Category Archives: 2017 Virginia General Assembly

Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly: Nutrient Credits

This is one of a series of posts on particular water-related bills in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.  For an inventory of about 165 water-related bills in the 2017 General Assembly, please visit the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  Each post includes a summary of the bill(s), their legislative status (in committee, passed, failed, etc.), and a list of hyperlinked headlines for news media items on the bill(s).  Information on the bill’s provisions and status is taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.  The bill number is hyperlinked to the LIS entry for that bill.

HB 2311Nutrient Offset Fund; additional stipulations for the purchase and sale of credits.  This bill, sponsored by Del. M. Kirkland Cox (R-66th District), of Colonial Heights, passed the House on January 23 and as of February 16 had been reported from the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources (ACNR) Committee.  As passed by the House, the bill does the following (quotations are from the House-passed bill’s text):

Renames nutrient “offsets” as nutrient “credits…that achieve equivalent point or nonpoint source reductions in the same tributary beyond those reductions already required by or funded under federal or state law or the Watershed Implementation Plan prepared for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load pursuant to § 2.2-218.”

Continues to allow the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) director to enter into contracts to acquire such credits using the Nutrient Offset Subfund; removes the priority given to nutrient offsets produced from facilities that generate electricity from animal waste; and adds a new requirement that credits in the Nutrient Offset Subfund be listed in a registry maintained by the DEQ.

Adds a new provision that the DEQ “shall establish a procedure to govern the distribution of moneys from the Subfund that shall include criteria that address (i) the annualized cost per pound of the reduction, (ii) the reliability of the underlying technology or practice, (iii) the relative durability and permanence of the credits generated, and (iv) other such factors that the Department deems appropriate to ensure that the practices will achieve the necessary reduction in nutrients for the term of credit.”

Continues to require the DEQ director to make nutrient credits available for sale to owners or operators of new or expanded facilities pursuant to § 62.1-44.19:15, and to permitted facilities pursuant to § 62.1-44.19:18.  Adds a requirement that DEQ director “consider recommendations of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade consistent with the requirements of the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.) in the sale of nutrient credits to new or expanding private facilities.”

In Section E, adds “nonpoint” to the allowable source of nutrient credits: “For the purposes of this section, a ‘nutrient credit’ means a nutrient reduction certified by the Department of Environmental Quality as a load allocation, point or nonpoint source nitrogen credit, or point or nonpoint source phosphorus credit under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Nutrient Credit Exchange Program.”

Related News Media Item
New plant on James River to require 1st pollution trade of its kind in VA, Bay Journal, 1/22/17.

Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly: Combined Sewer Overflow Bills in Potomac River Watershed and Alexandria

This is one of a series of posts on particular water-related bills in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.  For an inventory of about 165 water-related bills in the 2017 General Assembly, please visit the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  Each post includes a summary of the bill(s), their legislative status (in committee, passed, failed, etc.), and a list of hyperlinked headlines for news media items on the bill(s).  Information on the bills’ provisions and status is taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.  Each bill number is hyperlinked to the LIS entry for that bill.

Several bills concerned the problem of combined sewer overflows from the City of Alexandria into the Potomac River watershed.

HB 1423Potomac River watershed combined sewer overflow outfalls: DEQ to identify owner, etc.  This bill, sponsored by Del. David Albo (R-42nd District), of Springfield, failed in the House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources (ACNR) Committee.  The bill would have directed the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to identify the owner of any combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfall that discharges into the Potomac River Watershed and to determine by July 2018 what actions by the owner are necessary to bring the outfall into compliance by with Virginia law, the federal Clean Water Act, and the Presumption Approach described in the CSO [Combined Sewer Overflow] Control Policy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The CSO owner would have had until July 2027 to bring the CSO outfall into compliance.

HB 2383Chesapeake Bay watershed combined sewer overflow outfalls: DEQ to identify owner, etc.  This bill, sponsored by Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-31st District) of Woodbridge, passed the House and as of February 14 was in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources (ACNR) Committee.  Like HB 1423 above, this bill would also direct the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to identify the owner of any combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfall that discharges into the Potomac River Watershed and to determine by July 2018 what actions by the owner are necessary to bring the outfall into compliance with Virginia law, the federal Clean Water Act, and the Presumption Approach described in the CSO Control Policy of the U.S. EPA.  But as amended by the House, the CSO outfall owner would have until July 2024 to initiate construction activities to bring the outfall into compliance, and this bill would only apply to any CSO outfall owner or operator not under a state order or decree related to the CSO as of January 1, 2017.

SB 818Potomac River watershed combined sewer overflow outfalls: DEQ to identify owner, etc.  This bill, sponsored by Del. Scott Surovell (D-36th District), of Mount Vernon, was incorporated into SB 898 (see below).

SB 819City of Alexandria Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system permit: requirement to assess overflows by 2029.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th District), of Alexandria, failed in the Senate ACNR Committee.  The bill would have directed the State Water Control Board to include in the next renewal of the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the CSO system of the City of Alexandria requirement that the City complete by January 1, 2029, an assessment of the discharges from CSO Number 001 into the Potomac River, including identifying any improvements meant to address discharges from any part of the City’s CSO system and determining what control technologies would be required to meet applicable regulations.

SB 898Potomac River watershed combined sewer overflow outfalls: DEQ to identify owner, etc.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Richard Stuart (R-28th District), of Montross, passed the Senate and as of February 14 was in the House ACNR Committee.  The bill would also direct the DEQ to identify the owner of any CSO outfall that discharges into the Potomac River watershed and to determine what actions by the owner are necessary to bring the outfall into compliance with the Presumption Approach described in the CSO Control Policy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).   As introduced, the bill would have required the CSO outfall owner to bring the outfall into compliance by July 2020.  As amended and passed by the Senate, the bill would require such compliance by July 2025.

Related News Media Items on This Legislation
Senate Proposes Alexandria Sewer Overflow Deadline, Comment by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th District), as published by Alexandria Connection, 2/1/17.
Senators to Alexandria: Clean Up Your Act by 2020 or Lose State Funding, Alexandria Connection, 1/20/17.
Alexandria mayor balks at state Senate deadline for stopping sewage overflows, Washington Post, 1/19/17.
Alexandria speeds up plans to address sewage overflow into the Potomac, Washington Post, 11/10/16.

Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly: Coastal Protection and Flooding Adaptation Cabinet Position

This is one of a series of posts on particular water-related bills in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.  For an inventory of about 165 water-related bills in the 2017 General Assembly, please visit the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  Each post includes a summary of the bill(s), their legislative status (in committee, passed, failed, etc.), and a list of hyperlinked headlines for news media items on the bill(s).  Information on the bills’ provisions and status is taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.  Each bill number is hyperlinked to the LIS entry for that bill.

HB 1964 – Coastal Protection and Flooding Adaptation cabinet position created.  This bill, sponsored by Del. Christopher P. Stolle (R-83rd District), of Virginia Beach, was reported from the House General Laws Committee but failed in the House Appropriations Committee.  The will would have created the position of Secretary for Coastal Protection and Flooding Adaptation, who would be responsible for consolidating into a single office the resources for coastal flooding threats and adaptation; lead in providing direction, ensuring accountability, and developing a statewide coastal flooding adaptation strategy; and, in cooperation with the Secretary of Natural Resources, identify sources of funding for needed implementation of strategies for coastal protection and flooding adaptation.

SB 1349 is the companion bill to HB 1964 (introduced with the same provisions).  Sponsored by Sen. Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. (D-6th District), of Accomack, this bill passed the Senate Finance Committee with an amendment stating that the provisions of the bill would not become effective unless the 2017 General Assembly passes an appropriation supporting the purposes of the bill.  The amended bill failed on the Senate floor on January 31.

Related News Media Item on Legislation
Legislation to create Virginia coastal office gaining ground, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/23/17.

Related News Media Items on Coastal Flooding in Virginia
A flood of data on tide cycles in Hampton Roads worries meteorologists, Virginian-Pilot, 12/3/16.
The 2,000-foot hole in the ground that’s important in the battle against sea level rise, Virginian-Pilot, 12/3/16.
Researchers estimate cost to Hampton Roads of doing nothing about sea level rise, Virginian-Pilot, 11/17/16.
Report says sea-level rise has major economic consequences for Hampton Roads, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11/17/16.

Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly: Renewable Energy Bills

This is one of a series of posts on particular water-related bills in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.  For an inventory of about 160 water-related bills in the 2017 General Assembly, please visit the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  Each post includes a summary of the bill(s), their legislative status (in committee, passed, failed, etc.), and a list of hyperlinked headlines for news media items on the bill(s).  Information on the bills’ provisions and status is taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.  Each bill number is hyperlinked to the LIS entry for that bill.

Please note that the Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act (Chapter 23, Sec. 56-576 of the Virginia Code), defines “renewable energy” as “energy derived from sunlight, wind, falling water, biomass, sustainable or otherwise, (the definitions of which shall be liberally construed), energy from waste, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, wave motion, tides, and geothermal power, and does not include energy derived from coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear power.  Renewable energy shall also include the proportion of the thermal or electric energy from a facility that results from the co-firing of biomass.”

HB 1891 – Geothermal heat pump property expenditure; tax credit for taxable years 2017-2021.  This bill, sponsored by Del. Timothy Hugo (R-40th District), of Centreville, failed in the House Finance Committee.  The bill would have established a tax credit, for taxable years 2017 through 2021, for geothermal heat pump property expenditures at a residence in Virginia, equal to 25 percent of purchase or installation expenditures, up to a statewide maximum of $10 million in credits per year.  The bill defined “geothermal heat pump property expenditure” as any expenditure for equipment that uses the ground or groundwater as a thermal energy source to heat a residence or as a thermal energy sink to cool a residence.  The Senate companion bill, SB 1392, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner (R-7th District), of Virginia Beach, failed in the Senate Finance Committee.

HB 2112, Community renewable projects: SCC to adopt rules authorizing.  This bill, sponsored by Del. Mark Keam (D-35th District), of Vienna, failed in the House Commerce and Labor Committee.  The bill would have required the State Corporation Commission to adopt rules under which community renewable projects are authorized to operate.  A community renewable project would be defined as solar or wind-powered electric generation facility with a capacity of not more than 20 megawatts that is operated subject to requirements that the electricity generated by the facility belongs to the project’s subscribers.

HB 2303 – Small agricultural generators; establishes parameters of a program for selling electricity to a utility.  This bill, sponsored by Del. J. Randall Minchew (R-10th District), of Leesburg, passed the House and was in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee as of Feb. 9.  The bill would establish the parameters of a program under which small agricultural generators may sell the electricity generated from a small agricultural generating facility to its utility.  Effective July 1, 2019, enrollment by eligible agricultural customer-generators in an existing net-energy-metering program conducted by an electric cooperative would cease, although a cooperative’s customers who were participating as eligible agricultural customer-generators before that date would be allowed to remain in the ne-metering program for not more than 25 years.  A small agricultural generator is defined in this measure as a customer who operates an electrical generating facility as part of an agricultural business, which generating facility, among other conditions, has a capacity of not more than 1.5 megawatts, uses renewable energy as its total source of fuel, has a capacity that does not exceed 150 percent of the customer’s expected annual energy consumption based on the previous 12 months of billing history, uses not more than 25 percent of contiguous land owned or controlled by the agricultural business for purposes of the renewable energy generating facility, and is a qualifying small power production facility under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).  The program would require the generator to enter into a power purchase agreement with its supplier to sell all of the electricity generated at a rate not less than the supplier’s State Corporation Commission-approved avoided cost tariff for energy and capacity.  The program would also allow utilities to recover distribution service costs and costs incurred to purchase electricity, capacity, and renewable energy certificates from the small agricultural generator through its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) rate adjustment clause (if the utility has a Commission-approved RPS plan and rate adjustment clause) or through the supplier’s fuel adjustment clause or through the utility’s cost of purchased power (if the utility does not have a Commission-approved RPS rate adjustment clause).  The Senate companion bill, SB 1394, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner (R-7th District), of Virginia Beach, passed the Senate and was in the House Commerce and Labor Committee as of Feb. 9.

HB 2390, Renewable energy power purchase agreements; expands pilot program to Appalachian Power.  This bill, sponsored by Del. Terry Kilgore (R-1st District), of Gate City, passed the House and was in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee as of Feb. 9.  The bill would expand the pilot program for renewable energy power purchase agreements authorized under legislation enacted in 2013 by directing that a pilot program be conducted by Appalachian Power; currently a pilot program is authorized only within Dominion Virginia Power’s service territory.

SB 813, Solar generation facilities: cost-recovery provisions.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. David Marsden (D-37th District), of Burke, failed in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.  The bill would have exempted investor-owned electric utilities from the requirement that in a proceeding for approval to construct a generating facility they demonstrate that they have considered and weighed alternative options, including third-party market alternatives, in their selection process, if the proposed generating facility is located in the Commonwealth, uses energy derived from sunlight, and has been declared by statute to be in the public interest.

SB 918, Renewable energy: third-party power purchase agreements to be authorized for each electric utility.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. John Edwards (D-21st District), of Roanoke, failed in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.  The bill would have replaced the pilot program enacted in 2013 that authorized certain third-party power purchase agreements providing financing of certain renewable generation facilities, would have required the State Corporation Commission to establish third-party power purchase agreement programs for each electric utility.  The existing pilot program applies only to Dominion Virginia Power and sets the maximum size of a renewable generation facility at one megawatt; the programs authorized by this measure would have applied to all electric utilities and without a limit on the size of facilities.

SB 1197, Small renewable energy projects; State Corporation Commission jurisdiction.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Creigh Deeds (D- 25th District), of Charlottesville, failed in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.  The bill would have restored the requirement for State Corporation Commission (SCC) to review construction and operation of small renewable energy projects that either disturb an area of 100 acres or more, or are located within five miles of a political subdivision boundary.  In 2009 the General Assembly removed the requirement that the owner or operator of a small renewable energy project obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity approval for the project from the SCC.  Small renewable energy projects are defined an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 100 megawatts that generates electricity only from sunlight, wind, falling water, wave motion, tides, or geothermal power; or an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 20 megawatts that generates electricity only from biomass or certain waste.

SB 1226, Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); proprietary records and trade secrets related to solar energy.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. John Edwards (D-21st District), of Roanoke, passed the Senate and was in the House General Laws Committee as of Feb. 9.  The bill would exclude from the mandatory disclosure provisions of FOIA proprietary information, voluntarily provided by a private business under a promise of confidentiality from a public body, used by the public body for a solar photovoltaic services agreement, a solar power purchase agreement, or a solar self-generation agreement.

SB 1258, Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority; name change and increase in membership.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th District), of Alexandria, passed the Senate and was in the House Commerce and Labor Committee as of Feb. 9.  The bill would continue the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority and rename it the Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority.  The measure would expand the authority’s purposes to include positioning the Commonwealth as a leader in research, development, commercialization, manufacturing, and deployment of energy storage technology; and would expand the Authority’s powers to include 1) promoting collaborative efforts among Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education in research, development, and commercialization efforts related to energy storage; 2) monitoring relevant developments nationally and globally; and 3) identifying and working with the Commonwealth’s industries and nonprofit partners.

SB 1388, Electric utilities’ margin on solar energy power purchase agreements.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner (R-7th District), of Virginia Beach, failed (was stricken at the sponsors request) in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.  The bill would have authorized any investor-owned incumbent electric utility to enter into, recover the costs of, and earn a margin on power purchase agreements executed between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018, and for power generated by solar energy systems located in the Commonwealth with a capacity equal to or greater than two megawatts which systems in the aggregate have a capacity not more than one percent of the utility’s adjusted Virginia peak-load forecast for the previous year.  The bill would have provided that the costs and margin are recoverable, that such agreements are in the public interest, and that in reviewing the costs and the level of costs to be recovered the State Corporation Commission shall liberally construe the provisions of this measure and shall presume that the costs associated with such agreements are reasonably and prudently incurred.

SB 1395, Small renewable energy projects; eligibility for permits by rule.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner (R-7th District), of Virginia Beach, passed the Senate and was in the House Commerce and Labor Committee as of Feb. 9.  The bill would provide that certain small renewable energy projects proposed, developed, constructed, or purchased by either by a public utility (if the project’s costs are not recovered from Virginia jurisdictional customers under base rates, a fuel factor charge, or a rate adjustment clause) or by a utility aggregation cooperative are eligible for a permit by rule and are exempt from environmental review and permitting by the State Corporation Commission.  The measure specifies that a small renewable energy project shall be eligible for permit by rule if it is proposed, developed, constructed, or purchased by a person that is not a regulated utility.  The measure would exempt any small renewable energy project for which the Department of Environmental Quality has issued a permit by rule from the requirement that it obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity.  Finally, the measure would increase from 100 megawatts to 150 megawatts the maximum rated capacity of solar and wind facilities that qualify as small renewable energy projects.

Related News Media Item

More solar options could emerge from General Assembly session, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/7/17.

Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly: Land Preservation Tax Credit Bills

This is one of a series of posts on particular water-related bills in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.  For an inventory of about 165 water-related bills in the 2017 General Assembly, please visit the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  Each post includes a summary of the bill(s), their legislative status (in committee, passed, failed, etc.), and a list of hyperlinked headlines for news media items on the bill(s).  Information on the bills’ provisions and status is taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.  Each bill number is hyperlinked to the LIS entry for that bill.

HB 1470, Land preservation tax credit limitations.  Sponsored by Del. R. Lee Ware (R-65th District), of Powhatan, this bill failed in the House Finance Committee.  The bill would have imposed a $2 million limit on the amount of credits that may be claimed for each land conveyance; a $20,000 limit on the annual amount of credits that may be claimed by each taxpayer; a $50,000 cap on the annual amount of credits that may be claimed for a fee simple donation of land to the Commonwealth; and a $50 million cap on the maximum annual amount of credits that may be issued to all taxpayers.

HB 2150, Land preservation tax credit limitations per taxpayer.  Sponsored by Del. Lashrecse Aird (D-63rd District), of Petersburg, this bill failed in the House Finance Committee.  The bill would have extended to taxable year 2017 the $20,000 limit on the amount that a taxpayer may claim per year under the land preservation tax credit, retaining the $50,000 limit for each subsequent taxable year.

SB 963, Land preservation tax credit limitations per taxpayer.  Sponsored by Sen. Emmett Hanger, Jr. (R-24th District), of Mount Solon, passed the Senate on February 3, and as of February 8, was in the House Finance Committee.  A companion bill to HB 2150 (above), the bill would extend to taxable year 2017 the $20,000 limit on the amount that a taxpayer may claim per year under the land preservation tax credit, retaining the $50,000 limit for each subsequent taxable year.

SB 1540, Certain tax credits aggregate caps.  Sponsored by Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R-10th District), of Midlothian, this bill failed in the Senate Finance Committee.  The bill would have reduced the total aggregate caps of the historic rehabilitation tax credit, the research and development expenses tax credit, the major research and development expenses tax credit, and the land preservation tax credit over a period of 10 years, so that no credits were available for any of the credits beginning in 2027.

Related News Media Item

Va. Senate panel kills Sen. Glen Sturtevant’s bill to cap and phase out historic rehab tax credits, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/31/17.

Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly: Coal Ash Management Bills

This is one of a series of posts on particular water-related bills in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.  For an inventory of about 160 water-related bills in the 2017 General Assembly, please visit the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  Each post includes a summary of the bill(s), their legislative status (in committee, passed, failed, etc.), and a list of hyperlinked headlines for news media items on the bill(s).  Information on the bills’ provisions and status is taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.  Each bill number is hyperlinked to the LIS entry for that bill.

SB1383, sponsored by Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36th District) of Mt. Vernon, would have required electric utilities to recycle as much of their stored coal combustion by-products (o (also called coal combustion residuals, or coal ash) as is imported into the Commonwealth each year, on a pro rata basis.  The bill was stricken from the docket of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources (ACNR) Committee at the request of Sen. Surovell.

SB 1398, also sponsored by Sen. Surovell, passed the Senate on Feb. 7 and was reported from the House ACNR Committee on February 15.  As passed by the Senate, the bill would prohibit the DEQ director from issuing a draft permit for the closure of a coal combustion residuals unit (CCR unit) located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (that is, at facilities of Dominion Virginia Power) until the director has reviewed an assessment of closure options prepared by the owner or operator of the CCR unit.  Prior to receiving a permit, the permit-seeker would have to identify water pollution and address corrective measures to resolve it, evaluate the clean closure of the CCR unit by recycling the ash for use in cement or moving it to a landfill, and demonstrate the long-term safety of the CCR unit and its ability to keep ash out of wetlands and other sensitive areas.  The version reported from the House ACNR Committee removed the requirement that the information be provided and reviewed by the director before the director may issue a draft permit for closure of a CCR unit.

SB 1399, also sponsored by Sen. Surovell, would have directed the DEQ to require the closure of surface impoundments of coal combustion by-products, commonly called coal ash ponds, by July 1, 2021.  The bill would have applied to impoundments that managed such by-products from the generation of electricity by an electric utility or independent power producer prior to December 22, 2016, including those impoundments that, prior to December 22, 2016, have been closed by capping in place or have received DEQ approval for closure by capping in place.  The bill would also have required that the coal combustion by-products be removed for disposal in a permitted landfill meeting federal criteria and that the impoundment site be reclaimed in a manner consistent with federal mine reclamation standards for the closure to be deemed complete.  The bill would have allowed the electric utility to recover the costs of closure from customers.  The bill was stricken from the docket of the Senate ACNR Committee at the request of Sen. Surovell.

Some News Media Items on these Bills

Virginia House of Delegates committee defangs coal ash bill, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/15/17.

Coal ash bill clears House subcommittee, though not unscathed, Richmond Times-Dispatch, as published by Roanoke Times, 2/14/17.

Coal ash bill clears Senate, but faces challenges in the state House, Fauquier Times, 2/13/17.


Surovell bill to delay Dominion’s coal-ash plans moves to the state Senate, Prince William Times, 2/3/17.

Bill that would require more information on coal-ash closure plans clears Va. Senate committee, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/2/17.

Is Recycling a Practical Solution for Coal Ash?, Bacon’s Rebellion, 2/2/17.

Coal ash revaluation, recycling bill that could affect Chesapeake energy site passes Senate panel, Virginian-Pilot, 2/3/17.

Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly: Clean Power Plan Implementation Bill

This is one of a series of posts on particular water-related bills in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.  For an inventory of about 160 water-related bills in the 2017 General Assembly, please visit the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  Each post includes a summary of the bill(s), their legislative status (in committee, passed, failed, etc.), and a list of hyperlinked headlines for news media items on the bill(s).  Information on the bills’ provisions and status is taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.  Each bill number is hyperlinked to the LIS entry for that bill.

FEDERAL CLEAN POWER PLAN BILL 

HB 1974, sponsored by Del. Israel O’Quinn (R-5th District), of Bristol, would require the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to receive approval from the General Assembly for a state plan to implement the federal Clean Power Plan–which regulates carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants–prior to submitting the state plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.  As of January 27, 2017, the bill had been reported from the House Commerce and Labor Committee and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

The U.S. EPA published the final Clean Power Plan regulation in August 2015; implementation of the plan, however, has been stayed by a federal court pending litigation against the regulation by several states.  For more on the Clean Power Plan regulation, including the lawsuit challenging the regulation, please see the following News Grouper items:
Final Version of “Clean Power Plan” Announced by President Obama and the U.S. EPA on August 3, 2015;
and Clean Power Plan Lawsuit Against U.S. EPA Overview and Information Sources.

News media items
Virginia Committee Passes Bill Setting Foundation to Reject EPA Clean Power Plan, Tenth Amendment Center, 1/25/17.
Virginia Bill Would Set the Foundation to Reject EPA Clean Power Plan, 10th Amendment Center, 1/17/17.