Category Archives: Laws&Regs

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for May 3-16, 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

5/10/16, 9 a.m.: Gas and Oil Board.  At the Russell County Office Building, 139 Highland Drive in Lebanon.

5/12/16, 9:30 a.m.: Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects/Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Section.  At the Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

5/13/16, 9 a.m.: Board of Forestry.  At 600 East Laburnum Avenue in Richmond.

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MEETINGS OF LEGISLATIVE BODIES

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.

None during this period.

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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.

5/3/16, 9 a.m.; informal conference call on the TMDL study of aquatic life (benthic) impairments in Accotink Creek and Long Branch (Potomac River watershed) in Fairfax County.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Biosolids (Treated Wastewater Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
5/4/16, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Synagro Central, LLC, of Champlain, Va., to land-apply biosolids to 1933 acres in Loudoun County.  At the Loudoun County Public Library-Gum Spring Branch, 24600 Millstream Drive in Stone Ridge.

Chesapeake Bay
5/12/16, 1 p.m., and 5/13/16, 8 a.m. (click here for PDF with details):  Chesapeake Bay Commission.  At the Hyatt Regency Bethesda, One Bethesda Metro Center in Bethesda, Md.  According to the Commission’s Web site (http://www.chesbay.us/index.htm), the Commission is a tri-state legislative commission created in 1980 to advise the members of the General Assemblies of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania on matters of Bay-wide concern.  The commission serves as the legislative arm of the multi-jurisdictional Chesapeake Bay Program (http://www.chesapeakebay.net/), and acts in an advisory capacity to [the states’] General Assemblies.  The commission has 21 members, including 15 from the legislatures of the three states, the three state natural-resource cabinet secretaries, and three citizen representatives.

5/3/16, 1 p.m.: Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Chesapeake Bay Stakeholder Advisory Group.  At the Patrick Henry Building, East Reading Room, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond.  This stakeholder group was organized in 2014 to advise the Virginia secretary of natural resources on issues related to Virginia’s participation in the multi-state Chesapeake Bay Program.  Information on that program is available online at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/chesapeakebaywatershedagreement/page.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
5/4/16, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on the draft Virginia Pollutant Elimination Discharge System (VPDES) permit reissuance for industrial discharges and stormwater associated with the closure of the AEP/Appalachian Power Company—Clinch River Power Station coal ash ponds.  At the Russell County Public Library, 248 West Main Street in Lebanon.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, the “reissuance addresses additional industrial wastewater and stormwater discharges associated with the closure of the facility’s ash ponds pursuant to a 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Final Rule that regulates the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR).  The facility proposes to release the treated industrial wastewater, sanitary wastewater, and stormwater into the Clinch River and Dumps Creek in Russell County in the Clinch River watershed.”

Energy – Wind
5/3/16, 10:30 a.m.: Offshore Wind Development Authority.  In House Room 1 of the Capitol Building, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.  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 by collecting metocean and environmental data; identifying regulatory and administrative barriers; working with local, state, and federal government agencies to upgrade port and logistic facilities and sites; ensuring development is compatible with other ocean uses and avian/marine wildlife; and recommending ways to encourage and expedite offshore wind industry development.”

Water Quality Regulations and Standards
5/13/16, 9 a.m.: Nutrient Credit Certification Regulatory Advisory Panel.  At the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Central Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.  The 2012 Virginia General Assembly passed the Nutrient Trading Act (HB 176 and SB 77), which required regulations related to certification of nutrient credits from  non-point sources, including credits generated from best management practices for agricultural and urban stormwater, incineration or management of manures, land use conversion, stream or wetlands restoration, shellfish aquaculture, algal harvesting, and other methods of nutrient control or removal.  The relevant section of the Virginia Administrative Code is 9 VAC 25-900.  The Advisory Panel is meeting to discuss further some of the topics noted during last year’s public comment period for the proposed regulation, which closed in March 2015.  More information on the process for the current regulation proposal is available online at   http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewAction.cfm?actionid=3760.  More information about Virginia’s nutrient credit trading program generally is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/PermittingCompliance/PollutionDischargeElimination/NutrientTrading.aspx.

Closure of Coal Ash Ponds at Dominion and APCO Power Stations in Virginia; State Water Control Board on Jan. 14, 2016, Approves Dominion Proposal for Drainage into Quantico Creek and James River; Board Decision Challenged in Court; Two Settlements Announced in Early March 2016; APCO Clinch River Station Plans Discussed in Public Meeting in April 2016

For a related Water Central News Grouper post, please see Coal Ash Storage Regulation Published by U.S. EPA in Federal Register on Apr. 17, 2015; Dominion to Close Ash Ponds at Four Virginia Power Stations Within Three Years, posted 4/22/15.

In 2015-16, considerable debate and controversy resulted from Dominion Virginia Power’s plans for handling coal ash and wastewater as part of a mandated closing of coal-ash ponds at several electric-power stations.  The closure plans involved 11 ash-storage ponds at Dominion’s Possum Point, Bremo Bluff, the Chesterfield Power Station in Chesterfield County, and the Chesapeake Energy Center in the City of Chesapeake.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for a November 18, 2015, Va. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public meeting on Dominion’s closure plans (online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewMeeting.cfm?MeetingID=23654), the closure of the coal ash ponds is “pursuant to a 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final Rule that regulates the disposal of coal-combustion residuals.”  EPA information on the coal-ash regulation, which was published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2015, is available online at http://www2.epa.gov/coalash/coal-ash-rule.  On the day that the regulation was published, Dominion announced that it would comply with the new regulation by closing—within three years—coal-ash ponds at the four Virginia electric-power stations.

Dominion’s application for permits to discharge coal-ash pond water from the Possum Point Power Station into Quantico Creek in Prince William County, and from the Bremo Bluff Power Station into the James River in Fluvanna County, was approved by the Virginia State Water Control Board (SWCB) on January 14, 2016.  The proposed action had generated a large number of public comments, and a number of opposing citizens or groups were present at the Jan. 14 SWCB meeting.  On February 1, 2016, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) announced that, acting on behalf of the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, it would challenge in Richmond Circuit Court the SWCB decision on Quantico Creek.  On February 10, 2016, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted to join the legal challenge to the planned discharge into Quantico Creek, and in mid-February Maryland Gov. Lawrence Hogan notified Virginia that Maryland also intends to appeal the permit for discharge into Quantico Creek.  Also on February 10, the James River Association announced that it intended to challenge the agency decision in court over the planned discharge into the James River.  On March 8, Prince William County announced a settlement with Dominion, but the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of Potomac RiverKeeper, and Maryland Secretary for the Environment Ben Grumbles both said that they intend at this point to continue litigation over the Possum Point Station permit.  On March 9, Dominion and the James River Association announced a settlement over the permit for wastewater discharge into the James from the Bremo Bluff Station.  Both settlements included pledges by Dominion to treat the wastewater from the coal ash lagoons to a higher degree than is required by the Virginia permits approved in January 2016.

For more information from the DEQ on the permit process for Dominion’s closure plans, contact the following Va. DEQ staff members:
For water permitting – Susan Mackert, 13901 Crown Court, Woodbridge, VA 22193, phone: (703) 583-3853, e-mail: susan.mackert@deq.virginia.gov;
For solid waste permitting – Justin Williams, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, Virginia 23218, phone: (804) 698-4185, e-mail: justin.williams@deq.virginia.gov.

Meanwhile, Appalachian Power Company (APCO, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, or AEP) was under the same EPA mandate regarding ash-storage ponds at its facilities.   According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice (online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewMeeting.cfm?MeetingID=24385) for an April 20, 2016, DEQ public meeting on APCO’s Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit re-issuance application for the Clinch River Plant in Russell County, the “proposed permit also will address wastewater discharges that result from the closure of coal ash management ponds.  The closure of these ponds was necessitated by the recent conversion of the plant to use natural gas as a fuel, and by final coal ash regulations that were approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2015.  The proposed permit covers the removal of treated water from the ponds to ensure that the water quality and aquatic resources of the river are protected.”

Following are ongoing lists of news item headlines (hyperlinked) regarding developments with APCO’s plans; followed by items regarding developments regarding Dominion’s plans; items are listed from newest to oldest.  All hyperlinks were function at the time they were added to this post, but they may not be functional at later dates.

APCO-related new items (list started 4/12/16)

Public expresses concerns at [April 20, 2016] DEQ meeting on coal ash water removal into Clinch River, Bristol Herald Courier, 4/21/16.

Virginia DEQ to address public concerns at [April 20, 2016] meeting on coal ash removal from Clinch River plant, Bristol Herald Courier, 4/16/16.

Public meeting scheduled on removal of coal ash wastewater from Clinch River power plant, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 4/12/16.

DOMINION-related news items (list started 11/24/15)

Dominion begins releasing coal ash wastewater into James River, WTVR TV-Richmond, 4/27/16; Protesters hold funeral for the James River, Newsplex, 4/27/16; Dominion Virginia Power begins discharging treated coal ash water into James River, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/27/16; and Treated Coal Ash Water Flows Today, Bacon’s Rebellion, 4/27/16 [all regarding the April 27, 2016, start of discharging coal-ash wastewater into the James River from Dominion’s Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County].

Coal Ash Mishmash, Bacon’s Rebellion, 4/7/16.  [This article includes a map showing locations of Dominion Virginia Power’s coal-ash storage facilities.  Excerpt: “Dominion Virginia Power has settled disagreements with two foes over its plans to discharge coal ash wastewater from its Possum Point and Bremo power stations into Virginia’s rivers and streams, but the battle over coal ash disposal isn’t going away.  Not only are the state of Maryland and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network appealing the wastewater-discharge permit for Possum Point, but Dominion still must acquire solid-waste permits for both plants.  Also, within the next year or so, Dominion will file permit applications for its legacy coal ash ponds at Chesterfield Power Station, while Appalachian Power Co. plans to close and cap an ash pond at its Clinch River Power Station.  Determined to hold the power companies to the strictest standards possible, environmentalists have vowed to scrutinize each permit.”]
Chesterfield Power Station expected to burn coal for the foreseeable future, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/26/16.

DEQ host reconvened meeting about coal ash permits in Chesterfield, [Virginia Commonwealth University] Commonwealth Times, 3/22/16.

Editorial: It’s heartening that Dominion has reached deal with environmentalists over coal ash, [Newport News] Daily Press, 3/22/16.  [Like all editorials, this one has a particular point of view, but it provides a good, short introduction to the Dominion coal ash situation and recent events, as of mid-March 2016.]

After months of debate, board approves controversial landfill, Chesterfield Observer, 3/16/16 [Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors vote in March 2016 to approve landfill proposed by Dominion for coal ash at the Chesterfield Power Station].

Activists are teed off at Dominion’s gift to environmental official, Capital News Service, as published by WRIC TV Richmond, 3/23/16; Environmental official received gifts from Dominion, Capital News Service, as published by WRIC TV Richmond, 3/15/16; Chief of Virginia DEQ Attended Master’s Tournament on Dominion’s Dime, Style Weekly [Richmond], 3/15/16 [regarding payment of $2300 by Dominion Virginia Power for David Paylor to attend the tournament in Augusta, Ga., in April 2013].

Has Dominion’s Political Power Clouded The Fight Over Coal Ash?, WAMU Radio Washington, D.C., 3/14/16 – long article plus a 6 min./56 sec audio focusing particularly on perceptions of Dominion Virginia Power’s political influence in Virginia and on the role of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in the permits for Dominion at the Possum Point and Bremo Bluff stations.  See also follow-up audio, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on Coal Ash Permit Process, 3/22/16, 5 min./34 sec.

Riverkeepers, Dominion Spar Over Year-Old Release of Coal Ash Water, Bacon’s Rebellion, 3/25/16; Dumfries calls for coal ash probe, Inside NoVa, 3/23/16; and Virginia town asks EPA to investigate coal-ash lagoon draining, Bay Journal, 3/11/16.  [The Prince William County, Va., Town of Dumfries Council voted in early March to ask the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a criminal investigation into whether the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Dominion Virginia Power broke the law in allowing discharge of about 30 million gallons of wastewater into Quantico Creek in 2015 from the Possum Point Station, which is located near Dumfries.]

Outcry Prompts Dominion to Make Coal Ash Wastewater Cleaner, InsideClimate News, 3/10/16.

DEQ statement on settlement of lawsuits over coal ash discharge permits, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/10/16 [brief statement regarding both settlements announced on March 8 and March 9].

Virginia approves Dominion’s controversial coal ash landfill, Waste Dive, 3/17/16.

Possum Point Pact Reached, Prince William Times, 3/17/16.

Dominion Alters Plan to Discharge Coal Ash Water, Fluvanna Review, 3/15/16.

Dominion, James River Association agree to wastewater discharge plan, NBC12 Richmond, 3/9/16; Two groups settle appeals of Dominion’s coal-ash lagoon discharges, Bay Journal, 3/9/16; Dominion, James River Association Reach Understanding on Coal Ash, Bacon’s Rebellion, 3/9/16; Dominion and James River Association settle on plan for discharging treated coal ash wastewater, Virginia Business, 3/9/16 [on the settlement announced 3/9/16, between Dominion and the James River Association of the latter group’s challenge to the permit for discharging wastewater into the James River from the Bremo Bluff station].

Dominion Still Facing Opposition on Possum Point Coal Ash Plan, Bacon’s Rebellion, 3/10/16.

Md.’s environment secretary: Fight against Dominion’s coal-ash plan will continue, Washington Post, 3/9/16; Prince William supervisors settle with Dominion over coal-ash ponds, Inside NoVa, 3/8/16; Dominion [and] Prince William reach deal over Possum Point, Potomac Local, 3/8/16 [on the settlement announced 3/9/16 between Dominion and the Prince William County Board of Supervisors over the latter’s challenge to the permit for discharging wastewater into the Quantico Creek from the Possum Point station].

Angry over coal-ash water release, student activists occupy lobby of Va. regulator, Washington Post, 3/7/16

Governor McAuliffe supports Dominion’s wastewater plans, Style Weekly, 3/8/16

Water removal at Dominion coal ash ponds set to begin next month, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/8/16

17 coal ash protesters cited in DEQ lobby sit-in, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/7/16

Dominion coal ash wastewater debate centers on treatment, Associated Press, as published by Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/4/16.

As board weighs coal ash permit, citizens fight back, Chesterfield Observer, 3/2/16 [regarding coal ash at Chesterfield Power Station on the James River].

Q&A: What You Need to Know About Dominion’s Wastewater Plans for the James River, Style Weekly, 3/1/16.

Drinkable Water for Humans—or Fish?, Bacon’s Rebellion, 3/1/16 [an analysis of arguments made by parties appealing the SWCB’s approval of permits for Dominion to discharge treated water from the coal ash ponds into Quantico Creek and the James River].

River protection group challenges coal ash water discharge, Associated Press, as published by WTOP-Radio Washington, 2/27/16; and Group Challenging Decision to Allow Coal Waste in Va. Rivers, WVIR-TV Charlottesville, 2/26/16.

Virginia allows Dominion to exceed toxic limits for James River dumping, WWBT-TV Richmond, 2/25/16.

Dominion concedes, won’t import out-of-town coal ash, Chesterfield Observer, 2/24/16 [regarding application by Dominion to build a coal-ash landfill at its Chesterfield Power Station].

Maryland seeks review of Virginia decision on pollutants that could affect Potomac, Legal Newsline, 2/18/16.  Maryland challenges Dominion’s coal ash water disposal plan in Virginia, UtilityDive, 2/17/16.

Local group taps renowned professor in coal ash fight, Chesterfield Observer, 2/17/16.  [Dr. Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor whose work helped reveal lead in drinking water in Flint, Michigan, will help a Chesterfield Couny, Va., environmental group Hands Across the Lake assess lead levels in water collected from private property near Dominion Virginia Power’s Dutch Gap power plant.]

Oyster farmers hope to stop Dominion’s coal ash plan, WUSA-TV Washington, 2/17/16.

Maryland challenges Virginia on coal ash pond draining, Bay Journal, 2/16/16.

Maryland to fight Dominion plan to release coal-ash water into Va. creek, Washington Post, 2/15/16.

How Clean Is Clean Enough?, Bacon’s Rebellion, 2/12/16.

James River Association challenging Dominion Virginia Power coal ash permit, Associated Press, as published by Charlottesville Daily Progress, 2/11/16.

Environmental Group [James River Association] Challenges Discharge into James, Fluvanna Review, 2/11/16.

Battle rages on over treated coal plant water in waterways, WTOP Radio-Washington, 2/11/16.

Couple living near Bremo power plant speaks out about ash ponds, Newsplex, 2/11/16.

Permitted release of coal ash surface water continues at Possum Point, Potomac Local, 2/10/16.

Groups appeal Virginia coal ash pond draining, Bay Journal, 2/10/16 [Prince William County and the James River Association].

Report: Dominion dumped 33.7 million gallons of untreated coal ash water in Quantico Creek, Utility Dive, 2/10/16

Fluvanna Board of Supervisors host community meeting [on 2/10/16] about ash ponds [at Bremo Bluff], Newsplex, 2/11/16.

James River Association challenging Dominion Virginia Power coal ash permit, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/10/16.

Prince William to sue state over coal-ash permit, Inside NoVa, 2/10/16 [the Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Feb. 9 to appeal the SWCB decision].

Dominion released millions of gallons of coal-ash water, Inside NoVa, 2/8/16 [Virginia Dominion Power released 33.7 million gallons of untreated coal-ash water into Quantico Creek in spring 2015].

Community Meeting [on Feb. 6, 2016, in Fluvanna County, Va.] on Bremo Coal Ash Pond Dewatering Project, Newsplex, 2/5/16.

Dominion Prepares to Shut Down Coal Ash Ponds, Newsplex, 2/2/16.

Dominion under fire for coal ash disposal in county, state, Chesterfield Observer, 2/3/16.

Dominion coal ash plan to be challenged in court, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/2/16.

Court fight looms over Dominion plan to flush coal ash water, Inside NoVa, 2/1/16.

River-protection group legally challenging wastewater vote, Associated Press, as published by WTOP-Radio-Washington, 2/1/16.

Possum Point Power Station: [Prince William County, Va.] Board budgets for appeal, Prince William Times, 1/29/16.

Prince William hiring lawyer to fight Dominion coal-ash plan, Inside NoVa, 1/21/16 [regarding plan to discharge coal-ash pond water from Possum Point Station into Quantico Creek].

“Months not weeks” before Dominion drains coal ash ponds, and lawsuits likely, Bay Journal, 1/21/16 [“environmental groups and agencies that opposed the two permits granted by the State Water Control Board are planning to appeal within 30 days”].

Groups Opposing Decision Allowing Dominion to Dump Coal Ash, WVIR TV Charlottesville, 1/15/16.

State Board Gives Dominion OK to Drain Coal Ash Ponds into James [and] Potomac Rivers, Capital News Service, as published by Williamsburg Yorktown Daily, 1/17/16.

Va. board OKs permits for dewatering Va. Power’s coal ash ponds, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/14/16.

Despite Protests State OKs Drainage of Coal Ash Ponds, Woodbridge Patch, 1/15/16.

Toxic water to be treated [and] released into Potomac River, Potomac Local, 1/14/16.

Water Board Votes to Allow Release into James River, Fluvanna Review, 1/14/16.

Breaking: Dominion’s permit to drain coal ash ponds into local waters approved, Bay Journal, 1/14/16.
Dominion wants to drain coal ash ponds into local waterways, Bay Journal, 1/11/16.

Battle over Dominion coal-ash ponds heads to state water board this week, Washington Post, 1/10/16.

Swimmers, river advocates concerned over Dominion’s proposed dumping permit in James, WTVR TV, Richmond, 1/9/16.

Concern raised over Dominion’s proposal to release treated toxic coal ash in Quantico Creek, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 12/13/15.

Dominion wants to drain coal ash ponds into local waterways, Bay Journal, 12/11/15.

Toxic chemicals from power plant leak into Quantico Creek, Inside NoVa, 12/10/15.

Dominion seeks Virginia OK to dump water from coal ash sites, Associated Press, as published by Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 12/9/15.

Residents on Potomac River Coal Ash Plan: We weren’t notified, Potomac Local, 12/8/15.

River advocates wary of plan to dump water from coal ash ponds in James, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/7/15.

Palmyra Hosting Public Hearing on James River Coal Ash Dumping, WVIR TV-Charlottesville, 12/1/15.

Treat and release: What Dominion wants to do with toxic water at Possum Point, Potomac Local, 11/29/15.

Lawmakers: Give the public more time to study coal-ash pond plan, Washington Post, 11/24/15.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Apr. 26-May 9, 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

4/26/16, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

4/27/16, 9 a.m.: Board for Professional Soil Scientists, Wetland Professionals, and Geologists’ Wetland Delineator Exam Committee.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

4/28/16, 11 a.m.: Outdoors Foundation Finance, Audit, and Compliance Committee.  At 530 Westfield Rd, #200, in Charlottesville.

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MEETINGS OF LEGISLATIVE BODIES

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.

None during this period.

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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.

4/26/16, 1 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in the lower Chickahominy River and several tributaries (Barrows Creek, Beaverdam Creek, Diascund Creek, Gordon Creek, and Mill Creek), located in the James River basin in Charles City, James City, and New Kent counties.  At the Charles City County Social Center, 8320 Ruthville Road in Providence Forge.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Chesapeake Bay Agreement
5/3/16, 1 p.m.: Secretary of Natural Resources Chesapeake Bay Stakeholder Advisory Group.  At the Patrick Henry Building, East Reading Room, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond.  This stakeholder group was organized in 2014 to advise the Virginia secretary of natural resources on issues related to Virginia’s participation in the multi-state Chesapeake Bay Program.  Information on that program is available online at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/chesapeakebaywatershedagreement/page.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
5/4/16, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on the draft Virginia Pollutant Elimination Discharge System (VPDES) permit reissuance for industrial discharges and stormwater associated with the closure of the AEP/Appalachian Power Company—Clinch River Power Station coal ash ponds.  At the Russell County Public Library, 248 West Main Street in Lebanon.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, the “reissuance addresses additional industrial wastewater and stormwater discharges associated with the closure of the facility’s ash ponds pursuant to a 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Final Rule that regulates the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR).  The facility proposes to release the treated industrial wastewater, sanitary wastewater, and stormwater into the Clinch River and Dumps Creek in Russell County in the Clinch River watershed.”

Energy – Solar
5/2/16, 2 p.m.: Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority.  In House Room 1 of the Capitol Building, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.  The 2015 General Assembly (SB 1099) created this Authority to facilitate, coordinate, and support the development of the solar energy industry and solar-powered electric energy facilities in the Commonwealth.

Energy – Wind
5/3/16, 10:30 a.m.: Offshore Wind Development Authority.  In House Room 1 of the Capitol Building, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.  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 by collecting metocean and environmental data; identifying regulatory and administrative barriers; working with local, state, and federal government agencies to upgrade port and logistic facilities and sites; ensuring development is compatible with other ocean uses and avian/marine wildlife; and recommending ways to encourage and expedite offshore wind industry development.”

Groundwater
4/29/16, 1 p.m.: Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee/Work Group #2A, on Alternative Management Structures.  At the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) 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
4/26/16, 3 p.m.: Natural Bridge State Park Master Plan Advisory Committee.  At Natural Bridge Hotel, 15 Appledore Lane in Natural Bridge (Rockbridge County).

Another Chapter in Virginia Streams and Kings Grants: April 2016 Lawsuit by Craig County Property Owners over Stream Navigability Determinations by Va. Marine Resources Commission in March 2015

April 2016 brought another development in the long-running issue in Virginia of streambed ownership, Kings (or Crown) Grants, and access to waterways for navigation, recreation, or other activities.

On April 7, 2016, in Craig County Circuit Court, two citizens and two businesses that own property along Johns Creek in Craig County sued the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and VMRC Commissioner John Bull over the VMRC’s determination in March 2015 that parts of Johns Creek and 13 other streams in Virginia are navigable and therefore open for public boating, based on the drainage area of the streams sections each exceeding five square miles.  The stream sections were in the following 14 waterways: Barbours Creek, Craig County; Blackwater River (North Fork), Franklin County; Bullpasture River, Highland and Bath counties; Cedar Creek, Shenandoah County; Colliers/Buffalo Creek, Rockbridge County; Gooney Run, Warren County; Irish Creek, Rockbridge County; Jennings Creek, Botetourt County; Johns Creek, Craig County; North Creek, Botetourt County; Passage Creek, Shenandoah and Warren counties; Piney River, Amherst and Nelson counties; Potts Creek, Alleghany and Craig counties; and Wolf Creek, Bland and Tazewell counties.

The determination that these stream sections were navigable was given in a March 17, 2015, letter by VMRC Commissioner Bull to Virginia State Senator David Marsden (D-37th) of Fairfax County, who had requested the determination for these particular stream sections based on recommendations by stream-paddling enthusiasts.  (The letter from Mr. Bull to Sen. Marsden is available online at the Virginia Places Web site, at http://www.virginiaplaces.org/boundaries/kingsgrants.html; see Reference #8, as of 4/12/16).  The plaintiffs in the Craig County lawsuit claim Kings Grant ownership of the stream bottom in a part of Johns Creek declared navigable by the VMRC; the plaintiffs assert that the VMRC determination amounted to a public “taking” of property without due process or compensation, which would violate the U.S. Constitution.

News sources and ongoing list of articles (listed from oldest to newest):
State review opens Virginia waterways to the public, Roanoke Times, 8/16/15.
Craig County landowners sue over paddling, property rights, Roanoke Times, 4/10/16.

For more information:
“King’s Grants/Crown Grants,” on Charles Grymes’ “Virginia Places” Web site, online at http://www.virginiaplaces.org/boundaries/kingsgrants.html – a detailed treatment of this issue, including several maps, aerial photos, and links to pertinent documents (including the March 17, 2015, letter from VMRC Commissioner John Bull to State Sen. David Marsden; see also http://www.virginiaplaces.org/about.html for an explanation of the Virginia Places Web site, developed by Charles Grymes as part of his teaching of geography at George Mason University).

VMRC’s “Subaqueous Guidelines,” available online at http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/regulations/subaqueous_guidelines.shtm – describes regulations relevant to stream navigation and other issues concerning the beds of water bodies.

Previous Water Central News Grouper post on this issue – November 2012 Update on Court Case over Stream Ownership and Access Rights on Jackson River in Alleghany County, Va.

Virginia Water Center reports on recreational rights in Virginia waters – Inland Recreational Fishing Rights in Virginia: Implications of the Virginia Supreme Court Case Kraft v. Burr, 1999, online at http://vwrrc.vt.edu/special_reports.html#1999; and “Public Recreational Rights on Virginia’s Inland Streams,” 1980, online at http://vwrrc.vt.edu/special_reports.html#1980.

Erosion and Sediment Control Planning and Design are Focus of April 28, 2016, Workshop in Hickory, N.C., Organized by the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute

On April 28, 2016, in Hickory, N.C., the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute (located at North Carolina State University; online at https://wrri.ncsu.edu/) will hold an Erosion and Sediment Control Planning and Design Workshop for Design Professionals, Contractors, and Developers.  According to the organizers, the workshop aims to provide information on sediment control activities, requirements, and best practices in North Carolina as related to the NC Sedimentation Pollution Control Act.  Professional Development Hour (PDH) credits (for engineers and surveyors) and Continuing Education Units (for landscape architects) will be available.  More information: https://wrri.ncsu.edu/wrri-events/esc-workshop/; (919) 515-2815; e-mail: water_resources@ncsu.edu.

Virginia Toxics Release Inventory Report for 2014 Data Released March 29, 2016, by Va. DEQ

On March 29, 2016, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced publication of the latest annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), covering data reported for 2014.

According to the report’s Executive Summary, this year’s report lists types and amounts of chemicals released and reported by 436 industrial operations in the Commonwealth having 10 or more employees and reaching specific minimum amounts of toxic chemicals used.  (See p. 2 in the report Introduction to this year’s report for the list of criteria determining which operations must report.)   Virginia industries reported on 153 chemical and chemical categories, out of over 650 chemicals can chemical categories subject to TRI report.

Virginia industries reported 916.6 million pounds of chemicals managed released to the environment, transferred off-site, or managed on-site in 2014, a 5.6-percent increase from the previous year.  This included 35.2 million pounds of chemicals released on-site to the air, water and land (2.4-percent decrease from 2013 data); 66.9 million pounds transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (1.0-percent decrease from 2013); and 814.4 million pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (6.6-percent increase from 2013).

Released amounts of persistent bioaccumulative toxics (chemicals that remain in the environment for a long time, are not easily destroyed, and can build up in body tissue)—were 640,801 pounds released on-site; 819,099 pounds transferred off-site from reporting Virginia facilities for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal; and 200,232 pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery.

The report’s Executive Summary states the following about how to interpret the release information: “The Virginia TRI Report provides the public with information concerning specified toxic chemicals and chemical compounds which are manufactured, processed, or otherwise used at Virginia facilities.  Responsible use of the information can help the public and industry identify potential concerns and develop effective strategies for reducing toxic chemical usage and release.  The TRI data do not, however, represent a measure of the public’s exposure to chemicals, nor do they assess risk.  Most of the releases are regulated and permitted under other state and federal programs that are designed to protect human health and the environment.  Because of differences in report-generation schedules and receipt of reports, the information in the Virginia TRI Report will not precisely match the information in the national Toxics Release Inventory—Public Data Release, located at http://www2.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/tri-data-and-tools, as published by [the U.S.] EPA.”

The 2014 Virginia TRI report is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityPlanningEmissions/SARATitleIII/SARA313ToxicsReleaseInventory/VA2014ToxicsReleaseInventoryReport.aspx.  Reports from previous years are located online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityPlanningEmissions/SARATitleIII/SARA313ToxicsReleaseInventory.aspx.

Additional source: Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2014, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/29/16.

Strategy for Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Leasing Announced by U.S. Dept. of Interior on March 15, 2016; Rules Out Leases in Mid- and South Atlantic, Including Off Virginia’s Coast

On March 15, 2016, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper announced the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022, and the announced program rules out any leasing off the coast of Virginia for that period.  The program as announced on March 15, and its accompanying draft Environmental Impact Statement, are still subject to a public comment period following their publication in the Federal Register (see more on that below).

According to Interior’s news release on March 15, 2016 (Interior Department Announces Next Step in Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Planning Process for 2017-2022), “the program released today evaluates 13 potential lease sales in six planning areas—10 potential sales in the Gulf of Mexico and three potential sales off the coast of Alaska.  The Proposed Program does not schedule any lease sales in the Mid- and South Atlantic Program Area due to current market dynamics, strong local opposition, and conflicts with competing commercial and military ocean uses.”  The Mid- and South Atlantic Program Area includes areas offshore Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia, including Lease Sale 220, a 2.9-million acre off the coast of Virginia.

On January 27, 2015, BOEM had announced a draft program for 2017-22 that invited comment on possible leases in the Mid- and South Atlantic Program Area.  Comments on that draft proposal were part of the information evaluated by Interior in making its decision on which areas to open or keep closed for exploration in the upcoming five-year period.

BOEM’s Web site for the leasing program is http://www.boem.gov/Five-Year-Program/.  According to Interior’s March 15 news release, here are the next steps on the process of determining the 2017-22 leasing program:
“In conjunction with the announcement of the Proposed Program, the Department is also publishing a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.  The Proposed Program and Draft Programmatic EIS will be available for public comment following the publication of the documents in the Federal Register [emphasis added].  BOEM will hold public scoping meetings for areas included in the Proposed Program and will accept comments for 90 days on the Proposed Program and for 45 days on the Draft Programmatic EIS.  Following this opportunity for public comment and environmental review, the Department will prepare a Final Programmatic EIS with the Proposed Final Program (PFP).”

Following are links to news articles about the off-shore oil and gas leasing program, from newest to oldest, dating back to those that followed Interior’s January 27, 2015, announcement.

Atlantic Drilling off Table but Survey Permits Pending, Associated Press, as published by ABC News, 3/29/16.

Obama administration blocks Atlantic drilling plan supported by Virginia’s top Democrats, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/15/16.

Waters off Virginia, North Carolina out of offshore drilling plan, Virginian-Pilot, 3/15/16.

Governor McAuliffe Statement on Atlantic Oil Drilling Announcement, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 3/15/16.

In Shift, Obama Won’t Open Southeast Atlantic Coast to Drilling, New York Times, 3/15/16.

Obama administration deals an oil-drilling blow to Democratic leaders in Va., Washington Post, 3/15/16.

Navy’s concerns cited, once again, as reason to rein in drilling, Virginian-Pilot, 3/14/16.

Virginia officials want to make sure state gets a cut of potential offshore drilling money, Virginian-Pilot, 3/8/16.

Divide Grows in Southeast Over Offshore Drilling Plan, New York Times, 3/3/16.

Interior Department Announces Draft Strategy for Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing, U.S. Department of Interior News Release, 1/27/15.

Climate coalition urges no new fossil fuel leasing off Virginia, other public areas, Tidewater Review, 9/17/15.

Mid-Atlantic offshore drilling moving forward despite opposition; Bay state officials split on proposal, with some welcoming potential jobs, while other cite environmental concerns, Bay Journal, 4/29/15.

Offshore-drilling debate pits economy vs. environment, Virginian-Pilot, 2/12/15 [regarding participants in Norfolk for the Feb. 11, 2015, “open house” on offshore energy by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.]

Offshore drilling possible for Virginia?, Daily Press, 1/27/15.

Obama’s oil drilling proposal draws fire from environmentalists, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/27/15.

Ocean drilling plan excites local officials, upsets critics, Virginian-Pilot, 1/27/15.

Governor McAuliffe Statement on Interior Department’s Mid-Atlantic Offshore Plan, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 1/27/15.

Offshore drilling proposal pleases neither side of debate, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/28/15.

Here are some other related to offshore oil and gas exploration or development:
Oceana report: Offshore wind would reap twice the energy, jobs as offshore drilling, Daily Press, 1/14/15.  The January 2015 Oceana report, “Offshore Energy by the Numbers,” is available online at http://oceana.org/publications/reports/offshore-energy-numbers.

Study: Offshore oil, gas could yield 32,000 jobs, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/17/14.  The September 2014 University of Wyoming study, “Economic and Environmental Impacts of Oil and Gas Development Offshore the Delmarva, Carolinas, and Georgia,” is available here: http://www.thomasjeffersoninst.org/files/3/East%20Coast%20Energy%20Study.pdf.

Previous Water Central News Grouper items, including several on the current five-year program (2012-2017), which does not allow any activity in Lease Sale 220 off Virginia’s coastline, are available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=offshore+oil+and+gas.

Finally, two articles in 2006 in Virginia Water Central, the newsletter of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, provide historical information on the issue of offshore oil and gas in Virginia, going back at least to the 1970s: “Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration Report,” February 2006, pp. 14-17, online at https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49344 (includes excerpts from Virginia’s 2006 “Study of the Possibility of Exploring for Natural Gas in the Coastal Areas of the Commonwealth”); and “Eyes and Ayes on Off-shore Energy Exploration,” September 2006, pp. 1-4, online at https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49346.

Cartoon offshore energy

Cartoon by George Wills of Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.etsy.com/people/BlacksburgArt), published originally in “Offshore Gas and Oil Exploration Report,” Virginia Water Central, Feb. 2006, pp. 14-17, available online at https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49344.