Category Archives: Laws&Regs

$1.2 Billion Requested for U.S. Geological Survey in President’s Budget Proposal of Feb. 9, 2016

The Fiscal Year 2017 federal budget proposed by President Obama on February 9, 2016, includes $1.2 billion for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), an increase of $106.8 million over the 2016 enacted level for that agency.  The USGS proposal is part of the proposed $13.4 billiion for the entire Department of Interior.

Following is a long excerpt from the USGS’ 2/9/16 news release on the proposed budget, listing the main areas of funding and the proposed increases over 2016 levels.  For more detailed information on the proposed USGS budget, visit the USGS’ Budget, Planning, and Integration Web site, http://www.usgs.gov/budget/2017/.  For more information on the proposed budgets for other federal agencies, visit see The White House’s “Agency Fact Sheets,” online at https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/agency-fact-sheets.

Water Resources

The FY 2017 USGS budget request provides an increase of $17.3 million above the FY2016 enacted level for Water Resources research for a total of $228 million.  The budget requests $60.2 million for Water Resources programs to use in matching State, municipality, and Tribal contributions for cooperative water efforts. This includes a $4 million increase under the Water Availability and Use Science Program to develop a near real-time assessment of regional and national water-use trends during drought periods.  Other increases totaling $8.1 million would integrate water information from multiple agencies, provide state water resource agencies with the necessary base data at the resolution needed for decision making, and would develop better methods for sampling, estimating, aggregating, and presenting water use data. …

The USGS budget also includes a $1.4 million increase for the Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program to expand the use of flood inundation mapping and rapidly deployable streamgages….

The National Water Quality Assessment Program increase of $3.5 million will enhance long-term surface- and groundwater-quality monitoring in Cycle 3 of the Program. …

Natural Hazards

The FY 2017 USGS budget request for Natural Hazards includes a $10.7 million increase above the FY 2016 enacted level for a total of $149.7 million.  It funds science to help protect the Nation’s safety, security, and economic well-being, to make the United States more resilient to natural hazards, and to develop user driven tools to make communities safer.

The Earthquake Hazards Program increase of $1.7 million would fund induced seismicity research related to unconventional oil and gas production and improve earthquake monitoring by assuming long-term operations of about 160 seismographs in the Central and Eastern U.S.  An additional $860,000 would fund sensors at select Global Seismographic Network sites.  The budget continues funding of $8.2 million to implement a limited earthquake early warning system on the West Coast by expanding seismometer coverage outward around major urban areas, integrating fault slip data into the system, developing and testing the system to improve reliability, and end-user education efforts on how to understand and use alerts.

The Natural Hazards budget increase includes a Coastal and Marine Geology Program increase of $5.8 million, which would benefit coastal communities, including those in the Arctic, dealing with sea-level rise, severe storms, and melting permafrost.  The increase would also fund research and modeling to apply findings from Hurricane Sandy to other parts of the U.S. coastline.

An increase of $1.7 million for the Geomagnetism Program would enhance USGS monitoring of electrical currents in the Earth’s crust, and improve global magnetic field data.  This monitoring by USGS is an integral component of the National Space Weather Strategy to protect against the harmful effects of magnetic storms. …

In addition, an increase of $0.5 million in the Landslide Hazards Program would expand post-wildfire debris-flow hazard assessments and bolster the USGS capacity to respond to landslide crises.

Energy and Minerals Resources, and Environmental Health

The FY 2017 budget request for Energy and Minerals Resources, and Environmental Health (EMEH) is $5 million above the FY 2016 enacted level, for a total of $99.5 million.  This includes a $1.6 million increase to the Mineral Resources Program for identifying and evaluating new sources of critical minerals and for new science and tools to reduce the impacts of minerals extraction, production, and recycling on the global environment and human health.  The Energy Resources Program’s proposed $1.4 million increase includes funds for unconventional oil and gas (UOG) research and assessments, evaluation of waters produced during UOG development, and assessments of undiscovered UOG on Alaska’s North Slope. …

The increase includes an additional $3.1 million for Environmental Health research, with $1.3 million under the Contaminant Biology Program and $1.8 million under the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program.  This research will assess potential biological effects of UOG on living organisms, including humans; study environmental contamination from spills and other releases of liquid and solid wastes from UOG development in West Virginia and North Dakota; and establish real-time water-quality monitoring along the northeast U.S. coast.  These studies also will examine mercury and pesticide contamination in the Columbia River basin, and assess impacts of uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region. This research will inform decisions on new uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region.

Core Science Systems

The FY 2017 budget request for Core Science Systems is $6.8 million above the FY2016 enacted level, for a total of $118.4 million.  Of the increase, $4.9 million would fund elevation data acquisition within the National Geospatial Program.  This includes a $1.5 million increase to modernize mapping and collect ifsar (interferometric synthetic aperture radar) elevation data in Alaska.  …It also includes $2.4 million to acquire lidar data (measuring distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light) and enhance landscape-scale 3-D maps for the Nation. …The proposed increase also provides $1 million to collect lidar data along the U.S. coast.  These data help to understand and mitigate the effects of coastal erosion and storm surge and support management of the Chesapeake Bay.  An additional increase of $1 million would complete the National Hydrography Database at a 1:24,000 scale for the conterminous 48 states, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. …The overall increase for Core Science Systems also funds research addressing pollinators and drought response.

Ecosystems

The FY 2017 USGS budget request for Ecosystems is $13.7 million above the FY 2016 enacted level for a total of $173.9 million.  This includes a $4.9 million increase to the Environments Program for critical landscapes such as sage steppe and the Arctic.  The increase for sage steppe supports the priority needs of managers to design conservation and management strategies for greater sage grouse; address changing fire regimes, drought and shifting climates; control the spread of invasive cheatgrass; and restore and manage the sage steppe landscape.  The Arctic increase would fund research to inform communities and land managers about changes in the Arctic and how they affect the broader physical environment: altering stream flows, disrupting ocean currents and the fisheries that depend on them, changing ecosystems, and affecting the availability of resources.  The Environments Program increase also funds research to support drought and wildfire response.

The Ecosystems budget request includes $3.2 million in new funding for the Fisheries Program to develop decision support tools for water ecology, to assess Great Lakes fisheries, and to process offshore samples that could provide an early warning for harmful algal blooms.

The budget increase for Ecosystems includes an additional $2.5 million under the Invasive Species Program for research on new and emerging invasive species of national concern and to develop and improve tools for early detection and control, such as advanced molecular detection of sea lamprey and other invasive species found at very low densities in the field.

The proposed Ecosystems increase also includes a $1.7 million increase through the Status and Trends Program for research to maintain native pollinators that help the Nation maintain its food supplies.

Climate and Land-Use Change

The FY 2017 USGS budget provides an increase of $31.5 million over the FY 2016 enacted level for Climate and Land-Use Change (CLU) research, for a total of $171.4 million.  This includes a $15.4 million increase to develop the Landsat 9 ground system to accelerate the satellite’s launch from 2023 to 2021 and to ensure access to the Nation’s remote sensing data.  An increase of $2.2 million would enable access to Sentinel-2 satellite data from the European Space Agency, and an increase of $3 million would allow the development of the computing and online storage resources necessary to rapidly produce and widely disseminate a set of Landsat-based information products.

The CLU increase also provides an additional $4.2 million to better understand patterns and manage the effects of drought.  This includes new tools to better manage water nationwide such as near real-time satellite based drought monitoring.  Drought impacts on natural and agricultural systems that would be assessed include soil moisture, evapotranspiration rates, vegetation response, and other metrics.  …The increase includes $1.8 million for new tools to improve water management nationwide and use remote sensing to support additional aspects of the National Water Census.

The budget includes a $1.5 million increase to establish a Great Lakes Climate Science Center to help increase and improve focus on the many climate-related natural resource challenges in the Great Lakes region, and a $1.4 million increase would fund work with tribes on climate adaptation.  In addition, $2.4 million would go to critical landscape studies in the Arctic to develop predictive models of changes to the environment from the conversion of ice and snow to water and to estimate glacier loss in Alaska and potential changes in freshwater input.  A $500,000 increase would fund imagery datasets and analytical tools for improved coastal resource management and planning for resilient coastal landscapes and communities.

Clean Power Plan Lawsuit Against U.S. EPA – Supreme Court on Feb. 9, 2016, Grants Stay of Regulation Implementation While Litigation Proceeds

Here’s a quick update–as of February 9, 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 most recent)

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.

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.

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

Supreme Court Puts Obama’s Clean Power Plan on Hold
, Associated Press, as published by New York Times, 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 Feb. 9-22, 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

2/10/16, 9:30 a.m.: Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Section of the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

2/16/16, 9 a.m.: Gas and Oil Board. At the Russell County Office Building, 139 Highland Drive in Lebanon.

2/17/16, 9 a.m.: Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board. At the Perimeter Center, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

2/18/16, 11 a.m.: Aquaculture Advisory Board. At the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, 12580 West Creek Parkway in Richmond.

2/20/16, 11 a.m.: Cave Board. At James Madison University, 7325 Memorial Hall in Harrisonburg.

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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.

1/13/16 to 3/12/15 (scheduled adjournment date), Richmond: Virginia General Assembly. The 2016 General Assembly convenes on January 13 and is scheduled for 60 days; this is a so-called “long session,” which is held in all even-numbered years.  (Thirty-day “short sessions,” often extended to 45 days, are scheduled for each odd-numbered year.)  During long sessions, the Commonwealth’s budget for the upcoming two years is set; amendments to the current biennial budget may be considered both in long and short sessions. In some years, sessions are extended beyond the scheduled length, particularly for budget discussions (any session may be extended for up to 30 days). The General Assembly’s main Web page is http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/index.php; at that site, click on the “Members and Sessions” for session calendars. The House of Delegates meeting schedule is available at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/schedule/meetingSchedule.php; live video streams of floor sessions from the House are available at http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3. The Senate meeting schedule and the floor sessions’ live video stream are available at http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3.

Committees are key parts of the General Assembly process. Legislation about water or about activities that can affect water may be assigned to any of several standing committees, most of which meet weekly during the General Assembly session. Information about all standing committees—including membership, meeting times, and legislation being considered—is available online at http://lis.virginia.gov/151/com/COM.HTM. Two committees that receive many (but by no means all!) of the water-related bills are the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m., in House Room C of the General Assembly Building; and the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Thursdays, one-half hour after adjournment of the day’s floor session, in Senate Room B of the General Assembly Building. The General Assembly Building is located at 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

Relevant subcommittee meetings for this period:

2/9/16, 7:30 a.m.: Senate Finance Committee/Economic Development and Natural Resources Subcommittee. 10th Floor Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/9/16: House Commerce and Labor Committee/Special Subcommittee on Energy. The full committee meets one-half hour after adjournment of the full Senate; then the subcommittee meets immediately after adjournment of the full committee. In House Room D, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/10/16, 3:30 p.m.: House Appropriations Committee/Agriculture, Commerce, Technology and Natural Resources Subcommittee. 9th Floor Appropriations Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/10/16, 4 p.m.: House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources/Natural Resources Subcommittee. 8th Floor West Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/11/16, 4 p.m.: House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources/Chesapeake Subcommittee. 5th Floor East Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

Natural resource-related caucus meetings for this period:

2/11/16, 7 a.m.: Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. 6th Floor Speaker’s Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/11/16, 8 a.m.: Outdoor Recreation Caucus. 5th Floor East Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th 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.

None during this period.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Energy – All
2/12/16, 9 a.m.; and 2/19/16, 9 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stakeholder group on the federal Clean Power Plan regulation for carbon emissions (emissions of greenhouse gases).   At the DEQ Central Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond. According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice about this meeting: “A stakeholders group has been established to advise and assist the Commonwealth on elements that could be included in the state compliance plan to meet the final U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule for the control of greenhouse gases. The purpose of [the 11/12/15 meeting] is for DEQ to coordinate and facilitate discussions of this group in an effort to find common ground and elements that could be included in the state compliance plan for the Commonwealth.” More information on the Clean Power Plan is available from the DEQ online at http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/Air/GreenhouseGasPlan.aspx,” or from the EPA online at http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards.

Mining
2/9/16, 10 a.m.: Three DMME informal hearings, all at the DMME Office, 135 Highland Drive in Lebanon (Russell County). Click on the numbers below to go to Regulatory Town Hall information for a particular issue:
1—On Notice of Violation JRJ0002471 issued to Virginia Fuel Corporation. The mine site is 3.6 miles west of Appalachia near Exeter (Wise County) in the Powell River/Upper Tennessee River basin.

2—On Cessation Order for Failure to Abate RDS0011216 issued to A & G Coal Corporation. The mine site 1 mile north of Stonega (Wise County) on Callahan Creek in the Powell River/Upper Tennessee River basin.

3—On Notice of Violation RDS0011182 issued to A & G Coal Corporation. The mine site is 1 mile northwest of Roda (Wise County) on Black Mountain in the Powell River/Upper Tennessee River basin.

Waste Management – Hazardous Waste
2/10/16, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on an application for reissuance of permit for site-wide corrective action at Radford Army Ammunition Plant, located on the New River in Montgomery County. At the Radford Public Library, 30 West Main Street in Radford. The purpose of the public meeting is to discuss a draft corrective-action permit that will allow the facility to continue site-wide corrective action for identified solid waste management units, hazardous waste management units, and areas of concern. The public comment period on the draft permit runs 12/22/15 to 2/26/16. The draft permit and a fact sheet are available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/LandProtectionRevitalization/PublicNotices.aspx.

On Virginia Water Radio for 2-8-16: Take Your Turn at Saying Yea or Nay to Some Water-related Bills in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of February 8, 2016, is “Voting on Water in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly.”  The 4 min./38 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2016/02/episode-302-2-8-16-voting-on-water-in.html, gives YOU the chance to imagine how you might vote on five water-related bills in the current session of the Virginia legislature.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Feb. 2-Feb. 15, 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

2/10/16, 9:30 a.m.: Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Section of the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

*          *          *

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.

1/13/16 to 3/12/15 (scheduled adjournment date), Richmond: Virginia General Assembly. The 2016 General Assembly convenes on January 13 and is scheduled for 60 days; this is a so-called “long session,” which is held in all even-numbered years.  (Thirty-day sessions (“short sessions”) are scheduled for each odd-numbered year.) During long sessions, the Commonwealth’s budget for the upcoming two years is set; amendments to the current biennial budget may be considered both in long and short sessions. In some years, sessions are extended beyond the scheduled length, particularly for budget discussions (any session may be extended for up to 30 days). The General Assembly’s main Web page is http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/index.php; at that site, click on the “Members and Sessions” for session calendars. The House of Delegates meeting schedule is available at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/schedule/meetingSchedule.php; live video streams of floor sessions from the House are available at http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3. The Senate meeting schedule and the floor sessions’ live video stream are available at http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3.

Committees are key parts of the General Assembly process. Legislation about water or about activities that can affect water may be assigned to any of several standing committees, most of which meet weekly during the General Assembly session. Information about all standing committees—including membership, meeting times, and legislation being considered—is available online at http://lis.virginia.gov/151/com/COM.HTM. Two committees that receive many (but by no means all!) of the water-related bills are the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m., in House Room C of the General Assembly Building; and the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Thursdays, one-half hour after adjournment of the day’s floor session, in Senate Room B of the General Assembly Building. The General Assembly Building is located at 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

Relevant subcommittee meetings for this period:

2/2/16, 7:30 a.m., and 2/9/16, 7:30 a.m.: Senate Finance Committee/Economic Development and Natural Resources Subcommittee. 10th Floor Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/3/16, 3 p.m.: House Appropriations Committee/Agriculture, Commerce, Technology and Natural Resources Subcommittee. 9th Floor Appropriations Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/3/16, 4 p.m.: House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources/Natural Resources Subcommittee. 8th Floor West Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/4/16, 4 p.m.: House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources/Chesapeake Subcommittee. 5th Floor East Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

Natural resource-related caucus meetings for this period:

2/4/16, 7 a.m.: Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. 6th Floor Speaker’s Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

*          *          *

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.

None during this period.

*          *          *

MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Energy – All
2/12/16, 9 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stakeholder group on the federal Clean Power Plan regulation for carbon emissions (emissions of greenhouse gases).   At the DEQ Central Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond. According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice about this meeting: “A stakeholders group has been established to advise and assist the Commonwealth on elements that could be included in the state compliance plan to meet the final U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule for the control of greenhouse gases. The purpose of [the 11/12/15 meeting] is for DEQ to coordinate and facilitate discussions of this group in an effort to find common ground and elements that could be included in the state compliance plan for the Commonwealth.” More information on the Clean Power Plan is available from the DEQ online at http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/Air/GreenhouseGasPlan.aspx,” or from the EPA online at http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards.

Mining
2/4/16, 10:30 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) informal hearing to review notice of violation RYH0010259 for Jewell Smokeless Coal Corporation. At the company office at 440 Putnam Bypass in Honaker (Russell County). The mine site is 8 miles southwest of Vansant (Buchanan County) on Fox Creek, in the Russell Fork/Big Sandy River basin.

2/9/16, 10 a.m.: Three DMME informal hearings, all at the DMME Office, 135 Highland Drive in Lebanon (Russell County). Click on the numbers below to go to Regulatory Town Hall information for a particular issue:
1—On Notice of Violation JRJ0002471 issued to Virginia Fuel Corporation. The mine site is 3.6 miles west of Appalachia near Exeter (Wise County) in the Powell River/Upper Tennessee River basin.

2—On Cessation Order for Failure to Abate RDS0011216 issued to A & G Coal Corporation. The mine site 1 mile north of Stonega (Wise County) on Callahan Creek in the Powell River/Upper Tennessee River basin.

3—On Notice of Violation RDS0011182 issued to A & G Coal Corporation. The mine site is 1 mile northwest of Roda (Wise County) on Black Mountain in the Powell River/Upper Tennessee River basin.

Ports
2/3/16, 4 p.m.: Virginia Port Authority Executive Committee. At 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk. Also on that day at the same location, the Port Authority’s Growth and Operations Committee will meet at 1 p.m., and the Finance and Audit Committee will meet at 2:30 p.m.

2/4/16: Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners. At 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk.

Waste Management – Hazardous Waste
2/10/16, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on an application for reissuance of permit for site-wide corrective action at Radford Army Ammunition Plant, located on the New River in Montgomery County. At the Radford Public Library, 30 West Main Street in Radford. The purpose of the public meeting is to discuss a draft corrective-action permit that will allow the facility to continue site-wide corrective action for identified solid waste management units, hazardous waste management units, and areas of concern. The public comment period on the draft permit runs 12/22/15 to 2/26/16. The draft permit and a fact sheet are available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/LandProtectionRevitalization/PublicNotices.aspx.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Jan. 26-Feb. 8, 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

1/26/16, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission. At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

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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.

1/13/16 to 3/12/15 (scheduled adjournment date), Richmond: Virginia General Assembly. The 2016 General Assembly convenes on January 13 and is scheduled for 60 days; this is a so-called “long session,” which is held in all even-numbered years.  (Thirty-day sessions (“short sessions”) are scheduled for each odd-numbered year.) During long sessions, the Commonwealth’s budget for the upcoming two years is set; amendments to the current biennial budget may be considered both in long and short sessions. In some years, sessions are extended beyond the scheduled length, particularly for budget discussions (any session may be extended for up to 30 days). The General Assembly’s main Web page is http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/index.php; at that site, click on the “Members and Sessions” for session calendars. The House of Delegates meeting schedule is available at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/schedule/meetingSchedule.php; live video streams of floor sessions from the House are available at http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3. The Senate meeting schedule and the floor sessions’ live video stream are available at http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3.

Committees are key parts of the General Assembly process. Legislation about water or about activities that can affect water may be assigned to any of several standing committees, most of which meet weekly during the General Assembly session. Information about all standing committees—including membership, meeting times, and legislation being considered—is available online at http://lis.virginia.gov/151/com/COM.HTM. Two committees that receive many (but by no means all!) of the water-related bills are the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m., in House Room C of the General Assembly Building; and the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Thursdays, one-half hour after adjournment of the day’s floor session, in Senate Room B of the General Assembly Building. The General Assembly Building is located at 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

Relevant subcommittee meetings for this period:

1/26/16, 7:30 a.m.: Senate Finance Committee/Economic Development and Natural Resources Subcommittee. 10th Floor Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

1/27/16, 3 p.m.: House Appropriations Committee/Agriculture, Commerce, Technology and Natural Resources Subcommittee. 9th Floor Appropriations Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

1/28/16, 4 p.m.: House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources/Chesapeake Subcommittee. 5th Floor East Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/1/16, 4:30 p.m.: House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources/Agriculture Subcommittee. 7th Floor West Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/2/16, 7:30 a.m.: Senate Finance Committee/Economic Development and Natural Resources Subcommittee. 10th Floor Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

Natural resource-related caucus meetings for this period:

2/1/16, 4:30 p.m.: Virginia Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus. 4th Floor West Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th 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.

1/28/16, 6:30 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacterial impairments in Crooked Run, Stephens Run, and West Run, located in the Shenandoah River basin in Clarke, Frederick, and Warren counties. At Lord Fairfax Community College, Carl and Emily Thompson Conference Center, 173 Skirmisher Lane in Middletown (Frederick County).

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Energy – Solar
1/29/16, 10 a.m.: Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority. At the Patrick Henry Building, Room 1006, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond. The 2015 General Assembly (in Senate Bill 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.

Ports
1/26/16, 9 a.m.: Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners.. At 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk.

Professionals Licensing and Operations
1/28/16, 10:00 a.m.: Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals public hearing on general review of regulations. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Perimeter Center, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond. According to the Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, “Chapters 892 and 924 of the Acts of the 2007 General Assembly, which were the result of House Bill 3134 and Senate Bill 1270 respectively, required the Board to establish a program for licensing individuals as onsite soil evaluators, onsite sewage system installers, and onsite sewage system operators [and that] program was incorporated into the regulations which govern waterworks and wastewater works operators. …[Those] regulations have not undergone cumulative review since the inclusion of the onsite sewage program in 2009.” The regulations are in the Virginia Administrative Code starting at Sec. 18 VAC 16-20. More information on the general review of these regulations is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=4226&display=stages.

State Parks
1/28/16, 3:30 p.m.: Natural Bridge State Park Master Plan Advisory Committee. At Natural Bridge Hotel, 15 Appledore Lane in Natural Bridge (Rockbridge County).

Stormwater
1/27/16, 10 a.m.: Stormwater Best Management Practices Clearinghouse Committee. At the Henrico County Training Center, Room 2029, 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—Hazardous Waste
1/27/16, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on an application for reissuance of permit for site-wide corrective action at Radford Army Ammunition Plant, located on the New River in Montgomery County. At the Radford Public Library, 30 West Main Street in Radford. The purpose of the public meeting is to discuss a draft corrective-action permit that will allow the facility to continue site-wide corrective action for identified solid waste management units, hazardous waste management units, and areas of concern. The public comment period on the draft permit runs 12/22/15 to 2/26/16. The draft permit and a fact sheet are available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/LandProtectionRevitalization/PublicNotices.aspx.

Onsite Sewage Professional Licensing Program in Virginia Under General Review in 2016; Public Hearing in Richmond on 1/28/16

In 2016, Virginia’s regulatory program for licensing onsite sewage system professionals is undergoing its first general review since 2009.  A public hearing on the review, which is under the Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals, will be held Jan. 28, 2016, starting at 10:00 a.m., at the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Perimeter Center, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting (available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewMeeting.cfm?MeetingID=23697, as of 1/18/16), “Chapters 892 and 924 of the Acts of the 2007 General Assembly, which were the result of House Bill 3134 and Senate Bill 1270 respectively, required the Board to establish a program for licensing individuals as onsite soil evaluators, onsite sewage system installers, and onsite sewage system operators [and that] program was incorporated into the regulations which govern waterworks and wastewater works operators. …[Those licensing] regulations have not undergone cumulative review since the inclusion of the onsite sewage program in 2009.”  The regulations are in the Virginia Administrative Code starting at Sec. 18 VAC 16-20. More information on the general review of these regulations is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=4226&display=stages.