Category Archives: Laws&Regs

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

On August 3, 2015, President Obama announced the final version of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power plan, the agency’s regulation to require existing power plants to reduce their emission of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds (often referred to as “greenhouse gases”) that contribute to global warming and climate change.

The final version differs from the proposed rule–announced in June 2014–in several ways, including setting an overall nationwide carbon-emissions reduction target (compared to 2005 levels) of 32 percent by 2030, compared to the proposed rule’s 30 percent; changing some individual state reduction percentages that were in the 2014 proposal; allowing two additional years for states to submit implementation plans (2018 instead of 2016) and for the compliance period to start (2022 instead of 2020); and offering incentives to states that achieve accomplish renewable-energy or low-income energy-efficiency actions before the deadline.

A 37-minute video of the August 3 announcement is available online at https://youtu.be/RQ6N8zN3RCA; skip to about 3 min/42 seconds to see EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy; the president’s remarks start at about 7 min/45 seconds.

Here is the link to the U.S. EPA’s 8/3/15 news release on the final rule: Fact Sheet: President Obama to Announce Historic Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants.

E&E Publishing’s “Clean Power Plan Hub” is available online at http://www.eenews.net/interactive/clean_power_plan.  At that site, users can click on any U.S. state to access information about that state’s requirements.

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

A July 2014 report assessing what large electric-utility companies were already doing (at that tme) in the areas of energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources is available online at http://www.ceres.org/resources/reports/benchmarking-utility-clean-energy-deployment-2014.

Here are links to some media accounts on the final rule (starting 8/3/15):
Obama unveils major climate change proposal, CNN, 8/3/15.

Climate change: Obama unveils Clean Power Plan, BBC News, 8/3/15.

Obama Announces Rule to Cut Carbon Emissions From Power Plants; Final regulation calls for 32% cut in emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, Wall Street Journal, 8/3/15.

U.S. Unveils Strengthened Clean Power Plan to Combat Climate Change, Climate Wire, as published by Scientific American, 8/3/15.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for July 24–August 10, 2015

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.

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

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

7/28/15, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission. At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

7/28/15, 10 a.m.: Board for Waste Management Facility Operators. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive 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.

7/28/15, 10:30 a.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.

7/28/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in East Wilderness Creek, Kimberling Creek, Nobusiness Creek, Little Walker Creek, Town Creek, and Walker Creek, located in the New River watershed in Bland and Giles counties.

8/3/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study (stressor analysis phase) of aquatic life (benthic) impairment in North Fork Catoctin Creek, located in the Potomac River basin in Loudoun County. At the Purcellville Library, 220 East Main Street in Purcellville.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Climate Change
7/31/15, 9 a.m.: Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission/Funding Workgroup. At the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 1108 East Main Street in Richmond. On July 1, 2014, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Order 19, which re-convened the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission. The Commission is to review, update, and prioritize the recommendations of the 2008 Virginia Climate Change Action Plan (available online at https://naturalresources.virginia.gov/media/3930/ccc_final_report-final_12152008.pdf). For more information, see Gov. McAuliffe’s 7/1/14 news release at https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=5342, or the governor’s executive order reconvening the Commission, online at https://governor.virginia.gov/media/3348/eo-19-convening-the-governors-climate-change-and-resiliency-update-commission.pdf.

Energy – All Sources
7/24/15, 10 a.m.: Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency. At the Patrick Henry Building, Conference Room 1, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond. On May 11, 2015, Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the formation of a committee of public officials and private citizens to help establish strategies for Virginia to reduce retail electricity consumption by 10 percent by the year 2020. The reduction-percentage goal was originally set for 2022 by the 2007 Virginia Energy Plan, but the 2014 update of that plan accelerated the timeline. The 2014 Virginia Energy Plan is available online at http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DE/2014_VirginiaEnergyPlan2.shtml. The energy-efficiency committee is chaired by the Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade and is staffed by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. More information on the committee is available in a May 11, 2015, news release from the Governor’s Office, online at https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=8388.

Energy – Fossil Fuels/Groundwater
8/3/15, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Leaking Heating Oil Tanks Cleanup Program Stakeholder Group. According to the Virginia Regulatory Townhall notice for this meeting, the state budget passed by the 2015 Virginia General Assembly required the DEQ to “form a stakeholder working group to advise DEQ [on a review of] current guidance and policy governing the cleanup of petroleum releases. The review is expected to consider [the following]: a) if DEQ’s present guidance is being applied uniformly across regional offices; b) the adequacy of DEQ’s guidance with respect to groundwater protection regulations and DEQ’s technical regulations regarding petroleum spill remediation; and c) the appropriate deductibles for homeowners.” The DEQ is to submit a report by November 30, 2015, to the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees. For more information about this review, contact Melissa Porterfield, (804) 698-4238 or e-mail: melissa.porterfield@deq.virginia.gov. Separate Grouper post 7/16/15.

Mining and Mined Land Reclamation
8/5/15, 10 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) informal conference to receive comments regarding the wastewater-discharge (NPDES, or National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems) permit-renewal application by Paramont Coal Company Virginia LLC (application 1009492). At Haysi Town Hall, 332 Main Street in Haysi (Dickenson County). The proposed permit area is located 1.8 miles northeast of Haysi on Route 608 in Dickenson County, in the Russell Fork/Big Sandy River watershed.

Ports
7/28/15, 9 a.m.: Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners (annual and regular meetings). At 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk. On 7/27/15 at the same location, the board’s Growth and Operations Committee, Finance and Audit Committee, and Executive Committee meet at 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 5 p.m., respectively; most of the committee meetings are expected to be in closed session.

Stormwater
7/29/15, 10 a.m.: Stormwater Best Management Practices Clearinghouse Committee. At the Henrico County Training Center, Room 2030, 7701 East Parham Road in Henrico. 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.

7/31/15, noon: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Stormwater Stakeholder Advisory Committee/Wordsmithing Work Group. At the DEQ’s Central Office, 629 East Main Street  in Richmond. On 8/7/15, 8:30 a.m., the Committee’s Enforcement Work Group meets at the same location. According to the Regulatory Town Hall notice about this meeting, this group was “formed by the Department of Environmental Quality, at the request of the chairs of the Senate and House natural resources committees, to consider ways to streamline and clarify the Stormwater Management Act, Erosion and Sediment Control Law, and Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, while continuing to ensure the protection of the Commonwealth’s water quality. The Group [includes] representatives of local government, agriculture, the development and engineering communities, environmental organizations, and other necessary participants.”   The DEQ’s Web page for the Virginia Stormwater Management Program is http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx.

Waste Management – Solid Waste
7/28/15, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on a draft permit modification to allow Shoosmith Landfill in Chesterfield County, regarding converting a quarry to a disposal cell. At the Smith-Wagner Building, 9501 Lucy Corr Circle in Chesterfield. The public comment period runs 6/27/15 to 8/11/15.

Water Quality Regulation and Standards
7/29/15, 2 p.m.; and 8/4/15, 2 p.m.: State Water Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public meetings on the triennial review of water-quality standards (9 VAC 25-260 in the Virginia Administrative Code.) The July 29 meeting will be at the DEQ’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949A Cox Road in Glen Allen; the August 4 meeting will be at the DEQ’s Blue Ridge Regional Office, 3019 Peters Creek Road in Roanoke. According to DEQ information online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityStandards/LawsMandates.aspx, 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. These public meetings will be for comments on proposed changes to the standards, which were published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on 6/29/15; the public comment period runs 6/29/15 to 8/28/15. More information on the proposed changes resulting from this review is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewStage.cfm?stageid=6925. Following is the DEQ’s brief summary of the proposed changes, from the Agency Background Document (or Agency Statement): “Among the most notable changes to the water quality standards are amendments to modify the ammonia criteria for the protection of freshwater aquatic life. There are also amendments modifying aquatic life criteria for 3 toxic parameters, addition of aquatic life criteria for 2 new parameters, modification of human health criteria for 8 parameters, and deletion of a public water supply parameter for taste and odor (manganese). There are changes in many other sections of the regulation during this review that include updates to the reservoir nutrient criteria section, addition of 2 site specific temperature criteria, updates to stream classifications in the river basin section tables, deletions of language that is no longer needed, and miscellaneous updates and clarifications.”

Proposed Rule on Stream Impacts from Coal Mining Announced by U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement on July 16, 2015

On July 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) announced the “Stream Protection Rule,” a proposed regulation governing what coal-mining operations must do to reduce impacts on streams from surface mining and from underground mining that has surface impacts.  OSMRE’s Web site on the proposed rule is at http://www.osmre.gov/programs/rcm/streamprotectionrule.shtm; a link to the text of the proposed rule is available there.

The proposed rule—running to 1238 pages in its pre-publication form and accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of similar length—is the latest in a series of regulatory and litigation developments since the 1977 passage of the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.  Some of those developments that led to the current proposal were the following:
*1983 OSMRE rule requiring a 100-foot buffer zone along streams;
*2008 OSMRE Stream Buffer Zone Rule allowing deposition of mining materials within the 100-foot zone, with certain requirements for reducing impacts;
*2009 Memorandum of Understanding among the Interior Department, U.S. EPA, and Army Corps of Engineers on reducing stream impacts of coal mining, simultaneously starting OSMRE’s process to develop the current proposed regulation; and
*February 2014 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacating OSMRE’s 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule and reinstating the 1983 buffer zone.

According to the OSMRE Web site (as of 7/21/15), the newly proposed rule, running to 1238 pages in its pre-publication form, is intended to do the following:
*“Define ‘material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area,’ and require that each permit specify the point at which adverse mining-related impacts on groundwater and surface water would reach that level of damage.” *“Require mine operators to collect adequate pre-mining data about the site of the proposed mining operation and adjacent areas to establish an adequate baseline for evaluation of the impacts of mining and the effectiveness of reclamation.”
*“Adjust monitoring requirements to enable timely detection and correction of any adverse trends in the quality or quantity of surface water and groundwater or the biological condition of streams.”
*“Ensure protection or restoration of perennial and intermittent streams and related resources, ensure that mine operators and regulatory authorities make use of the most current science and technology, and ensure that land disturbed by mining operations is restored to a condition capable of supporting the uses that it was capable of supporting prior to mining.”

The proposal also addresses bonding on mining companies to set aside money for required restoration activities.  According to the draft rule (p. 446), the proposal would “[add] provisions for the use of financial assurances to guarantee treatment of long-term discharges, [modify] the provisions governing alternative bonding systems, and [add] more specific criteria and procedures to the provisions governing bond release.”

The proposed rule’s announcement raised immediate objections from the National Mining Association, some elected officials from mining states like West Virginia, and others about its potential economic impacts.  On the other hand, some environmental organizations criticized the proposal for allowing some variance, under certain conditions, from the 100-foot buffer requirement established in 1983; those conditions are described in the proposed rule on p.364 (part of the section entitled, “What additional requirements apply to proposed activities in, through, or adjacent to streams?”).

The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. Starting in September 2015, OSMRE will hold public hearings on the proposed rule in Charleston, W. Va.; Denver; Lexington, Ky.; Pittsburgh; and St. Louis.

Additional sources for this post and for more information:
Interior Department Unveils Proposed Stream Protection Rule to Safeguard Communities from Coal Mining Operations, U.S. Department of Interior News Release, 7/16/15.

National Mining Association Calls on Congress to Block OSM’s Costly, Unnecessary Stream Rule
, National Mining Association News Release, 7/16/15.

Interior unveils rule aimed at protecting streams from mining
, and Industry vows to fight ‘needless and conflicting’ stream rule, both from Greenwire, E&E Publishing, 7/16/15 (subscription required for access).

Triennial Review of Virginia’s Water-quality Standards in Public Comment Period June 29–August 28, 2015; Public Meeting on July 29

From June 29–August 28, 2015, Virginia is accepting public comments on proposed changes 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. On July 29, 2015, 2 p.m., at the DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen, the State Water Control Board and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a public meeting on proposed changes from the current review, which were published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on June 29, 2015.

More information on the proposed changes resulting from this review is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewStage.cfm?stageid=6925.  Following is the DEQ’s brief summary of the proposed changes, from the Agency Background Document (or Agency Statement) available at that Web site:
“Among the most notable changes to the water quality standards are amendments to modify the ammonia criteria for the protection of freshwater aquatic life. There are also amendments modifying aquatic life criteria for 3 toxic parameters, addition of aquatic life criteria for 2 new parameters, modification of human health criteria for 8 parameters, and deletion of a public water supply parameter for taste and odor (manganese). There are changes in many other sections of the regulation during this review that include updates to the reservoir nutrient criteria section, addition of 2 site specific temperature criteria, updates to stream classifications in the river basin section tables, deletions of language that is no longer needed, and miscellaneous updates and clarifications.”

More information from the DEQ on the Commonwealth’s water-quality standards is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityStandards.aspx.

Virginia Reviewing Policies on Clean-up from Leaking Heating Oil Tanks; Report Due to General Assembly by November 30, 2015

The state budget passed by 2015 Virginia General Assembly required the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to conduct a review of current guidance and policy governing the cleanup of petroleum releases.  The DEQ was also required to form a stakeholder group to offer advice during the review process.   According to the Virginia Regulatory Townhall notice for the stakeholder group’s August 3, 2015, meeting, the review is expected to consider the following: “a) if DEQ’s present guidance is being applied uniformly across regional offices; b) the adequacy of DEQ’s guidance with respect to groundwater protection regulations and DEQ’s technical regulations regarding petroleum spill remediation; and c) the appropriate deductibles for homeowners.”

For more information about this review, contact Melissa Porterfield, (804) 698-4238 or e-mail: melissa.porterfield@deq.virginia.gov.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for July 17–August 3, 2015

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.

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

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

7/20/15, 2 p.m.: Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services. At the Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 33446 Research Drive in Painter (Accomack County).

7/21/15, 9 a.m.: Gas and Oil Board. At the Russell County Office Building, 139 Highland Drive in Lebanon.

7/23/15, 9 a.m.: Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

7/28/15, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission. At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

7/28/15, 10 a.m.: Board for Waste Management Facility Operators. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive 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.

7/22/15, 10 a.m.: State Water Commission. At House Room D, General Assembly Building, 9th & Broad Streets in Richmond. The State Water Commission was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1990. Its purpose, according to Virginia Code section 30-187, is to “study all aspects of water supply and allocation problems in the Commonwealth, whether these problems are of a quantitative or qualitative nature; [and] coordinate the legislative recommendations of all other state entities having responsibilities with respect to water supply and allocation issues….” More information about the Commission is available online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/swc.htm.

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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.

7/16/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study (stressor analysis phase) of aquatic life (benthic) impairment in Kits Creek (Meherrin River/Chowan River watershed) in Lunenburg County. At the Lunenburg Courts Building, 160 Courthouse Square in Lunenburg.

7/20/15, 1 p.m., on the TMDL study of aquatic life (benthic) impairments in Long Meadow Run and Turley Creek, located in the North Fork Shenandoah River watershed in Rockingham County. At the Massanutten Regional Library Downtown Branch, 174 South Main Street in Harrisonburg.

7/22/15, 10 a.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacterial impairments in Brewers Creek and Chuckatuck Creek, located in the Hampton Roads/Chesapeake Bay watershed in Isle of Wight County and the City of Suffolk. At CE&H Ruritan Hall, 8881 Eclipse Drive in Suffolk.

7/28/15, 10:30 a.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.

7/28/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in East Wilderness Creek, Kimberling Creek, Nobusiness Creek, Little Walker Creek, Town Creek, and Walker Creek, located in the New River watershed in Bland and Giles counties.

8/3/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study (stressor analysis phase) of aquatic life (benthic) impairment in North Fork Catoctin Creek, located in the Potomac River basin in Loudoun County. At the Purcellville Library, 220 East Main Street in Purcellville.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Climate Change
7/20/15, 2 p.m.: Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission/Land Use and Transportation Workgroup. At the Patrick Henry Building, Conference Room 3, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond. On 7/22/15, 2 p.m., the Commission’s Energy Workgroup meets at the same location. On 7/31/15, 9 a.m., the Commission’s Funding Workgroup meets at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 1108 East Main Street in Richmond. On July 1, 2014, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Order 19, which re-convened the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission. The Commission is to review, update, and prioritize the recommendations of the 2008 Virginia Climate Change Action Plan (available online at https://naturalresources.virginia.gov/media/3930/ccc_final_report-final_12152008.pdf). For more information, see Gov. McAuliffe’s 7/1/14 news release at https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=5342, or the governor’s executive order reconvening the Commission, online at https://governor.virginia.gov/media/3348/eo-19-convening-the-governors-climate-change-and-resiliency-update-commission.pdf.

Coastal Flooding
7/21/15, 1 p.m.: Joint Subcommittee to Formulate Recommendations to Address Recurrent Flooding. House Room C, General Assembly Building in Richmond. The subcommittee was created by the 2014 Virginia General Assembly (HJR 16 and SJR 3) to make recommendations for a comprehensive planning effort to address recurrent flooding in Virginia’s Tidewater and Eastern Shore, particularly as climate change is expected to increase extreme weather events. Information on the work of this subcommittee is available from the Division of Legislative Services, online at http://dls.virginia.gov/interim_studies_flooding.html; and in a July 23, 2014, news release from the chair of the subcommittee, Del. Chris Stolle (R-83rd) of Virginia Beach, online at http://chrisstolle.com/chris-stolle-elected-as-chair-of-general-assembly-joint-subcommittee-on-recurrent-flooding.

Energy – Fossil Fuels/Groundwater
8/3/15, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Leaking Heating Oil Tanks Cleanup Program Stakeholder Group. According to the Virginia Regulatory Townhall notice for this meeting, the state budget passed by the 2015 Virginia General Assembly required the DEQ to “form a stakeholder working group to advise DEQ [on a review of] current guidance and policy governing the cleanup of petroleum releases. The review is expected to consider [the following]: a) if DEQ’s present guidance is being applied uniformly across regional offices; b) the adequacy of DEQ’s guidance with respect to groundwater protection regulations and DEQ’s technical regulations regarding petroleum spill remediation; and c) the appropriate deductibles for homeowners.” The DEQ is to submit a report by November 30, 2015, to the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees. For more information about this review, contact Melissa Porterfield, (804) 698-4238 or e-mail: melissa.porterfield@deq.virginia.gov.

Ports
7/28/15, 9 a.m.: Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners (annual and regular meetings).  At 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk.  On 7/27/15 at the same location, the board’s Growth and Operations Committee, Finance and Audit Committee, and Executive Committee meet at 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 5 p.m., respectively; most of the committee meetings are expected to be in closed session.

Stormwater
7/20/15, 1 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Stormwater Stakeholder Advisory Group/Wordsmithing Workgroup. At the DEQ Central Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond. On 7/21/15, 10:30 a.m., the Enforcement Workgroup meets at the same location.  According to the Regulatory Town Hall notice about this meeting, this group was “formed by the Department of Environmental Quality, at the request of the chairs of the Senate and House natural resources committees, to consider ways to streamline and clarify the Stormwater Management Act, Erosion and Sediment Control Law, and Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, while continuing to ensure the protection of the Commonwealth’s water quality.  The Group [includes] representatives of local government, agriculture, the development and engineering communities, environmental organizations, and other necessary participants.”   The DEQ’s Web page for the Virginia Stormwater Management Program is http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx.

7/29/15, 10 a.m.: Stormwater Best Management Practices Clearinghouse Committee. At the Henrico County Training Center, Room 2030, 7701 East Parham Road in Henrico.  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.

Waste Management – Solid Waste
7/28/15, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on a draft permit modification to allow Shoosmith Landfill in Chesterfield County, regarding converting a quarry to a disposal cell. At the Smith-Wagner Building, 9501 Lucy Corr Circle in Chesterfield. The public comment period runs 6/27/15 to 8/11/15.

Water Quality Regulation and Standards
7/29/15, 2 p.m.: State Water Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public meeting on the triennial review of water-quality standards (9 VAC 25-260 in the Virginia Administrative Code.) At the DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949A Cox Road in Glen Allen. According to DEQ information online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityStandards/LawsMandates.aspx, 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. This public meeting will be for comments on proposed changes to the standards, which were published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on 6/29/15; the public comment period runs 6/29/15 to 8/28/15.  More information on the proposed changes resulting from this review is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewStage.cfm?stageid=6925.  Following is the DEQ’s brief summary of the proposed changes, from the Agency Background Document (or Agency Statement): “Among the most notable changes to the water quality standards are amendments to modify the ammonia criteria for the protection of freshwater aquatic life. There are also amendments modifying aquatic life criteria for 3 toxic parameters, addition of aquatic life criteria for 2 new parameters, modification of human health criteria for 8 parameters, and deletion of a public water supply parameter for taste and odor (manganese). There are changes in many other sections of the regulation during this review that include updates to the reservoir nutrient criteria section, addition of 2 site specific temperature criteria, updates to stream classifications in the river basin section tables, deletions of language that is no longer needed, and miscellaneous updates and clarifications.”

Chesapeake Bay TMDL Upheld by Federal Appeals Court on July 6, 2015

On July 6, 2015, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, located in Philadelphia, upheld a September 2013 lower court ruling in favor of the U.S. EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution-prevention plan (first published in December 2010), in a lawsuit by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Home Builders Association, and other organizations.  The Appeals Court panel had heard oral arguments in November 2014.

The case is American Farm Bureau v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; case number 13-4079; access to a PDF of the Appeals Court’s opinion is available online at http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinions-and-oral-arguments  (click on the “Search for Opinions” link and use the case number).

EPA information on the TMDL is available online at http://www.epa.gov/chesapeakebaytmdl/.   Farm Bureau information about the case is available online at http://www.fb.org/legal/recentDocket/51/.

The Farm Bureau and the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit—first filed in January 2011—were appealing the September 13, 2013, ruling in favor of the EPA by Judge Sylvia H. Rambo in the federal district court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The lawsuit alleged that the EPA exceeded its authority at the expense of state authority, used inaccurate or inadequate scientific information, and followed too short a regulatory timetable in developing the TMDL, but Judge Rambo upheld both the process and substance of the EPA’s actions.

During the appeals process, among the Bay watershed states, Virginia and Maryland filed briefs supporting the EPA; Delaware and the District of Columbia joined in Maryland’s brief; neither Pennsylvania nor New York filed a briefs on either side of the lawsuit; and West Virginia joined 20 other states and several Bay-watershed counties in filed in support of the Farm Bureau and other plaintiffs.  Several of the states supporting the Farm Bureau lawsuit are in the Mississippi River drainage, and part of their concern was that approval of the EPA process in the Chesapeake Bay may lead the agency to seek a TMDL for the impacts on the Gulf of Mexico of agriculture or other land uses in the vast Mississippi River basin.

Sources:
US appeals court upholds Chesapeake Bay clean-up plan, Washington Post, 7/6/15.
Court upholds EPA in putting Chesapeake Bay on ‘pollution diet’, Baltimore Sun, 7/6/15.
Appeals Court hears oral arguments on Chesapeake Bay TMDL, Bay Journal, 11/24/14.
Pennsylvania won’t defend Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan in court, but ‘actively supports it’, Lancaster (Penn.) Online 5/13/14.
Challenge to Chesapeake cleanup tests EPA power, Associated Press, as published by Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/29/14.
Virginia Files Amicus Brief In Support Of Chesapeake Bay Restoration, Virginia Attorney General’s Office News Release, 4/10/14.
Fight Over Chesapeake Bay Clean-Up, WVTF-FM (Roanoke, Va.), 2/5/14.
Wicomico [County, Md.] Joins Effort to Modify EPA Chesapeake Cleanup Plan, Delmarva Public Radio, 2/24/14.
Lancaster County [Penn.] joins fight against EPA in setting pollution limits for farmers, Lancaster (Pa.) Online, 2/4/14.
21 states, 8 counties join Farm Bureau challenge to Bay TMDL, Bay Journal, 2/5/14.
Virginia growers upset with latest Chesapeake Bay ruling, Southeast Farm Press, 9/18/13.
Judge upholds pollution fight in Chesapeake Bay cleanup, Associated Press, as published in Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/15/13.
EPA can go forward with plan to limit pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, Washington Post, 9/13/13.

Previous Water Central News Grouper items (from 2011 to 2014) on this lawsuit are available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=American+Farm+Bureau+Federation.