Category Archives: Laws&Regs

Clean Power Plan Lawsuit Against U.S. EPA Overview and Information Sources – Full Court of Appeals Hears Oral Arguments on September 27, 2016; Supreme Court on Feb. 9, 2016, Granted Stay of Regulation Implementation While Litigation Proceeds

Here’s an overview, as of Sept. 28, 2016, of some developments in the federal lawsuit by 27 states over the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan for regulating carbon emissions from power plants.  The Clean Power Plan, formally known as “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units,” was published in the Federal Register on October 23, 2015.  The case is State of West Virginia et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency et al. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Developments (starting with oldest)

On November 4, 2015, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that Virginia would be part of a coalition of 14 states plus several localities seeking to intervene to support the U.S. EPA in the lawsuit.

On February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of EPA’s implementation of the regulation until the lawsuit has run its course. The stay will remain is effect while the case returns to the D.C. Appeals Court to hear the merits of the lawsuit and for any appeals of that court’s eventual ruling.  That court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in June 2016.  Responding to the stay, Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a February 10 news release that “we will stay on course and continue to develop the elements for a Virginia plan to reduce carbon emissions and stimulate our clean energy economy.”

On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided that the full court will hear the case, rather than a three-judge panel.  Previously, the smaller panel had been scheduled to hear the case on June 2, 2016.

On September 27, 2016, for about seven hours, the D.C. Appeals Court heard oral arguments in the case.  The court’s 10 active judges were present; Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland recused himself from the case.  According to the CNN account of the hearings (Appeals court hears high-stakes challenge to Obama’s clean power plan, CNN, 9/27/16), “[d]ozens of lawyers from the government, industry, and public interest groups packed” the courtroom.  For more on the day’s arguments, see E&E Publishing’s “Clean Power Plan Hub,” online at http://www.eenews.net/interactive/clean_power_plan.

Sources and ongoing list of news articles related to the lawsuit:

Appeals court hears high-stakes challenge to Obama’s clean power plan, CNN, 9/27/16.

Invoking Scalia, judges question whether EPA bent the law, Greenwire, 9/27/16.

D.C. federal appeals court hears oral arguments on controversial Clean Power Plan, West Virginia Metro News Network, 9/27/16.

The full appeals court in Washington has elected to hear arguments in the legal fight over President Barack Obama’s plan to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, potentially accelerating the case’s path to the Supreme Court – Associated Press, as published by U.S. News & World Report, 5/16/16

Dominion goes to bat for Clean Power Plan, Daily Press, 4/4/16 [“Dominion Power filed an amicus brief Friday [4/1/16] in the national lawsuit against the federal Clean Power Plan, pushing back against arguments plan critics have made in an effort to derail new carbon rules.  The company didn’t lay out a firm yes-or-no position on the plan itself, which will likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.  But the brief puts the weight of Virginia’s energy giant behind key aspects of the plan to cap carbon production at utility plants.”]

Herring joins coalition to curb climate change, Augusta Free Press, 3/29/16

[Virginia] Chamber of Commerce joins suit against EPA rules, WRIC-TV Richmond, 2/28/16.

EPA Chief: Clean Power Plan to Win on Merits, Power Magazine, 2/25/16.

Clean Power Plan: Challengers question EPA’s authority, rulemaking process in briefs, E&E Publishing EnergyWire, 2/22/16 [challengers to the Clean Power Plan filed briefs with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on 2/19/16].

Clean Power Plan: ‘Heads are still spinning’ after Scalia’s death, SCOTUS ruling, E&E Publishing ClimateWire, 2/16/16.

States Evaluating Options Following CPP Stay, RTO Insider, 2/14/16.

Some States Forging Ahead With Emissions Reduction Plans Despite Supreme Court Ruling, Insideclimate News, 2/12/16.

Governor McAuliffe Statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision to Stay the Clean Power Plan, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 2/10/16.

Will a surprising Supreme Court move shake the Paris climate accord?” – PBS NewsHour (6 min./16 sec. video), 2/10/16.

Supreme Court puts the brakes on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Washington Post, 2/9/16.

Virginia Joins Multi-State Coalition Supporting Economic, Environmental, and Health Benefits of Clean Air
, Virginia Attorney General’s Office News Release, 11/4/15.

E&E News, “Clean Power Plan Hub – Legal Challenges and Documents,” online at http://www.eenews.net/interactive/clean_power_plan/fact_sheets/legal, accessed 11/9/15.

For more information on the Clean Power Plan
E&E News “Clean Power Plan Hub,” online at http://www.eenews.net/interactive/clean_power_plan.

U.S. EPA, “Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants,” online at http://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/clean-power-plan-existing-power-plants.

Virginia Water Central News Grouper post, Final Version of “Clean Power Plan” Announced by President Obama and the U.S. EPA on August 3, 2015; Carbon Emissions from Existing Power Plants to be Reduced by 32% Nationwide; States Have Individually Set Reduction Targets, 8/3/15.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Sep. 23-Oct. 10, 2016

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

9/23/16, 10 a.m.: Board of Conservation and Recreation.  At Natural Bridge Hotel, 15 Appledore Lane in Natural Bridge (Rockbridge County).

9/27/16, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Virginia Outdoors Foundation Board of Trustees.  At Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 1201 Caroline Street in Fredericksburg.  At 9:15 a.m. on the same day and at the same location, the Board will consider requests to the Preservation Trust Fund.

10/3/16, 9:30 a.m.: Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects Regulatory Review Committee.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

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VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WATER-RELATED MEETINGS

For meetings of legislative committees and commissions, see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+oth+MTG.  Links to information about General Assembly commissions, councils, and special interim committees coordinated by the Division of Legislative Services are available online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions.html.

9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Joint Commission on Technology and Science.  At House Room C in the General Assembly Building, 201 North Ninth Street 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.

9/27/16, 2 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for aquatic life (benthic) impairments in the Little Calfpasture River, located in the James River basin in Rockbridge County.  At Rockbridge Baths Fire Hall, 5024 Maury River Road in Rockbridge Baths.

10/4/16, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in the McClure River and tributaries Big Spraddle Branch, Buffalo Creek, and Roaring Fork, all in the Pound River/Russell Fork/Big Sandy River watershed in Dickenson County.  At the McClure Kiwanis Building, at the intersection of State Route 63 (Dante Mountain Road) and State Route 773 (Herndon Road) in Dickenson County.

10/5/16, 6:30 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial and aquatic life (benthic) impairments in Woods Creek, located in the Maury River/James River basin in Rockbridge County and the City of Lexington.  At Maury River Middle School, 600 Waddell Street in Lexington.

10/6/16, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of aquatic life (benthic) impairment in Kits Creek (Meherrin River/Chowan River watershed) in Lunenburg County.  At the Historic Courthouse, 11435 Courthouse Road in Lunenburg.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Air-Water Connections
10/4/16, 9:30 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Title V Fee Stakeholder Advisory Group.  At the DEQ Main Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.  Under Title V of the federal Clean Air Act, states charge Title V fees for operating permits required for major sources of air emissions.  This group has been established to assist the DEQ in developing recommendations for adjusting the Title V program fee structure.  More information on Title V permits is available from the U.S. EPA online at https://www.epa.gov/title-v-operating-permits; and from the Va. DEQ online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/FeesUndertheVAAirPollutionControlLaw.aspx.

Energy – Climate Change
10/6/16, 1 p.m.: Executive Order 57 Working Group.  At 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond.  This group was established by Executive Order 57, issued by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on June 28, 2016.  The Executive Order calls for the group to evaluate options under existing authority for the Commonwealth to reduce carbon emissions from the energy sector.  Executive Order 57 is available online at https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=15762.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
10/3/16, 6 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on the draft state major permit for Columbia Gas Transmission LLC’s Strasburg Compressor Station.  At the Shenandoah County Government Center Board Room, 600 North Main Street in Woodstock.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, Columbia Gas has applied for a permit to construct three natural gas-fired turbines, and to modify one natural gas-fired turbine, at the Strasburg Compressor Station in Shenandoah County.  The project will cause the facility to be classified as a major source of air pollution for nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon monoxide (CO).  The public comment period runs 9/2/16 to 10/18/16.

Energy – Wind
9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Offshore Wind Development Authority.  At the State Capitol, House Room 1, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.  Remote location: 1019 Haverhill-Ohio Furnace Road in Haverhill, Ohio; contact Brian Redmond, (713) 705-4591.  According to the Authority’s Web site, http://wind.jmu.edu/offshore/vowda/index.html, the 2010 Virginia General Assembly (companion bills HB 389 and SB 577) created this Authority to “facilitate, coordinate, and support development of the offshore wind energy industry, offshore wind energy projects, and supply chain vendors….”

Groundwater
9/23/16, 9 a.m.: Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee/Work Group #3 on Future Permitting Criteria; and 9/23/16, 1 p.m.: Work Group # 4 on Funding.  Both at the Department of Environmental Quality’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  The 2015 Virginia General Assembly passed HB 1924 and SB 1341, companion bills that established this Advisory Committee to assist the State Water Commission and the DEQ in developing, revising, and implementing a management strategy for groundwater in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.  The bills state that the Advisory Committee is to examine the following:
(i) options for developing long-term alternative water sources, including water reclamation and reuse, ground water recharge, desalination, and surface water options, including creation of storage reservoirs;
(ii) the interaction between the Department of Environmental Quality’s ground water management programs and local and regional water supply plans within the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area for purposes of determining water demand and possible solutions for meeting that demand;
(iii) potential funding options both for study and for implementation of management options;
(iv) alternative management structures, such as a water resource trading program, formation of a long-term ground water management committee, and formation of a commission;
(v) additional data needed to more fully assess aquifer health and sustainable ground water management strategies;
(vi) potential future ground water permitting criteria; and
(vii) other policies and procedures that the director of the [DEQ] determines may enhance the effectiveness of ground water management in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.”  The Committee is to provide its report by August 2017.  More information about the Advisory Committee is available online at http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity.aspx; more information about groundwater management areas in Virginia is available online at http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterPermitting.aspx.

River Basin Advisory Committees and Commissions
9/29/16, 1 p.m. (PDF of agenda):  Rappahannock River Basin Commission.  At Stoneridge Events Center, 7373 Comfort Inn Drive in Warrenton (Fauquier County).  The Commission was established by the Virginia General Assembly (see Va. Code section 62.1-69.27 to “provide guidance for the stewardship and enhancement of the water quality and natural resources of the Rappahannock River Basin.”  More information on the work of the Commission is available online at http://rappriverbasin.org/.

State Parks
9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation public meeting on the update to the Belle Isle State Park Master Plan.  At Belle Isle State Park Visitor Center, 1632 Belle Isle Road in Lancaster (Lancaster County).

10/6/16, 6 p.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation public meeting on the update to the Pocahontas State Park Master Plan.  At Pocahontas State Park Heritage Center, 10301 State Park Road in Chesterfield (Chesterfield County).

Stormwater
9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Stormwater Stakeholder Advisory Group on Virginia Erosion and Stormwater Management Program fees.  At the DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  According to the Regulatory Town Hall notice about this meeting, “Item 8 of Chapters 68 and 758 of the 2016 Acts of Assembly directs DEQ to evaluate fees related to the consolidated Virginia Erosion and Stormwater Management Program (VESMP) in order to determine whether the program can be funded adequately under the current fee structure.  The legislation [HB 1250 and SB 673] provided that Virginia Stormwater Management Program Authorities and Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Program Authorities were to submit information to DEQ by August 1, 2016, and directed DEQ to conduct its evaluation based on revenues and resource needs from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016.  DEQ is convening a Stakeholders Advisory Group (SAG) to review the Department’s evaluation and consider the need to establish revised fees to fund the consolidated VESMP.”  The DEQ’s Web page for the Virginia Stormwater Management Program is http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx.

Virginia Outdoors Plan
9/26/16, 10 a.m.: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) public meeting on the Virginia Outdoors Plan.  At the West Piedmont Planning District Commission, 1100 Madison Street in Martinsville.  Starting in August 2016, the DCR began a series of public meetings on the Outdoors Plan.  The DCR is working with Virginia’s planning district commissions and regional councils to review outdoor recreation and land conservation initiatives related to the Outdoors Plan, which is a comprehensive blueprint for acquisition, development, and management of outdoor recreation and open space resources.  The first plan was developed in 1966; the most recent update, the 11th, was done in 2013).  More information on the Outdoors Plan is available online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational_planning/vop.shtml.

The DCR intends to hold public meetings in every region.  Other upcoming meetings are the following (according to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, as of 9/12/16):
9/27/16, 10 a.m., at New River Valley Regional Commission, 6580 Valley Center Drive in Radford.
9/27/16, 2:45 p.m., at Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission, 224 Clydesway Drive, Lebanon (Russell County).
9/28/16, 10 a.m., at Mount Rogers Planning District Commission, 1021 Terrace Drive in Marion (Smyth County).
9/29/16, 9:30 a.m., at Lenowisco Planning District Commission, 372 Technology Trail Lane, Duffield (Scott County).
9/30/16, 10 a.m., at Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, Virginia Horse Center, 487 Maury River Road in Lexington.
10/4/16, 10 a.m., at Southside Planning District Commission, 200 South Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill (Mecklenburg County).
10/6/16, 1 p.m., at Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, 9211 Forest Hill Avenue in Richmond.
10/12/16, 12 p.m., at Crater Planning District Commission, 1964 Wakefield Street in Petersburg.
10/13/16, 2 p.m., at George Washington Regional Commission, 406 Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg.
10/18/16, 10 a.m., at Region 2000 Local Government Council, 828 Main Street in Lynchburg.
10/18/16, 3 p.m., at Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, 313 Luck Avenue, SW, in Roanoke.
10/25/16, 2 p.m., at Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library, 1303 West Third Street in Farmville (Prince Edward County).
10/26/16, 2 p.m., at Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, 407 East Water Street in Charlottesville.
10/27/16, 10 a.m., at Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, 400-E Kendrick Lane in Front Royal (Warren County).
11/17/16, 10 a.m., at Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission, 420 Southridge Parkway in Culpeper.
12/6/16, 10 a.m., at Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission, 125 Bowden Street in Saluda (Middlesex County).

Previous meetings included the following:
8/30/16, 10 a.m., at the Northern Neck Enterprise Center, 483 Main Street in Warsaw (Richmond County).
9/6/16, 10:30 a.m., at Tabb Library 100 Long Green Boulevard in Yorktown (York County).
9/7/16, 10 a.m., at the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, 3040 Williams Drive in Fairfax.
9/8/16, 1:30 p.m., at the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, 723 Woodlake Drive in Chesapeake.

Wells (Private)
10/6/16, 10 a.m.: Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Private Well Regulations Workgroup.  Location not yet determined, as of 9/23/16.  The workgroup is advising the VDH on possible revisions to the regulations, located in the Virginia Administrative Code at 12 VAC 5-630-10 et seq.; the regulations are available online at http://lis.virginia.gov/000/reg/TOC12005.HTM#C0630.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Sep. 16-Oct. 3, 2016

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

9/17/16, 11 a.m.: Cave Board.  At Catawba Center, 4965 Catawba Creek Road in Catawba (Roanoke County).

9/19/16, 10 a.m.: Soil and Water Conservation Board’s Agricultural BMP (Best Management Practices) Engineering Workgroup.  At the Virginia Department of Forestry, Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.

9/19/16, 6 p.m.: Marine Resources Commission’s Fisheries Management Advisory Committee.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

9/20/16, 9 a.m.: Gas and Oil Board.  At the Russell County Office Building, 139 Highland Drive in Lebanon.

9/20/16, 2 p.m.: Marine Products Board.  At the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Watermen’s Hall, 1375 Greate Road in Gloucester Point (Gloucester County).

9/21/16, 9 a.m.: Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board.  At the Perimeter Center, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

9/22/16, 9:30 a.m.: State Water Control Board.  At the General Assembly Building, House Room C, 201 North Ninth Street in Richmond.

9/22/16, 10 a.m.: Department of Health’s Waterworks Advisory Committee.  At Sydnor Hydro, 2111 Magnolia Street in Richmond.

9/27/16, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

10/3/16, 9:30 a.m.: Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects Regulatory Review Committee.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

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VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WATER-RELATED MEETINGS

For meetings of legislative committees and commissions, see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+oth+MTG.  Links to information about General Assembly commissions, councils, and special interim committees coordinated by the Division of Legislative Services are available online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions.html.

9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Joint Commission on Technology and Science.  At House Room C in the General Assembly Building, 201 North Ninth Street 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.

9/20/16, 2 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for aquatic life (benthic) impairments in the Little Calfpasture River, located in the James River basin in Rockbridge County.  At Goshen Scout Camp Main Lodge, 340 Millard Burke Memorial Highway in Goshen.  Another meeting on this TMDL will be held 9/27/16, 2 p.m., at Rockbridge Baths Fire Hall, 5024 Maury River Road in Rockbridge Baths.

9/22/16, 6 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacterial impairments in Upper Goose Creek, Cromwells Run, and Little River Watersheds, located in the Potomac River basin in Fauquier County.  At the Wakefield School, 4439 Old Tavern Road in The Plains.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Air-Water Connections
9/21/16, 9:30 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Title V Fee Stakeholder Advisory Group.  At the DEQ Main Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.  Under Title V of the federal Clean Air Act, states charge Title V fees for operating permits required for major sources of air emissions.  This group has been established to assist the DEQ in developing recommendations for adjusting the Title V program fee structure.  More information on Title V permits is available from the U.S. EPA online at https://www.epa.gov/title-v-operating-permits; and from the Va. DEQ online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/FeesUndertheVAAirPollutionControlLaw.aspx.

Biosolids (Treated Sewage Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
9/22/16, 6 p.m., on the permit-modification application by Synagro Central, LLC, of Champlain, Va., to land-apply biosolids to about 1016 additional acres in Culpeper County.  At Culpeper County Public Library, 271 Southgate Shopping Center in Culpeper.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
10/3/16, 6 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on the draft state major permit for Columbia Gas Transmission LLC’s Strasburg Compressor Station.  At the Shenandoah County Government Center Board Room, 600 North Main Street in Woodstock.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, Columbia Gas has applied for a permit to construct three natural gas-fired turbines, and to modify one natural gas-fired turbine, at the Strasburg Compressor Station in Shenandoah County.  The project will cause the facility to be classified as a major source of air pollution for nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon monoxide (CO).  The public comment period runs 9/2/16 to 10/18/16.

Energy – Wind
9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Offshore Wind Development Authority.  At the State Capitol, House Room 1, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.  Remote location: 1019 Haverhill-Ohio Furnace Road in Haverhill, Ohio; contact Brian Redmond, (713) 705-4591.  According to the Authority’s Web site, http://wind.jmu.edu/offshore/vowda/index.html, the 2010 Virginia General Assembly (companion bills HB 389 and SB 577) created this Authority to “facilitate, coordinate, and support development of the offshore wind energy industry, offshore wind energy projects, and supply chain vendors….”

Groundwater
9/19/16, 9 a.m.: Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee/Work Group #1, on Alternative Sources of Supply; and Work Group #2 on Alternative Management Structures.  On 9/23/16, 9 a.m.: Work Group #3 on Future Permitting Criteria.  On 9/23/16, 1 p.m.: Work Group # 4 on Funding.  All at the Department of Environmental Quality’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  The 2015 Virginia General Assembly passed HB 1924 and SB 1341, companion bills that established this Advisory Committee to assist the State Water Commission and the DEQ in developing, revising, and implementing a management strategy for groundwater in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.  The bills state that the Advisory Committee is to examine the following:
(i) options for developing long-term alternative water sources, including water reclamation and reuse, ground water recharge, desalination, and surface water options, including creation of storage reservoirs;
(ii) the interaction between the Department of Environmental Quality’s ground water management programs and local and regional water supply plans within the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area for purposes of determining water demand and possible solutions for meeting that demand;
(iii) potential funding options both for study and for implementation of management options;
(iv) alternative management structures, such as a water resource trading program, formation of a long-term ground water management committee, and formation of a commission;
(v) additional data needed to more fully assess aquifer health and sustainable ground water management strategies;
(vi) potential future ground water permitting criteria; and
(vii) other policies and procedures that the director of the [DEQ] determines may enhance the effectiveness of ground water management in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.”  The Committee is to provide its report by August 2017.  More information about the Advisory Committee is available online at http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity.aspx; more information about groundwater management areas in Virginia is available online at http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterPermitting.aspx.

State Parks
9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation public meeting on the update to the Belle Isle State Park Master Plan.  At Belle Isle State Park Visitor Center, 1632 Belle Isle Road in Lancaster (Lancaster County).

Stormwater
9/21/16, 10 a.m.: Stormwater Best Management Practices Clearinghouse Committee.  At the Department of Environmental Quality Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road
in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  The Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) Clearinghouse is a Web site on design standards and specifications of stormwater BMPs in Virginia.  The Clearinghouse Committee advises the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the State Water Control Board.  More information about the Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse Committee is available at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/swc/.  The DEQ’s Web page for the Virginia Stormwater Management Program is http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx.

9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Stormwater Stakeholder Advisory Group on Virginia Erosion and Stormwater Management Program fees.  At the DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  According to the Regulatory Town Hall notice about this meeting, “Item 8 of Chapters 68 and 758 of the 2016 Acts of Assembly directs DEQ to evaluate fees related to the consolidated Virginia Erosion and Stormwater Management Program (VESMP) in order to determine whether the program can be funded adequately under the current fee structure.  The legislation [HB 1250 and SB 673] provided that Virginia Stormwater Management Program Authorities and Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Program Authorities were to submit information to DEQ by August 1, 2016, and directed DEQ to conduct its evaluation based on revenues and resource needs from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016.  DEQ is convening a Stakeholders Advisory Group (SAG) to review the Department’s evaluation and consider the need to establish revised fees to fund the consolidated VESMP.”  The DEQ’s Web page for the Virginia Stormwater Management Program is http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx.

Virginia Outdoors Plan
9/26/16, 10 a.m.: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) public meeting on the Virginia Outdoors Plan.  At the West Piedmont Planning District Commission, 1100 Madison Street in Martinsville.  Starting in August 2016, the DCR began a series of public meetings on the Outdoors Plan.  The DCR is working with Virginia’s planning district commissions and regional councils to review outdoor recreation and land conservation initiatives related to the Outdoors Plan, which is a comprehensive blueprint for acquisition, development, and management of outdoor recreation and open space resources.  The first plan was developed in 1966; the most recent update, the 11th, was done in 2013).  More information on the Outdoors Plan is available online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational_planning/vop.shtml.

The DCR intends to hold public meetings in every region.  Other upcoming meetings are the following (according to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, as of 9/12/16):
9/27/16, 10 a.m., at New River Valley Regional Commission, 6580 Valley Center Drive in Radford.
9/27/16, 2:45 p.m., at Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission, 224 Clydesway Drive, Lebanon (Russell County).
9/28/16, 10 a.m., at Mount Rogers Planning District Commission, 1021 Terrace Drive in Marion (Smyth County).
9/29/16, 9:30 a.m., at Lenowisco Planning District Commission, 372 Technology Trail Lane, Duffield (Scott County).
9/30/16, 10 a.m., at Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, Virginia Horse Center, 487 Maury River Road in Lexington.
10/4/16, 10 a.m., at Southside Planning District Commission, 200 South Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill (Mecklenburg County).
10/6/16, 1 p.m., at Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, 9211 Forest Hill Avenue in Richmond.
10/12/16, 12 p.m., at Crater Planning District Commission, 1964 Wakefield Street in Petersburg.
10/13/16, 2 p.m., at George Washington Regional Commission, 406 Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg.
10/18/16, 10 a.m., at Region 2000 Local Government Council, 828 Main Street in Lynchburg.
10/18/16, 3 p.m., at Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, 313 Luck Avenue, SW, in Roanoke.
10/25/16, 2 p.m., at Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library, 1303 West Third Street in Farmville (Prince Edward County).
10/26/16, 2 p.m., at Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, 407 East Water Street in Charlottesville.
10/27/16, 10 a.m., at Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, 400-E Kendrick Lane in Front Royal (Warren County).
11/17/16, 10 a.m., at Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission, 420 Southridge Parkway in Culpeper.
12/6/16, 10 a.m., at Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission, 125 Bowden Street in Saluda (Middlesex County).

Previous meetings included the following:
8/30/16, 10 a.m., at the Northern Neck Enterprise Center, 483 Main Street in Warsaw (Richmond County).
9/6/16, 10:30 a.m., at Tabb Library 100 Long Green Boulevard in Yorktown (York County).
9/7/16, 10 a.m., at the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, 3040 Williams Drive in Fairfax.
9/8/16, 1:30 p.m., at the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, 723 Woodlake Drive in Chesapeake.

Triennial Review of Virginia’s Water-quality Standards in Public Comment Period August 22–September 21, 2016

From August 22–September 21, 2016, the Virginia State Water Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting public comments on the Final Text of proposed amendments to the Commonwealth’s water-quality standards, as part of the triennial review of those standards, 9 VAC 25-260 in the Virginia Administrative Code.

Virginia Code section 62.1-44.15 (3a), part of Virginia’s State Water Control Law, requires the State Water Control Board to review and update the Commonwealth’s water-quality standards at least every three years.

The publication of the proposed Final Text is the latest stage in the review of changes that were proposed in draft form in summer 2015.  This proposed regulatory action is identified on the Virginia Regulatory Townhall, online at http://www.townhall.virginia.gov/l/ViewStage.cfm?stageid=7442, as Action 4017; the Final Text stage is Stage 7442.

More information on the proposed changes resulting from this review is available from the Regulatory Townhall at the Web site listed above.  Following is the DEQ’s summary of the proposed changes, from the Final Regulation Agency Background Document available at that Web site; shown first are changes from the summer 2015 draft proposed changes, then the substance of the proposal in the Final Text.

CHANGES FROM SUMMER 2015 PROPOSAL

•The aquatic life water quality criteria concentrations for lead in saltwater were corrected to show the criteria as “dissolved” concentrations by multiplying the old criteria by the saltwater conversion factor of 0.951. The acute saltwater criterion was converted from 240 μg/L to 230 μg/l and the chronic criterion was converted from 9.3 to 8.8 μg/l.
•The proposed updates to 8 water quality criteria designed to protect human health have been removed and will be addressed in a separate rule-making which will include consideration for adoption of human health water quality criteria for these 8, as well as an additional 86 toxic substances based on new recommended criteria finalized by EPA in June 2015.
•The proposed adoption of the new water quality criteria for ammonia to protect aquatic life in freshwater has been removed and will be proposed as a separate rule-making in order to further evaluate implementation issues.

•The proposed designation for four Class VII Swamp Water designations have been withdrawn in order to gather additional information to better support any classification change.

SUBSTANCE OF AMENDMENTS AS PROPOSED IN FINAL TEXT
(Relevant section of the Virginia Administrative Code is shown in parentheses; bolding and information in brackets added.)


*Definitions (9 VAC 25-260-5)
This section now includes a definition for “wetlands.”
*Application of pH Criteria in Lakes/Reservoirs (9 VAC 25-260-50)
This section was amended so that the pH criteria only apply to the epilimnion of thermally stratified lakes when they are stratified.
*Table of Parameters (Toxics) (9 VAC 25-260-140)
**An amendment was proposed to the cadmium criteria for the protection of freshwater aquatic life, based on EPA guidance issued in 2001 and updated with additional revisions included in a report published by the U.S Geological Survey in 2010. However, subsequent to the public comment period, in a November 2015 notification from EPA, DEQ staff became aware of a pending update to EPA’s national recommended ambient water quality criteria for cadmium in order to reflect the latest scientific information. To avoid confusion and the potential for adoption of freshwater aquatic life criteria that are more restrictive than the pending federal recommendations without justification, staff recommended removing the cadmium amendments from the rule-making. Updates to the cadmium criteria will be addressed through a future rule-making.
**Freshwater and saltwater aquatic life criteria for lead were amended to include a conversion factor to convert the “old” criteria concentrations from “total” lead to “dissolved” concentrations (as measured in a water sample that has been filtered through a 0.45 micron filter). All current Virginia aquatic life criteria for metals except for lead include a conversion factor that allow for the criteria to be expressed as the dissolved fraction of the metal. The dissolved fraction is the most biologically available portion that contributes to potential toxicity. Staff recommended applying conversion factors recommended by EPA as being applicable to the Virginia criteria for lead. This will make the criteria more stringent by approximately 5%-22% because it is expressed as dissolved lead without the inclusion of any particulate lead that may be present. The saltwater conversion factor of 0.951 was inadvertently left out of proposed language and subsequently added since proposal. Inclusion of the conversion factor is scientifically correct and applicable in Virginia.
**Amendments were proposed to update 8 human health criteria parameters due to changes in either oral slope factors for carcinogens or reference doses for non-carcinogens, which are utilized in risk-assessment calculations from which the criteria are derived. The updates (based on EPA recommendations available at the time that Triennial Review commenced) to the methodology for calculating human health criteria would have made new criteria concentrations for carbon tetrachloride, methylene chloride, nitrobenzene and tetrachloroethylene increase between 88 and 1779%. Updates for cyanide, hexachloroethane, pentachlorophenol, and trichloroethylene decrease  between 64 and 97% compared to the current criteria. During the Notice of Public Comment period EPA released an update for 94 human health parameters that included the above compounds. Staff recommended removing these 8 parameters from the rule-making because to change the criteria to match EPA’s most recent information would be a substantial change from the proposal without opportunity for public input and comment.
**Acrolein and carbaryl are new criteria to protect the aquatic life use. Acrolein is a biocide frequently used in recirculating process water systems for slime control and carbaryl is the active ingredient in the commonly available pesticide Sevin®.
**A ‘Biotic Ligand Model’ for copper intended to be used on a site-specific basis was included. The model accounts for waterbody site specific physiochemical characteristics for organic carbon, pH, temperature, alkalinity, calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulfate instead of just hardness as the current criteria does. Potentially it could be used in lieu of a water-effects ratio study.
**The manganese criterion for waters designated as public water supply was deleted. The manganese criterion is based on a federally recommended Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) that is intended to be applied to finished drinking water as supplied to the consumers to prevent laundry staining.  As such, the current criterion is inappropriate for application to natural surface waters.
*Ammonia Criteria (9 VAC 25-260-155)
Amendments were postponed to include new nationally recommended aquatic life criteria for ammonia in freshwater. Like the current criteria, the proposed criteria are calculated as a function of temperature and pH and accounts for the presence/absence of trout and early life stages of fish. The recalculated mmonia criteria incorporate toxicity data for freshwater mussels in the family Unionidae which are the most sensitive organisms in the recalculation data base. The new criteria are more restrictive primarily because more recent toxicity data show that mussels and snails (including endangered species) are very sensitive to ammonia and the current ammonia criteria do not provide sufficient protection for these species. Site specific options to use alternate criteria calculated by omitting mussel toxicity data were proposed to be used in waters where a demonstration has been made that mussels are absent; however, consultation with USFWS [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] and DGIF [Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries] indicate freshwater mussels should be considered ubiquitous in Virginia and likely to be present in any perennial waterbody. Agency staff have recommended postponing this amendment for a future rule-making.
*Chesapeake Bay Dissolved Oxygen Criteria in (9 VAC 25-260-185)
Proposed language now clarifies that the dissolved oxygen criteria in section 9 VAC 25-260-50 are superseded by the dissolved oxygen criteria listed in 9 VAC 25-260-185 for Class II waters within the Chesapeake Bay basin.
*Nutrient Criteria for man-made lakes and reservoirs (9 VAC 25-260-187)
Three impoundments have been added to the list of reservoirs to which chlorophyll-a and total phosphorus criteria are applied: 1) Lake Orange, a DGIF owned and managed warm water fishery in Orange County that is fertilized; and, 2) Powhatan Lakes, two DGIF warm water fisheries in close proximity to each other in Powhatan County.
*Special Standards (9 VAC 25-260-310)
Special standard ‘m’ includes language to clarify that the effluent limitations applicable to all wastewater-treatment facilities in the Chickahominy River basin above Walker’s Dam only apply to treatment facilities treating an organic nutrient source.  Two new special standards (‘ee’ and ‘ff’) set a recommended maximum temperature of 26 C for Tinker Creek and 28 C for sections of the Roanoke River from May 1 – Oct 31 that are stocked with trout only during the winter months. Current maximum temperature criteria for stockable trout waters of 21 C apply year-round.
*River Basin Section Tables (9 VAC 25-260-390 – 540)
The public water supply designation for an old raw water intake on the James River in Chesterfield County, previously utilized by the American Tobacco Company, was deleted. Consultation with the Virginia Department of Health indicate no known active intake for potable water has been there in the past 35 years and VDH could not find any records about a domestic water intake at that location in years prior to 1978.  There are proposed minor clarifications/corrections to delineations for trout stream designations, basin
section description clarifications, additions of new Class VII Swamp Waters, water authority name changes, and other miscellaneous corrections.

Virginia Gas and Oil Reguations Review by STRONGER Group Conducted Aug. 8-11, 2016

In June 2016, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) announced that it had contracted with the STONGER group (State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations; online at http://www.strongerinc.org/) to conduct a comprehensive review of all of Virginia’s gas and oil regulations.  (Virginia’s gas and oil regulations are available online at https://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DMME/LawsRegs.shtml#gasoil.)  STRONGER did a similar review in 2004 (a PDF of that review is available online at http://www.strongerinc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Virginia-Initial-Review-4-2004.pdf), so the current review is being termed a “follow up.”  The group conducted the 2016 review from August 8-11 in Abingdon, and it expects to publish the “State Review Report of the 2016 Virginia Follow-Up Review” in December 2016.

Sources:
Proposed state fracking review by private group concerns environmentalists, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 6/25/16.

Virginia Natural Gas Regulations to be reviewed by STRONGER, DMME News Release, 8/3/16.

STRONGER Completes Virginia In-State Interview, STRONGER News Release, 8/11/16.

For more details on natural gas developments in Virginia, please see this News Grouper post.

Atlantic Forage Species Amendment Passed August 8, 2016, by Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council

On August 8, 2016, in a meeting in Virginia Beach, Va., the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council adopted an amendment providing a level of management and protection for over 50 species of fish and other marine animals that provide forage for larger predators.  The Mid-Atlantic Council, headquartered in Dover, Del., oversees fishery management in federal waters offshore of the Mid-Atlantic states from New York to North Carolina; it’s one of eight regional councils in the United States (for more information on the Mid-Atlantic Council, see http://www.mafmc.org/).

According to a Council presentation at the August 8 meeting (available online at http://www.mafmc.org/briefing/august-2016), the goal of the amendment, called the “Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment,” is “[t]o prohibit the development of new and expansion of existing directed commercial fisheries on unmanaged forage species in Mid-Atlantic Federal waters until the Council has had an adequate opportunity to both assess the scientific information relating to any new or expanded directed fisheries and consider potential impacts to existing fisheries, fishing communities, and the marine ecosystem.”  The measure aims to avoid situations where forage species become targeted and intensively harvested before fishery managers can assess what impacts such harvests might cause.

Additional source: Call them bait. Call them forage species. In any case, now they’re protected, Virginian-Pilot, 8/8/16.

Request for Stream Mitigation Project Proposals in Big Sandy River Basin in Virginia; Proposals Due to Nature Conservancy by August 25, 2016

On July 7, 2016, the Nature Conservancy announced a request for proposals for one or more stream mitigation projects to compensate for impacts to streams in the Big Sandy River basin in Virginia, under the Virginia Aquatic Trust Fund mitigation program.  Proposals are due by August 25, 2016.  The request for proposals is available online at http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/virginia/explore/vartf-big-sandy-river-proposal-72016.xml.

Under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and under Virginia’s Water Protection Permit Program, which implements parts of Sections 401 and 404 of the CWA, a permit is required for disturbances (clearing, filling, excavating, draining, or ditching) to wetlands or streams covered by the CWA, and such disturbances are to be mitigated be avoidance, minimization, or compensation; or more information on mitigation, see the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), “Mitigation,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WetlandsStreams/Mitigation.aspx.  The Virginia Aquatic Trust Fund is a mitigation program for impacts to streams and wetlands permitted by state and federal regulatory agencies; it’s administered by the Nature Conservancy, the Virginia DEQ, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the federal agency with primary responsibility for enforcing CWA Section 404).  More information about the Virginia Aquatic Trust Fund is available online from the Nature Conservancy at http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/virginia/explore/the-virginia-aquatic-resources-trust-fund-home.xml; and from the Virginia DEQ online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WetlandsStreams/Mitigation.aspx.

Some of the information for this post was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC).  More information about the VWMC is available online at http://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/.