Category Archives: Laws&Regs

Virginia Toxics Release Inventory Report for 2013 Data Released March 27, 2015, by Va. DEQ

On March 27, 2015, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced publication of the latest annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), covering data reported for 2013.  This year’s report lists types and amounts of chemicals released and reported by 426 industrial operations in the Commonwealth having 10 or more employees and reaching specific minimum amounts of toxic chemicals used.  (See p. 2 in the Introduction to this year’s report for the list of criteria determining which operations must report.)

According to the DEQ’s 3/27/15 news release on the TRI report, “36 million pounds of chemicals were released on-site to the air, water and land (an increase of 10.3 percent from 2012); 67.6 million pounds of chemicals were transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (a 3.6 percent increase from 2012); [and] 764 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site by treatment, recycling or energy recovery (a 1.4 percent decrease from 2012).

According to the report’s Executive Summary, the 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 219,721 pounds released on-site; 806,906 pounds transferred off-site from reporting Virginia facilities for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal; and 317,997 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 does 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.”

This year’s Virginia TRI report and those from previous years are located online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityPlanningEmissions/SARATitleIII/SARA313ToxicsReleaseInventory.aspx.

Source: Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2013, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/27/15.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Mar. 30-Apr. 13, 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

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

3/30/15, 10 a.m.: State Water Control Board. At the General Assembly Building, House Room C, 9th and Broad Streets in Richmond.

4/8/15, 9 a.m.: Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board. At the Perimeter Center, Training Rooms 1A, 1B, & 1C, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond/Henrico.

4/11/15, 2 p.m.: Cave Board. At Luray Caverns in Luray.

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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.

3/31/15, 2 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria impairments in the Rapidan River and several tributaries (Beautiful Run, Blue Run, Marsh Run, Poplar Run, Rippin Run, and unnamed tributaries), in the Rappahannock River watershed in Albemarle, Greene, Madison, and Orange counties. At the Madison County Cooperative Extension Office, 2 South Main Street in Madison.

3/31/15, 6:30 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria impairments in the Hardware River and North Fork Hardware River, located in the James River watershed in Albemarle and Fluvanna Counties. At Victory Hall, 401 Valley Street in Scottsville (Albemarle County). A second public meeting on this TMDL will be held 4/9/15, 6:30 p.m., at North Garden Fire Hall, 4907 Plank Road in North Garden (Albemarle County).

4/7/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria and sediment impairments in Chestnut Creek, in the New River watershed in Carroll and Grayson counties and in the City of Galax. At the Galax Recreation Center Room A, 601 South Main Street in Galax.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Agriculture/Forestry
3/30/15: Virginia Agricultural Council.   At the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, 24 South Market Street in Staunton. The Council hear and act upon agricultural project proposals for financial assistance. The Council was established by the General Assembly in 1966 to assist in financing agricultural research, education, and services. More information about the Council is available online at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/about/boards.shtml.

Biosolids (Treated Sewage Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
3/31/15, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Synagro Central, LLC, of Champlain, Va., to land-apply biosolids to 1,143.5 acres in Clarke County. At the Clarke County Offices, 101 Chalmers Court in Berryville.

4/2/15, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Agri-Sludge, Inc., of Shreve, Ohio, to land-apply biosolids to 4,768.7 acres in Rockingham County. At the Department of Environmental Quality’s Valley Regional Office, 4411 Early Road in Harrisonburg.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
3/30/15, 10 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft permit amendment for Virginia Electric and Power Company’s (VEPCO) Southampton Power Station located in Franklin.  At Paul D. Camp Community College, Room 129, 100 North College Drive in Franklin.  The facility proposes to change provisions of the permit granted when the facility converted from coal to biomass as its principal fuel, particularly to expand the use of No. 2 fuel oil from use during startup only to use during startup, shutdown, and during regular operation for flame stabilization.  The public comment period is 2/27/15 to 4/14/15.

3/31/15, 6:30 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft permit amendment for Virginia Electric and Power Company’s (VEPCO) Altavista Power Station.  At Altavista Town Council Chambers, 510 Seventh Street in Altavista.  The facility proposes to change provisions of the permit granted when the facility converted from coal to biomass as its principal fuel, particularly to expand the use of No. 2 fuel oil from use during startup only to use during startup, shutdown, and during regular operation for flame stabilization.  The applicant proposes to use approximately 800,000 tons/year of woody biomass, up to 60,000 gallons/year of No. 2 fuel oil, and a certain amount of natural gas.  The public comment period is 2/25/15 to 4/15/15.

4/8/15, 6 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft permit amendment for Virginia Electric and Power Company’s (VEPCO) Hopewell Power Station.  At the Hopewell Public Library, 209 East Cawson Street in Hopewell.  The facility proposes to change provisions of the permit granted when the facility converted in 2012 from coal to biomass as its principal fuel, particularly to add flame stabilization to the current use (startup and shutdown) of natural gas.  The public comment period is 3/3/15 to 4/23/15.

Fort Monroe
4/9/15, 1 p.m.: Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee.  At 151 Bernard Road in Fort Monroe.  In 2011, the Virginia General Assembly (Senate Bill 1400) established the Fort Monroe Authority to manage the historic areas of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort—at the confluence of Hampton Roads with the Chesapeake Bay—after the federal government closed its military facilities there.  Fort Monroe had been a U.S. military base since 1836.  In 2011, the area was designated as Fort Monroe National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/fomr/index.htm). More information about Fort Monroe and the Authority is available online at http://www.fmauthority.com/.

Mining and Mined Land Reclamation
4/1/15, 10:30 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) informal conference on Bond Release Application 1009446 for Paramont Coal Corporation.  At the mine site in Buchanan County, 3.0 miles northeast of Prater, off State Route 604.

Lawsuit Filed by Sierra Club in March 2015 Against Dominion Virginia Power Over Coal Ash at Chesapeake Energy Center in Chesapeake, Va.

On March 19, 2015, the Sierra Club, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, filed a federal lawsuit alleging “ongoing contamination of groundwater and surrounding surface waters” from Dominion Virginia Power’s coal-fired Chesapeake Energy Center power plant in Chesapeake, Va.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, located in Norfolk, the suit alleges that the plant’s disposal of coal ash (the solid material remaining after combustion of coal to generate electric power) in storage ponds between the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and Deep Creek (Dominion’s practice since 1953, according to the suit), have “for at least two decades” resulted in discharges to groundwater of arsenic and other heavy metals and pollutants at levels above Virginia standards, that the groundwater contaminants also reach surface waters, and that the plant’s Virginia Pollutant Elimination Discharge System (VPDES) permit does not permit such levels of discharge.

According to the WAVY-TV/Norfolk report of the lawsuit filing, Dominion stated that it stopped operation of the plant in December 2014 and is decommissioning the plant in compliance with federal and state regulations.

The plant is under a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) groundwater corrective action plan that aims to diminish the level of groundwater contaminants over time. Information on DEQ’s groundwater-monitoring program for solid-waste facilities (including coal-ash storage) is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/LandProtectionRevitalization/SolidHazardousWasteRegulatoryPrograms/SolidWaste/GroundwaterMonitoring.aspx.

Sources: Dominion sued over Chesapeake power plant, WAVY-TV Norfolk, 3/19/15 (a PDF link to the lawsuit document filed by the SELC on March 19 was available at this site, as of 3/20/15); and Group sues Dominion over Chesapeake coal ash, Virginian-Pilot, 3/20/15.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Mar. 23-Apr. 6, 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.

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

3/24/15, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission. At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

3/26/15, 10 a.m.: Outdoors Foundation Board of Trustees. At Lord Fairfax Community College, 6480 College Street in Warrenton.

3/30/15, 10 a.m.: State Water Control Board. At the General Assembly Building, House Room C, 9th and Broad Streets 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.

3/25/15, 3 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.

3/26/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in Dry Run, Laurel Creek, and Wolf Creek, located in the New River watershed in Bland, Giles, and Tazewell counties. At Bland County High School Room 111A, 176 Eagles Road in Rocky Gap.

3/31/15, 2 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria impairments in the Rapidan River and several tributaries (Beautiful Run, Blue Run, Marsh Run, Poplar Run, Rippin Run, and unnamed tributaries), in the Rappahannock River watershed in Albemarle, Greene, Madison, and Orange counties. At the Madison County Cooperative Extension Office, 2 South Main Street in Madison.

3/31/15, 6:30 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria impairments in the Hardware River and North Fork Hardware River, located in the James River watershed in Albemarle and Fluvanna Counties. At Victory Hall, 401 Valley Street in Scottsville.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Agriculture/Forestry
3/30/15: Virginia Agricultural Council.   At the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, 24 South Market Street in Staunton. The Council hear and act upon agricultural project proposals for financial assistance. The Council was established by the General Assembly in 1966 to assist in financing agricultural research, education, and services. More information about the Council is available online at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/about/boards.shtml.

Biosolids (Treated Sewage Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
3/31/15, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Synagro Central, LLC, of Champlain, Va., to land-apply biosolids to 1,143.5 acres in Clarke County. At the Clarke County Offices, 101 Chalmers Court in Berryville.

4/2/15, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Agri-Sludge, Inc., of Shreve, Ohio, to land-apply biosolids to 4,768.7 acres in Rockingham County. At the Department of Environmental Quality’s Valley Regional Office, 4411 Early Road in Harrisonburg.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
3/30/15, 10 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft permit amendment for Virginia Electric and Power Company’s (VEPCO) Southampton Power Station located in Franklin.  At Paul D. Camp Community College, Room 129, 100 North College Drive in Franklin. The facility proposes to change provisions of the permit granted when the facility converted from coal to biomass as its principal fuel, particularly to expand the use of No. 2 fuel oil from use during startup only to use during startup, shutdown, and during regular operation for flame stabilization. The public comment period is 2/27/15 to 4/14/15.

3/31/15, 6:30 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft permit amendment for Virginia Electric and Power Company’s (VEPCO) Altavista Power Station located in Altavista. At Altavista Town Council Chambers, 510 Seventh Street in Altavista. The facility proposes to change provisions of the permit granted when the facility converted from coal to biomass as its principal fuel, particularly to expand the use of No. 2 fuel oil from use during startup only to use during startup, shutdown, and during regular operation for flame stabilization. The applicant proposes to use approximately 800,000 tons/year of woody biomass, up to 60,000 gallons/year of No. 2 fuel oil, and a certain amount of natural gas. The public comment period is 2/25/15 to 4/15/15.

Mining and Mined Land Reclamation
4/1/15, 10:30 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) informal conference on Bond Release Application 1009446 for Paramont Coal Corporation. At the mine site in Buchanan County, 3.0 miles northeast of Prater, off State Route 604.

Ports
3/23/15, 5 p.m.: Virginia Port Authority Executive Committee. At 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk.  The online notice for this meeting states that most of the meeting will be held in closed session.  Also on that day at the same location, the Port Authority’s Growth and Operations Committee will meet at 2 p.m., the Finance and Audit Committee will meet at about 3:45 p.m.

3/24/15, 9 a.m.: Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners. At 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Mar. 16-Mar. 30, 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.

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

3/17/15, 9 a.m.: Gas and Oil Board. At the Russell County Office Building, 139 Highland Drive in Lebanon.

3/17/15, 10 a.m.: Board for Waste Management Facility Operators. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Perimeter Center, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

3/19/15, 9 a.m.: Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services. At the State Capitol, Senate Room 3, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.

3/19/15, 10 a.m.: Waterworks Advisory Committee. At Sydnor Hydro, 2111 Magnolia Street in Richmond.

3/24/15, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission. At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

3/26/15, 10 a.m.: Outdoors Foundation Board of Trustees. At Lord Fairfax Community College, 6480 College Street in Warrenton.

3/30/15, 10 a.m.: State Water Control Board. At the General Assembly Building, House Room C, 9th and Broad Streets 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; use the drop-down menu on the left to pick the session of interest (current or past). Links to information about General Assembly commissions, councils, and special interim committees coordinated by the Division of Legislative Services is 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.

3/18/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in the Mattaponi River and 13 tributaries, located in the York River watershed in the counties of Caroline, King and Queen, and Spotsylvania. At Bowling Green Town Hall, 117 Butler Street in Bowling Green.

3/25/15, 3 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.

3/26/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in Dry Run, Laurel Creek, and Wolf Creek, located in the New River watershed in Bland, Giles, and Tazewell counties. At Bland County High School Room 111A, 176 Eagles Road in Rocky Gap.

*          *          *

MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Agriculture/Forestry
3/30/15: Virginia Agricultural Council.   At the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, 24 South Market Street in Staunton. The Council hear and act upon agricultural project proposals for financial assistance. The Council was established by the General Assembly in 1966 to assist in financing agricultural research, education, and services. More information about the Council is available online at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/about/boards.shtml.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
3/30/15, 10 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft permit amendment for Virginia Electric and Power Company’s (VEPCO) Southampton Power Station located in Franklin.  At Paul D. Camp Community College, Room 129, 100 North College Drive in Franklin.  The facility proposes to change provisions of the permit granted when the facility converted from coal to biomass as its principal fuel, particularly to expand the use of No. 2 fuel oil from use during startup only to use during startup, shutdown, and during regular operation for flame stabilization.   The public comment period is 2/27/15 to 4/14/15.

River Basin Advisory Committees and Commissions
3/18/15 (link goes to pdf of agenda), 1 p.m.: Rappahannock River Basin Commission. At City Council Chambers, 715 Princess Ann Street in Fredericksburg. The Commission was established by the Virginia General Assembly (see Va. Code section 62.1-69.27 to “provide guidance for the stewardship and enhancement of the water quality and natural resources of the Rappahannock River Basin.” More information on the work of the Commission is available online at http://rappriverbasin.org/.

Stormwater
3/16/15, 9 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Stormwater Stakeholder Advisory Committee. At the DEQ’s Piedmont Regional Office Training Room, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen. 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.

Virginia Proposed Nonpoint Source Nutrient Credit Trading Certification Regulations Under Review in 2015; Public Hearings on 2/11/15 in Glen Allen and 2/12/15 in Roanoke

On February 11 and February 12, 2015, the Virginia State Water Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold public hearings on proposed Nonpoint Source Nutrient Credits Regulations.  The hearing of February 11 will be t the DEQ PRO Training Room, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen; the February 12 public hearing will be held at the DEQ Blue Ridge Regional Office, 3019 Peters Creek Road in Roanoke.

According to the Regulatory Town Hall notice about the Feb. 11 meeting, the proposed regulations would establish new Nutrient Trading Certification Regulations (4 VAC 50-80-10 et seq. in the Virginia Administrative Code) to govern the certification of certain nutrient credits.  The action may also require revisions to the Stormwater Management regulations (4 VAC 50-60) related to nutrient credit use and additional off-site options for construction activities.  The public comment period runs until 3/16/15. More information on the current proposal is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=3760&display=stages.

Additional background: The 2012 Virginia General Assembly passed the Nutrient Trading Act (HB 176 and SB 77), which required the Soil and Water Conservation Board to adopt regulations related to certification of nutrient credits from non-point sources, including credits generated from agricultural and urban stormwater best management practices, incineration or management of manures, land use conversion, stream or wetlands restoration, shellfish aquaculture, algal harvesting, and other methods of nutrient control or removal. Since then, the program has been transferred to the State Water Control Board and the DEQ. More information about Virginia’s nutrient credit trading program is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/PermittingCompliance/PollutionDischargeElimination/NutrientTrading.aspx.

Draft Strategy for Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Leasing Announced by U.S. Dept. of Interior on Jan. 27, 2015; Lease Off Virginia’s Coast is Possible

On January 27, 2015, the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the draft of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022.  Release of the draft is one of the early steps in the process—repeated every five years—to set a program of leases for oil and gas exploration and development off the U.S. Atlantic, Gulf, and Alaskan coasts.

According to the Interior Department’s news release on the draft proposal, the “…proposal invites public comment on one potential lease sale late in the program for a portion of the Mid- and South Atlantic OCS, which includes areas offshore Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia [emphasis added].  … The potential lease sale would require a 50-mile coastal buffer to minimize multiple use conflicts, such as those from Department of Defense and NASA activities, renewable energy activities, commercial and recreational fishing, critical habitat needs for wildlife and other environmental concerns.”  The Atlantic OCS region includes Lease Sale 220, a 2.9-million acre off the coast of Virginia.

The Draft Proposed Program and a “Notice of Intent to Develop a Draft Environmental Impact Statement” will be available for public comment for 60 days following the publication of the documents in the Federal Register.  More information, including maps, is available online at http://www.boem.gov/Five-Year-Program/.

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

Following are hyperlinked headlines to some news items that followed the January 27 announcement.
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.

Obama administration proposes offshore Atlantic drilling, Baltimore Sun, 1/27/15.

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

Following are some other recent news items 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 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.