Category Archives: Laws&Regs

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.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for July 28–August 11, 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

8/4/14, 1 p.m.: Aquaculture Advisory Board. At Hampton Inn, Sunchase Boulevard in Farmville.

8/6/14, 9:30 a.m.: Soil and Water Conservation Board. At the Virginia Department of Forestry Board Room, 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.

*     *     *

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).

8/6/14, 10 a.m.: Joint Commission on Technology and Science. At the General Assembly Building, House Room D, in Richmond.

8/8/14, 10 a.m.: Coal and Energy Commission. At Wytheville Community College, Galax Building Rooms 201 and 202, 1000 East Main Street in Wytheville.

*     *     *

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.

7/29/14, 6 p.m., at Rocky Gap United Methodist Church, 12508 North Scenic Highway in Rocky Gap, on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in Dry Fork, Laurel Creek, and Wolf Creek (New River watershed) in Bland, Giles, and Tazewell counties.

*     *     *

MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Energy – Fossil Fuels
7/28/14, and 8/7/14, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. each date: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public listening sessions on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulation to cut carbon emissions (greenhouse gases) from existing power plants that generate electricity from fossil fuels. Locations: July 28 – Virginia Beach Public Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Boulevard; August 7 – Administration Board Room, Henrico County Government Center, 4301 East Parham Road in Henrico. Previous meetings were 7/22/14 in Wytheville and 7/24/14 in Alexandria.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice about this meeting: “Implementing [the proposed rules] …in the best way for Virginia will require the integrated efforts of DEQ, other state agencies involved in power generation, the regulated community, and the public.  Therefore, prior to taking any formal action, DEQ is seeking general input from the public on the best way for the Commonwealth to implement EPA’s plan as currently proposed.  Proposal information: EPA issued proposed emissions guidelines for the control of carbon dioxide (CO2) from existing power plants (79 FR 34830) and for modified and reconstructed power plants (79 FR 34960) on June 18, 2014.  The EPA comment period for these proposals is currently open, and will close on October 16, 2014.”  More information on the proposed rule is available from the EPA online at http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards.  The Virginia DEQ also has a Web site dedicated to regulations on greenhouse gases: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/GreenhouseGasPlan.aspx.

Forestry
8/11/14, 1 p.m.: Forest Products Tax Working Group.  At the Virginia Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.  According to the Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, “the Virginia Department of Taxation and the Virginia Department of Forestry have recently determined that some members of the forest products industry are using different methods to comply with their obligations under the Forest Products Tax laws.”  The departments plan to meet with industry representatives to gather information on the situation and discuss possible solutions.

Mining and Mined Land Reclamation
7/29/14, 9 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) Formal Hearing to review the Decision to Deny Application #1003841 for A & G Coal Corporation.  At the DMME office, 3405 Mountain Empire Road in Big Stone Gap.  The proposed mine site is located 0.8 miles west of Andover on Ison Rock Ridge (Powell River/Clinch River watershed) in Wise County.

Pesticides
7/28/14, 1 p.m.: Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services meeting.  At Virginia Tech’s Livestock Teaching Arena, 500 Plantation Road in Blacksburg.  The meeting will include consideration of regulations governing pesticide-applicator certification under the Virginia Pesticide Control Act (Virginia Administrative Code section 2 VAC 5-685.  More information on this regulation is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2843.

Solid or Hazardous Waste Management
7/30/14, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on a draft permit modification for the 623 Landfill, Inc., in Goochland County, regarding increasing the landfill’s size.  At Centerville Fire Station, 52 Broad Street in Manakin-Sabot.  The public comment period is 6/28/14 to 8/15/14.

State Parks
8/5/14, 6 p.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation meeting on updated Douthat State Park Master Plan.  At Douthat Highlands Conference Center, 14239 Douthat State Park Road in Millboro (Bath County).  Information on Virginia’s state parks is available online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/.

Waterworks Regulations
8/7/14, 9:30 a.m.: Department of Health Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting on development of possible amendments to the Waterworks Regulations (Section 12 VAC 5-590 in the Virginia Administrative Code).  At English Inn, 2000 Morton Drive in Charlottesville.

Virginia Water-related Goverment Meetings for July 21–August 4, 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

7/22/14, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission. At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

7/24/14, 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.

8/4/14, 1 p.m.: Aquaculture Advisory Board. At Hampton Inn, Sunchase Boulevard in Farmville.

*     *     *

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).

None during this period.

*     *     *

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.

7/23/14, 6 p.m., at the L.E. Smoot Memorial Library (Meeting Room A), 9533 Kings Highway in King George, on the TMDL plan for bacterial impairments in the Potomac River at Fairview Beach in King George County.

7/29/14, 6 p.m., at Rocky Gap United Methodist Church, 12508 North Scenic Highway in Rocky Gap, on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in Dry Fork, Laurel Creek, and Wolf Creek (New River watershed) in Bland, Giles, and Tazewell counties.

*     *     *

MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS

(topics listed alphabetically)

Energy – Fossil Fuels
7/22/14, 7/24/14, 7/28/14, and 8/7/14, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. each date: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public listening sessions on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulation to cut carbon emissions (greenhouse gases) from existing power plants that generate electricity from fossil fuels. Locations: July 22 – Snyder Auditorium, Wytheville Community College, 1000 East Main Street in Wytheville; July 24 – John Marshall Library, 6209 Rose Hill Drive in Alexandria; July 28 – Virginia Beach Public Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Boulevard; August 7 – Administration Board Room, Henrico County Government Center, 4301 East Parham Road in Henrico. According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice about this meeting: “Implementing [the proposed rules] …in the best way for Virginia will require the integrated efforts of DEQ, other state agencies involved in power generation, the regulated community, and the public. Therefore, prior to taking any formal action, DEQ is seeking general input from the public on the best way for the Commonwealth to implement EPA’s plan as currently proposed. Proposal information: EPA issued proposed emissions guidelines for the control of carbon dioxide (CO2) from existing power plants (79 FR 34830) and for modified and reconstructed power plants (79 FR 34960) on June 18, 2014. The EPA comment period for these proposals is currently open, and will close on October 16, 2014.” More information on the proposed rule is available from the EPA online at http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards. The Virginia DEQ also has a Web site dedicated to regulations on greenhouse gases: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/GreenhouseGasPlan.aspx.

7/23/14, 9 a.m.: Gas and Oil Regulatory Advisory Panel. At the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, One Partnership Circle in Abingdon. This panel, which first met on June 4, 2014, is assisting the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) in its regulation of practices and ingredients used in gas and oil well stimulation and completion. This includes the practices of hydraulic fracturing, in which fluids are added to gas/oil formations to facilitate remove of the gas or oil, and of horizontal drilling.  The pertinent section of the Virginia Administrative Code is 4 VAC 25 -150.  More information is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewAction.cfm?actionid=4117 and http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewStage.cfm?stageid=6829 (see, particularly, the “Agency Statement” PDF at the latter link). The DMME’s main Web site for Virginia gas and oil regulations is http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DMME/LawsRegs.shtml#gasoil.

Energy – Nuclear
7/23/14, 2 p.m.: Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority. At Virginia Commonwealth University, East Engineering Hall Room E3218, 401 West Main Street in Richmond.

Energy – Solar
7/22/14, 10 a.m.: Distributed Solar Generation and Net Metering Stakeholder Group. At the Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville. This group is advising the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Department of Environmental Quality in the study of the costs and benefits of distributed solar generation and net metering. These terms refer, respectively, to the generation of electricity by solar facilities on households, etc., and not owned or operated by electric-utility companies; and to the practice of utilities metering, and giving credit for, how much electricity such facilities generate and return to the conventional electrical-transmission grid.

Mining and Mined Land Reclamation
7/29/14, 9 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) Formal Hearing to review the Decision to Deny Application #1003841 for A & G Coal Corporation. At the DMME office, 3405 Mountain Empire Road in Big Stone Gap. The proposed mine site is located 0.8 miles west of Andover on Ison Rock Ridge (Powell River/Clinch River watershed) in Wise County.

Pesticides
7/28/14, 1 p.m.: Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services meeting. At Virginia Tech’s Livestock Teaching Arena, 500 Plantation Road in Blacksburg. The meeting will include consideration of regulations governing pesticide-applicator certification under the Virginia Pesticide Control Act (Virginia Administrative Code section 2 VAC 5-685. More information on this regulation is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2843.

Ports
7/22/14, 9 a.m., Port Authority Board of Commissioners will meet. at Virginia International the World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk. On 7/2/14, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the same location, the board’s Finance Committee and its Growth and Operations Committee will have three meetings, but each meeting will immediately go into closed session.

Scenic Rivers
7/23/14, 1 p.m.: Goose Creek Scenic River Advisory Board. At the Loudoun County Government Center in Leesburg.

Solid or Hazardous Waste Management
7/30/14, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on a draft permit modification for the 623 Landfill, Inc., in Goochland County, regarding increasing the landfill’s size. At Centerville Fire Station, 52 Broad Street in Manakin-Sabot. The public comment period is 6/28/14 to 8/15/14.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for July 14–July 28, 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

7/15/14, 10 a.m.: Sewage Handling and Disposal Advisory Committee. At the James Madison Building, 109 Governor Street in Richmond.

7/17/14, 10 a.m.: Waterworks Advisory Committee.  At Sydnor Hydro, 2111 Magnolia Street in Richmond.

7/22/14, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

7/24/14, 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.

*     *     *

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).

None during this period.

*     *     *

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.

7/23/14, 6 p.m., at the L. E. Smoot Memorial Library (Meeting Room A), 9533 Kings Highway in King George, on the TMDL plan for bacterial impairments in the Potomac River at Fairview Beach.

*     *     *

MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Biosolids (Treated Sewage Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
7/15/14, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Synagro Central, LLC, of Champlain, Va. to land-apply biosolids to 557 acres in Culpeper County.  At Germanna Community College, Daniel Technology Center, 18121 Technology Drive in Culpeper.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
7/22/14, July 247/28/14, August 7, all 5 p.m.-8 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public listening sessions on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulation to cut carbon emissions (greenhouse gases) from existing power plants that generate electricity from fossil fuels.
The meeting locations are as follows:
July 22, Wytheville – Snyder Auditorium, Wytheville Community College, 1000 East Main Street.
July 24, Alexandria – Meeting Room, John Marshall Library, 6209 Rose Hill Drive.
July 28, Virginia Beach – Public Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Boulevard.
August 7, Richmond area – Administration Board Room, Henrico County Government Center, 4301 East Parham Road in Henrico.
According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice about these meetings: “Implementing [the proposed rules] …in the best way for Virginia will require the integrated efforts of DEQ, other state agencies involved in power generation, the regulated community, and the public.  Therefore, prior to taking any formal action, DEQ is seeking general input from the public on the best way for the Commonwealth to implement EPA’s plan as currently proposed.  Proposal information: EPA issued proposed emissions guidelines for the control of carbon dioxide (CO2) from existing power plants (79 FR 34830) and for modified and reconstructed power plants (79 FR 34960) on June 18, 2014.  The EPA comment period for these proposals is currently open, and will close on October 16, 2014.”  More information on the proposed rule is available from the EPA online at http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards.  The Virginia DEQ also has a Web site dedicated to regulations on greenhouse gases: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/GreenhouseGasPlan.aspx.

Mining and Mined Land Reclamation
7/17/14, 10 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) Informal Public Conference on renewal application 1003090 for Dickenson Russell Coal Company.  At Southwest Virginia Technology Center, 141 Highland Drive in Lebanon.  The mine site is 2.2 miles north of South Clinchfield on Hurricane Fork (Clinch River watershed) in Russell County.

7/17/14, 10 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) Informal Public Conference on renewal application 1003091 for Dickenson Russell Coal Company.  At Southwest Virginia Technology Center, 141 Highland Drive in Lebanon.  The mine site is located on Dumps Creek near South Clinchfield in Russell County (Clinch River watershed).

Pesticides
7/28/14, 1 p.m.: Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services meeting.  At Virginia Tech’s Livestock Teaching Arena, 500 Plantation Road in Blacksburg.  The meeting will include consideration of regulations governing pesticide-applicator certification under the Virginia Pesticide Control Act (Virginia Administrative Code section 2 VAC 5-685.  More information on this regulation is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2843.

Resource Management Mapping and Planning
7/16/14, 10 a.m.: Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN) Advisory Board.  At 1751 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=8482.

Scenic Rivers
7/14/14, 4 p.m.: Catoctin Creek Scenic River Advisory Board.  At the Lovettsville Library, 12 North Light Street in Lovettsville (Loudoun County).

7/23/14, 1 p.m.: Goose Creek Scenic River Advisory Board.  At the Loudoun County Government Center in Leesburg.

Va. DEQ Public Listening Sessions in Summer 2014 on EPA Proposed CO2 Regulation on Existing Power Plants: July 22 in Wytheville; July 24 in Alexandria; July 28 in Virginia Beach; August 7 in Richmond

From July 24 to August 7, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold four public listening sessions on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulation to cut carbon emissions (greenhouse gases) from existing power plants that generate electricity from fossil fuels.

The meeting dates and locations are as follows (all are 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.):

July 22, Wytheville: Snyder Auditorium, Wytheville Community College, 1000 East Main Street.

July 24, Alexandria: Meeting Room, John Marshall Library, 6209 Rose Hill Drive.

July 28, Virginia Beach:  Auditorium, Virginia Beach Public Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd.

August 7, Richmond: Administration Board Room, Henrico County Government Center, 4301 East Parham Road, Henrico.

According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice about the meetings (click on meeting dates above to access that notice): “Implementing [the proposed rules] …in the best way for Virginia will require the integrated efforts of DEQ, other state agencies involved in power generation, the regulated community, and the public.  Therefore, prior to taking any formal action, DEQ is seeking general input from the public on the best way for the Commonwealth to implement EPA’s plan as currently proposed.  Proposal information: EPA issued proposed emissions guidelines for the control of carbon dioxide (CO2) from existing power plants (79 FR 34830) and for modified and reconstructed power plants (79 FR 34960) on June 18, 2014.  The EPA comment period for these proposals is currently open, and will close on October 16, 2014.”

More information on the proposed rule is available from the EPA online at http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards.  The Virginia DEQ also has a Web site dedicated to regulations on greenhouse gases: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/GreenhouseGasPlan.aspx.

Please also see this previous Water Central News Grouper item:
Carbon Emissions from Existing Power Plants to be Reduced by 30% Nationwide under Proposed Regulation Released by U.S. EPA on June 2, 2014; States Would Have Individually Set Reduction Targets, posted 6/3/14.

Operation Dry Water Aims to Reduce Boating Under Influence of Alcohol (BUI); June 27-29, 2014, Will Bring Increased Patrolling for BUI

Operation Dry Water, coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, is a national effort by law enforcement to reduce Boating Under the Influence (BUI), that is, boaters operating their vessels while under the influence of alcohol or other substances that can impair safe operation.  According to Operation Dry Water, alcohol is estimated to contribute to about 17 percent of boating accident fatalities nationwide.  In Virginia, it’s illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more.

Each summer, Operation Dry Water chooses one weekend for a special focus on BUI.  In 2014, on June 27-29, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) conservation police offices will join boating law enforcement officials in other states in having increased patrolling for BUI.

More information on the Operation Dry Water is available from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, online at http://operationdrywater.org/.  More information on boating and boating law in Virginia is available from the VDGIF, online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/, or phone the central office in Richmond at (804) 367-1000; local VDGIF offices are usually listed in the government pages of your local phone book.
ODWBanner-300x250pixels2014

Promotional poster provided by Operation Dry Water.

Hydraulic Fracturing and Other Gas/Oil Drilling Issues in Relation to Va.’s Regulations Under Review in 2014 by Va. Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy; Related News Headline Compilation

As of early June 2014, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) was conducting a 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.  June 4 was the first meeting of a Regulatory Advisory Board assembled to help DMME review and make recommendations about current regulations; information about that meeting is available from the Virginia Regulatory Townhall Web site, at this link: http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewMeeting.cfm?MeetingID=21509.

The DMME states in online information about the proposed regulation (see link below) that “hydraulic fracturing has been used safely inVirginia 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.   In addition, as of early 2014, Shore Oil and Exploration Corporation had 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).

Sources:
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.

Virginia Regulatory Town Hall information about the proposed regulatory action, available online 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).

Below are a collection of headlines from news articles about natural-gas drilling in Virginia, started December 2013.  The headlines are listed frommost recent to oldest; all hyperlinks to the actual article were functional as of the date(s) they were added to this post.  For news stories and information resources since 2011 on natural gas activities in the Marcellus shale region overall, please see the Water Central News Grouper items at this link: http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/category/marcellus/.

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.

Carbon Emissions from Existing Power Plants to be Reduced by 30% Nationwide under Proposed Regulation Released by U.S. EPA on June 2, 2014; States Would Have Individually Set Reduction Targets

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. EPA announced its proposed regulation to require existing power plants to reduce their emission of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds (often referred to as “greenhouse gases”) that contribute to global warming and climate change.  The proposed rule was published in the June 18, 2014, Federal Register, starting  on page 34829; the Web site for searching the Federal Register is https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/search.  From that publication date, the proposed regulation will undergo a 120-day public-comment period (deadline for comments is October 16, 2014).   The EPA intends to publish a final version, with responses to the public comments it receives, by June 2015.

According to the proposal, the regulation aims by 2030 to cut annual carbon emissions from the power sector by 26 to 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels; EPA also predicts that it would result in a “co-benefit” of a 25-percent or more cut in emissions of particles, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide, substances that have impacts on human health (such as asthma) and on water resources when they are deposited into water bodies.  The EPA’s news release on the proposal states that the regulation would be implemented “through a state-federal partnership under which states identify a path forward using either current or new electricity production and pollution control policies to meet the goals of the proposed program.”  Under the proposed rule, states would have individual emission-reduction levels (the approximately 30-percent level is for the nation as a whole; the individual state goals are given in Section VII of the proposed rule, starting on page 332.)  States would have until 2016 (with possible 1-2 year extensions) to submit to EPA their plans for implementing the regulation.  States would be allowed to “choose a mix of generation using diverse fuels, energy efficiency, and demand-side management to meet the goals and their own needs.”  States would be allowed to develop individual plans or to combine their plans with other states.

An interactive map of power-generating plants in the mid-Atlantic region (including Virginia)—allowing users to click on a location to see emissions of carbon dioxide and gases—is available from the EPA at http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/globclimate/r3pplants.html.

The proposed regulation on existing power plants follows EPA’s release in September 2013 (January 2014 publication in the Federal Register) of a proposed rule on carbon emissions from new power-generating sources; the public-comment period for that proposal ended May 9, 2014.

Sources: U.S. EPA, “Clean Power Proposed Rule,” online at http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/clean-power-plan-proposed-rule, accessed 6/3/14; and EPA Proposes First Guidelines to Cut Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants, U.S. EPA News Release, 6/2/14.

Here are some news accounts on the proposal and its possible economic, environmental, health, and political impacts:
New EPA rule seeks to cut carbon emissions 30% by 2030, Los Angeles Times, 6/1/14.
Obama Orders Pollution Cuts—But Timing Uncertain, Associated Press, as published by ABC News, 6/2/14.
EPA proposes cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants 30% by 2030, Washington Post, 6/2/14.
Everything you need to know about the EPA’s proposed rule on coal plants, Washington Post, 6/2/14.
Taking Page from Health Care Act, Obama Climate Plan Relies on States, New York Times, 6/2/14.
Dominion analyzes Obama power plant rules, Kingsport [Tenn.] Times News, 6/2/14.
[West Va. Gov.] Tomblin: ‘Our worst fears’; power companies studying it, Charleston Gazette, 6/2/14.
Latest EPA rules signal a bleaker future for coal, Arizona Republic [Phoenix], 6/2/14.
Carbon-cutting plan seen as historic, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/3/14.
Regulations’ impact on electric rates is unclear, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/3/14.
Obama climate rule promises early health benefits, Chicago Tribune, 6/3/14.

Proposed Amendments to Virginia Fish, Fishing, and Non-game Regulations Open for Public Comment May 12-June 20, 2014

Following is information from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) about proposed amendments to Virginia’s regulations on freshwater fish, fishing, and non-game wildlife.

On April 8, 2014, the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries proposed amendments to regulations governing freshwater fish, fishing, non-game wildlife (that is, wildlife that is not hunted, fished, or trapped), and boating.  The public comment period runs May 12–June 20, 2014.  At its July 8, 2014, meeting, the Board will consider the proposed amendments for possible adoption as final regulations.  Written comments on the proposed regulation amendments must include the commenter’s name, address, and telephone number and be received no later than June 20, 2014.  They may be submitted online at www.dgif.virginia.gov; e-mailed to regcomments@dgif.virginia.gov; or sent by regular mail to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, ATTN: Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator, 4016 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA  23230.

The pertinent sections of the Virginia Administrative Code (VAC) and the subjects of the proposed amendments are as follows:
4VAC15-20: Definitions of “wild animal,” “native animal,” “naturalized animal,” “nonnative (exotic) animal” and “domestic animal.”

4VAC15-30: Possession, importation, sale, etc., of wild animals.

4VAC15-320-25: Creel and length limits.

4VAC15-320-60: Approval required to stock fish into inland waters.

4VAC15-320-120: Special daily permit for fishing in Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Douthat State Park Lake and Crooked and Wilson Creeks.

4VAC15-320-150: Shooting certain fish in Clinch River in Scott County.

4VAC15-330-150: Trout fishing: Special provision applicable to Stewarts Creek Trout Management Area; certain portions of Dan, Rapidan, South Fork Holston and Staunton rivers, the East Fork of Chestnut Creek, Roaring Fork, North Creek, Spring Run, Venrick Run, Brumley Creek, and their tributaries.

4VAC15-340: Fish: Seines and Nets.

4VAC15-340-40: Dip nets; generally.

4VAC15-340-60: Seines, traps and nets prohibited in certain areas.

4VAC15-350-60: Trotlines, juglines or set poles.

4VAC15-360-10: Taking aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, and nongame fish for private use.

4VAC15-450-30: Commercial parasailing activities.

More information is available from VDGIF  online at https://www3.dgif.virginia.gov/web/comment-fnwb/display.asp.

Agriculture’s Connections to the Federal Clean Water Act Discussed in Detail in the Nov.-Dec. 2013 National Wetlands Newsletter

“Agriculture and the Clean Water Act,” in the Nov.-Dec. 2013 issue of National Wetlands Newsletter (pages 8-20), provides a detailed and well-referenced description of how the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) does and does not regulate agriculture.  The article is a chapter from Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Law (Environmental Law Institute, 2013).  Available by subscription from the Environmental Law Institute, 2000 L Street NW, Suite 620, Washington, D.C. 20036; phone (800) 433-5120; e-mail: orders@eli.org; Web site: http://www.wetlandsnewsletter.org/subscribe.cfm.  Or check your local public or university/college library to see if they have a copy.

Barn and Bridge over Middle River Mt Meridian Dec16 09

The Shenandoah Valley in Virginia is one area where agriculture’s connections to water quality receive great attention.  Shown here is a farm beside Middle River (a tributary of the South Fork Shenandoah River) near Mt. Meridian (Augusta County), Dec. 16, 2009.