Beach], Daily Press, 7/30/14.

Webinar will detail fracking in Virginia [held online July 9, 2014, by Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, sponsored by Virginia Master Naturalist program], Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 7/7/14.

Fracking pros, cons debated, [at town-hall meeting, attended by some 160 people, at in King George County, Va., on 6/12/14. Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 6/13/14.

Advisory panel on fracking calls for full disclosure on chemicals, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 6/4/14.

Fracking workshop includes DEQ and DMME [workshop held 5/8/14 by VACO in Hanover County, Va.], Westmoreland News, 5/12/14

Local citizens tackle issue of fracking, Northern Neck News, 5/7/14.

Oil and gas leases in bay region spark debate, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/19/14.

State is revising drilling guidelines, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 3/21/14.

Potomac Watershed Roundtable Considers Fracking in the Taylorsville Basin, Bay Journal, 4/8/14.

Fracking worries arise at conservation forum in city, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 3/17/14.

Land trust may change policy on gas drilling, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 3/13/14.

“A lot of fear” about fracking, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 3/9/14.

Local officials dig into fracking, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 3/8/14.

Virginia tidewater fracking bill modified to increase oversight of fracking, but stops short of ban; SB 48 has moved from committee to full state senate with significant modifications, Bay Journal, 2/4/14.

Fracking in George Washington National Forest could threaten D.C. area drinking water, Washington Post, 2/1/14.

Proposed fracking in Virginia meets broad opposition, Associated Press, as published in Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/27/14.

[King George County] to study up on fracking issue, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 1/20/14.

Fracking prompts water worries, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 1/10/14.

Fracking impact weighed in area, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 12/12/13.

VA Tidewater communities educating themselves on fracking issues; Taylorsville Basin’s shale oil deposits raising interest, concerns, Bay Journal, 12/5/13.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Oct. 13–Oct. 27, 2014

For more information, click on underlined meeting dates. Click here for the Commonwealth Calendar listing of all government meetings open to the public, and here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall listing of all government meetings of a regulatory nature.

For other, non-governmental, events, please see the Water Central News Grouper post, Quick Guide to Virginia Water-related Events.

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

10/16/14, 9 a.m.: Board of Game and Inland Fisheries. At 4000 West Broad Street in Richmond.

10/16/14, 9 a.m.: Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

10/16/14, 1 p.m.: Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s Audit and Finance Committee. At 39 Garrett Street in Warrenton.

10/20/14, 11 a.m.: Land Conservation Foundation Board of Trustees. At Senate Room 3, Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

10/21/14, 9 a.m.: Gas and Oil Board. At the Russell County Office Building, 139 Highland Drive in Lebanon.

10/22/14, 9 a.m.: Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board. At the Perimeter Center, Training Rooms 1A, 1B, & 1C, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

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MEETINGS OF LEGISLATIVE BODIES

For meetings of legislative committees and commissions during General Assembly sessions (regular and special), see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?142+oth+MTG; use the drop-down menu on the left to pick the session of interest (current or past).

10/20/14, 1 p.m.: the Joint Commission on Technology and Science’s Identity Management Advisory Committee; in the 3rd Floor East Conference Room, General Assembly Building in Richmond. On 10/22/14, 10 a.m., the full Commission meets in House Room D, General Assembly Building in Richmond.

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MEETINGS ABOUT TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS (or TMDLs) for IMPAIRED WATERS

For more information about TMDLs in Virginia, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site; click on “Public Notices” in the menu to the left to access upcoming meetings and public-comment periods. A search tool to find approved TMDL reports is available at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/TMDL/TMDLDevelopment/ApprovedTMDLReports.aspx.

10/22/14, 5:30 p.m.: On the TMDL implementation plan for bacterial impairments in the Poquoson River, Back River, and several tributaries, in the Chesapeake Bay watershed in York County and the cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Poquoson

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Biosolids (Treated Wastewater Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
10/23/14, 7 p.m.: On the permit application by Synagro Central, LLC, of Champlain, Va., to land-apply industrial residuals on up to 16,042 acres in Goochland, King & Queen, King William, New Kent, Prince George, and Surry counties. At the Department of Environmental Quality’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen. The comment period runs 9/17/14 to 11/7/14 and is a new comment period for the draft permit. Previous public-comment periods ran 12/23/13 to 1/31/14 and 3/5/14 to 4/25/14, and previous public hearings were held 4/9/14 and 4/10/14.

Chesapeake Bay Multi-state Agreement
10/20/14, 9 a.m.: Secretary of Natural Resources Chesapeake Bay Stakeholder Advisory Group. At the Patrick Henry Building, East Reading Room, 1111 E. Broad Street in Richmond. This is the first meeting this stakeholder group organized to advise the Virginia secretary of natural resources on issues related to Virginia’s participation in the multi-state Chesapeake Bay Program. Information on that program is available online at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/chesapeakebaywatershedagreement/page.

Fort Monroe
10/16/14, 1 p.m.: Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees; at 490 Fenwick Road in Fort Monroe. In 2011, the Virginia General Assembly (Senate Bill 1400) established the Fort Monroe Authority to manage the historic areas of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort—at the confluence of Hampton Roads with the Chesapeake Bay—after the federal government closed its military facilities there. Fort Monroe had been a U.S. military base since 1836. In 2011, the area was designated as Fort Monroe National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/fomr/index.htm). More information about Fort Monroe and the Authority is available online at http://www.fmauthority.com/.

Mining and Mined Land Reclamation
10/16/14, 7 p.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) public hearing on the permit application by Luck Stone for a new quarry located near Farmville (Prince Edward County). At the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors meeting room, 111 South Street in Farmville.

River Basin Advisory Committees and Commissions
10/23/14, 9:30 a.m.: Roanoke River Basin Advisory Committee. At the Charles R. Hawkins Research Center, 230 Slayton Avenue in Danville.

Solid or Hazardous Waste Management
10/14/14, 1 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stakeholder-input meeting to receive comment on the crushing of fluorescent lights/mercury-containing lamps under the Universal Waste (UW) provisions of the Virginia Hazardous Waste Management Regulations (9 VAC 20-6-273 in the Virginia Administrative Code). At the DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen. More information on the regulation of fluorescent lights/mercury-containing lamps can be found on the DEQ Web site at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Land/fluorescentlight1.pdf; background information about use of fluorescent lights is available from the DEQ online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/PollutionPrevention/MercuryReduction/Fluorescents.aspx.

Water Quality Regulations and Standards
10/15/14, 9:30 a.m.: Advisory Group on the Virginia Water Protection Permit (VWP) Regulation and VWP General Permit Regulations. At the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen. The advisory group is assisting the DEQ and State Water Control Board in development of possible amendments to these regulations, specifically the following Virginia Administrative Code sections and subjects 9 VAC 25-210: Virginia Water Protection Permit Regulation; 9 VAC 25-660: General Permit for Impacts Less Than One-Half Acre; 9 VAC 25-670: General Permit for Facilities and Activities of Utility and Public Service Companies Regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the State Corporation Commission and Other Utility Line Activities; 9 VAC 25-680: General Permit for Linear Transportation Projects; 9 VAC 25-690: General Permit for Impacts from Development Activities. The Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) was published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on June 2, 2014. More information about the proposed regulatory actions is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1893.

Waterworks Regulations
10/16/14, 9:30 a.m., Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Regulatory Advisory Panel on Waterworks Regulations (12 VAC 5-590 in the Virginia Administrative Code). At English Inn, 2000 Morton Drive in Charlottesville.

 

Large Industrial Sludge Land-application Permit in Several Virginia Counties is Subject of October 23, 2014, Public Hearing; SWCB Consideration Expected in December 2014

On October 23, 2014, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the State Water Control Board will hold a public hearing on the permit application by Synagro, LLC (headquartered in Baltimore, Md.; online at http://www.synagro.com) to land-apply residual solid materials from industrial wastewater treatment to about 16,042 acres of farmland in Goochland, King & Queen, King William, New Kent, Prince George, and Surry counties.  The material would come from area hog-processing, poultry-processing, and paper-processing plants.

Information on the October 23 public hearing, which will be held at the DEQ’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen, is available from the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewMeeting.cfm?MeetingID=21970.

The permit application has been controversial in the affected counties and has undergone an extended public-comment process.  The current comment period runs 9/17/14 to 11/7/14 and follows two previous comment periods (12/23/13 to 1/31/14; and 3/5/14 to 4/25/14) and two previous public hearings (4/9/14 and 4/10/14).  The State Water Control Board is tentatively scheduled to consider the application during its December 2014 quarterly meeting.

Below are hyperlinked headlines to several news items on this proposal.

Farmers in Prince George are pro-Synagro, Petersburg Progress-Index, 10/14/14.

Delegate [Christopher K. Peace, R-97] addresses DEQ regarding sludge application, The Mechanicsville Local, 9/17/14.

Hanover Board of Supervisors sends letter opposing sludge
, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/16/14.

The Virginia DEQ failed to provide notification to local counties about industrial sludge, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/9/14.

Industrial sludge application pulled [in Hanover County], Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/27/14.

Sludge: Risk Or Resource?, Water Online, 8/27/14.

New Kent supervisors vote to send letter opposing DEQ permit for Synagro, New Kent-Charles City Chronicle, 8/12/14.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Oct. 6–Oct. 20, 2014

For more information, click on underlined meeting dates. Click here for the Commonwealth Calendar listing of all government meetings open to the public, and here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall listing of all government meetings of a regulatory nature.

For other, non-governmental, events, please see the Water Central News Grouper post, Quick Guide to Virginia Water-related Events.

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

10/16/14, 9 a.m.: Board of Game and Inland Fisheries. At 4000 West Broad Street in Richmond.

10/16/14, 9 a.m.: Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

10/20/14, 11 a.m.: Land Conservation Foundation Board of Trustees. At Senate Room 3, Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

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MEETINGS OF LEGISLATIVE BODIES

For meetings of legislative committees and commissions during General Assembly sessions (regular and special), see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?142+oth+MTG; use the drop-down menu on the left to pick the session of interest (current or past).

10/7/14, 10 a.m.: Joint Commission on Technology and Science’s Higher Education Equipment Advisory Committee; at George Mason University’s Prince William Campus, 110A Beacon Hall, 10900 University Boulevard in Manassas. On 10/20/14, 1 p.m.: the Commission’s Identity Management Advisory Committee meets, 3rd Floor East Conference Room, General Assembly Building in Richmond.

10/8/14, 1 p.m. (continuing 10/9/14/): House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Retreat. At Natural Bridge Hotel and Conference Center, 15 Appledore Lane in Natural Bridge.

 *     *     *

MEETINGS ABOUT TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS (or TMDLs) for IMPAIRED WATERS

For more information about TMDLs in Virginia, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site; click on “Public Notices” in the menu to the left to access upcoming meetings and public-comment periods. A search tool to find approved TMDL reports is available at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/TMDL/TMDLDevelopment/ApprovedTMDLReports.aspx.

10/7/14, 6 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for aquatic life (streambed sediment) and bacteria impairments in Crab Creek, in the New River watershed in Montgomery County. At the Town Hall Building, 100 East Main Street in Christiansburg.

*     *     *

MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Biosolids (Treated Sewage Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
10/8/14, 5 p.m.: On the permit application by Synagro Central, LLC, of Champlain, Va., to land-apply biosolids to 3686 acres in Nottoway County. At the Town Library, 400 Tyler Street in Crewe.

Fort Monroe
10/9/14, 1 p.m.: Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee; at 151 Bernard Road in Fort Monroe. 10/16/14, 1 p.m.: full Board of Trustees; at 490 Fenwick Road in Fort Monroe.  In 2011, the Virginia General Assembly (Senate Bill 1400) established the Fort Monroe Authority to manage the historic areas of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort—at the confluence of Hampton Roads with the Chesapeake Bay—after the federal government closed its military facilities there. Fort Monroe had been a U.S. military base since 1836. In 2011, the area was designated as Fort Monroe National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/fomr/index.htm). More information about Fort Monroe and the Authority is available online at http://www.fmauthority.com/.

Mining and Mined Land Reclamation
10/16/14, 7 p.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) public hearing on the permit application by Luck Stone for a new quarry located near Farmville (Prince Edward County). At the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors meeting room, 111 South Street in Farmville.

Resource Management Mapping and Planning
10/8/14, 10 a.m.: Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN) Advisory Board. At 11751 Meadowville Lane in Chester. VGIN was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1997 to help support the creation, development, and use of geographic information and related technology for state and local government agencies, colleges and universities, and other Commonwealth users of maps and geographic information. It’s coordinated by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA). More information is available online at http://www.vita.virginia.gov/isp/default.aspx?id=12108.

Solid or Hazardous Waste Management
10/14/14, 1 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stakeholder-input meeting to receive comment on the crushing of fluorescent lights/mercury-containing lamps under the Universal Waste (UW) provisions of the Virginia Hazardous Waste Management Regulations (9 VAC 20-6-273 in the Virginia Administrative Code). At the DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen. More information on the regulation of fluorescent lights/mercury-containing lamps can be found on the DEQ Web site at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Land/fluorescentlight1.pdf; background information about use of fluorescent lights is available from the DEQ online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/PollutionPrevention/MercuryReduction/Fluorescents.aspx.

Water Quality Regulations and Standards
10/6/14, 9:30 a.m., and 10/15/14, 9:30 a.m.: Advisory Group on the Virginia Water Protection Permit (VWP) Regulation and VWP General Permit Regulations. At the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen. The advisory group is assisting the DEQ and State Water Control Board in development of possible amendments to these regulations, specifically the following Virginia Administrative Code sections and subjects 9 VAC 25-210: Virginia Water Protection Permit Regulation; 9 VAC 25-660: General Permit for Impacts Less Than One-Half Acre; 9 VAC 25-670: General Permit for Facilities and Activities of Utility and Public Service Companies Regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the State Corporation Commission and Other Utility Line Activities; 9 VAC 25-680: General Permit for Linear Transportation Projects; 9 VAC 25-690: General Permit for Impacts from Development Activities. The Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) was published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on June 2, 2014. More information about the proposed regulatory actions is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1893.

Waterworks Regulations
10/9/14, 10:30 a.m.: VDH Regulatory Advisory Panel work group #2 considering proposed amendments pertaining to Section 460 of the Waterworks Regulations (12 VAC 5-590 in the Virginia Administrative Code), regarding classification and operation of waterworks. This event is an online conference. Also, on 10/10/14, 8:30 a.m., VDH is holding an online conference for the work group #3 considering proposed amendments to regulations concerning cross connection control and backflow prevention. On 10/16/14, 9:30 a.m., the full Regulatory Advisory Panel on Waterworks Regulations meets at English Inn, 2000 Morton Drive in Charlottesville.

Water in Virginia State Government News Releases for Sep. 4-Sep. 12, 2014: State Parks Funding, Hurricane Preparedness, Bear Creek State Park, Agroforestry, Tree Seedling Sales, James River Shellfishing Closure, Summer Flounder, Shellfishing Training

Following are titles and short excerpts from water-related Virginia state government news releases between September 4 and September 12, 2014.  To access the full text of any release, click on the respective agency name to go to that agency’s archive of releases.

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
Governor McAuliffe Celebrates New Initiative to Support State Parks,” 9/9/14.  Excerpt: “Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe hosted a strategic planning session today in Richmond for the Partnership for Parks campaign founded by the Virginia Association for Parks and the Garden Club of Virginia.  The Partnership for Parks was formed to raise private funding to design, build, and install new interpretive exhibits in more than a dozen state park visitor centers.  The partners recognize that the goal of exhibits is to educate, entertain and inspire park visitors. More than 30 people from across the Commonwealth came to Richmond to chart a strategic plan for completing this effort by the year 2020.  More than $5 million will be needed for the campaign.”

Governor McAuliffe Announces Improvements to Commonwealth Hurricane Preparedness; Hurricane evacuation timeline adjusted to allow officials more time to make decisions and carry out emergency plans,” 9/4/14.  Excerpt: “Governor Terry McAuliffe released a report today outlining improvements to Virginia’s hurricane preparedness plan, including an adjustment to the evacuation decision-making timeline. The hurricane in-season review, led by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia Department of Transportation, focused on five critical areas: coordination and information-sharing between state and local emergency officials, evacuation of impacted areas, sheltering evacuees, assistance to those with access and functional needs or without transportation, and communicating with the public.”

DEPT. OF CONSERVATION AND RECREATION
Bear Creek Lake State Park master plan to be discussed Sept. 24,” Excerpt: Public meeting 9/24/14, 6 p.m., at the park, 22 Bear Creek Lake Road in Cumberland.

DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
None this week.

DEPT. OF FORESTRY
Fields, pastures, creek sides…. AND TREES,” 9/10/14.  Excerpt: “Come find out about agroforestry in a day-long workshop focused on two particular practices, riparian buffers and silvopastures. …This workshop will be held on November 8th from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at Lord Fairfax Community College’s Fauquier Campus.”

Tree Seedling Sales for the 2014-15 Season,” 9/11/14.  Excerpt: “Officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) announced that demand for its loblolly pine seedlings is very high this season and the agency anticipates that some or all families will sell out early. Customers interested in VDOF’s specialty seedlings are advised to setup an account and plan to purchase when the online store opens October 13 at 10:00 a.m.”

DEPT. OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIES
None this week.

DEPT. OF HEALTH
Virginia Department of Health Closes a Portion of the James River to Shellfish Harvesting,” 9/9/14.  Excerpt: “The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced [on September 9, 2014] a portion of the James River will be closed to shellfish harvesting due to flooding and contamination from sewage spills. The emergency closure is effective September 9 – 30, 2014, and is scheduled to reopen effective October 1, 2014. The Division of Shellfish Sanitation will monitor the shellfish during this period to determine if the area can be reopened sooner.”

DEPT. OF MINES, MINERALS AND ENERGY
None this week.

MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION
Summer Flounder Amendment Scoping Hearings,” 9/5/14.  Excerpt: “The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have scheduled a series of scoping hearings to gather public input on the range of issues and information to be considered in the Comprehensive Summer Flounder Amendment.” The Virginia hearing will be held on Tuesday, 10/14/14, 6 p.m., at the VMRC main office, 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

New Shellfish training dates announced,” 9/4/14.  Excerpt: “The National Shellfish Sanitation Program guidelines now require training and education programs for all shellfish harvesters and certified dealers. Completion of the training is a pre-requisite for licensing.”

Geographic Information Systems’ Value to Virginia Localities Described in July 28, 2014, Richmond Times-Dispatch Article; Plus “Geography on the Web” from Va. Tech Department of Geography

GIS a crucial tool for localities,” published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on July 28, 2014, describes various uses by Virginia’s local governments of computerized mapping and geographic data management technology, known as geographic information systems or GIS.  The article is available online at this link: http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/henrico/gis-a-crucial-tool-for-localities/article_35a68546-8d45-5ffd-babc-4cc643bd1dcf.html; or contact the newspaper at 300 East Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23219; phone (804) 649-6000; e-mail: content@timesdispatch.com.

For a list of many sources of information about geography and GIS, see “Geography on the Web,” Virginia Tech Geography Department, online at http://geography.vt.edu/geog_on_web/geogonweb.htm.

Proposed New Regulations on Safety of Rail Transport of Crude Oil and Other Flammable Materials Announced July 23, 2014, by U.S. Dept. of Transportation

On July 23, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation/Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced new proposed regulations for improving the safety of rail transport of flammable materials, particularly crude oil and ethanol.  Since 2012, the Department of Transportation had been studying possible changes to this area of regulations, but the issue took on more public urgency following the April 30, 2014, derailment in Lynchburg of a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota to Norfolk (which lead to an explosion and fire in the city’s downtown and resulted in three cars falling into the James River), as well as other recent (and even more serious) incidents.  The proposed regulations cover these areas particularly:
Defining the term “high-hazard flammable train” (HHFT);
Better classification and characterization of mined gases and liquids;
Rail routing risk assessment;
Notification to State Emergency Response Commissions;
Reduced operating speeds;
Enhanced braking; and
Enhanced standards for both new and existing tank cars.

Access to the complete documents on the proposed regulations are available online at http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/osd/chronology.  The proposal will undergo a 60-day public comment period, beginning when the proposal is published in the Federal Register.  The news release on the Dept. of Transportation proposal recommended that people wishing to comment online use this Web site: http://www.regulations.gov/#!home.

Source: U.S. DOT Announces Comprehensive Proposed Rulemaking for the Safe Transportation of Crude Oil, Flammable Materials, U.S. Department of Transportation News Release, 7/23/14.