Public Comments for 01/27/2021 Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources - Natural Resources Subcommittee
HB2067 - Solar facilities; permit by rule.
Last Name: Bent Organization: ENGIE Locality: Chicago, IL

ENGIE North America Inc., (“ENGIE”) respectfully submits the following comments OPPOSING House Bill 2067 (“HB 2067”), which would lower the maximum generation capacity of a solar energy facility to qualify for a permit-by-rule (PBR) from 150 megawatts to 50 megawatts. ENGIE is the world’s largest provider of energy and energy-efficiency services and has a significant Virginia presence, including a portfolio of five grid-scale solar projects. Two of these projects are currently under construction and the remaining three are in late-stage development. The Virginia DEQ’s PBR process is a strict and sophisticated tool used to streamline project development while still adequately considering all environmental, archaeological, and cultural impacts a project may have. This process is predictable, efficient, and transparent – it reduces administrative costs, while allowing the public and other stakeholders ample opportunities to provide input. Furthermore, the DEQ is not required to issue a PBR for all projects under 150 MW – projects requiring more scrutiny are able to undergo additional reviews if deemed necessary by DEQ. The PBR process allows solar project developers to work collaboratively and successfully with local and state permitting agencies to address any concerns and incorporate specific requests. Reducing the threshold to 50 MW would result in additional costs, time, and uncertainty to solar project development – which ultimately increases the price that Virginia customers pay for energy. Virginia set the stage for the clean energy transition last year when the Legislature passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA). Ultimately, the VCEA aims to lower energy costs for all ratepayers, increase grid resiliency and reliability, create new jobs, and stimulate economic investment. HB 2067 makes these goals much harder to accomplish.

Last Name: Dubon Organization: BayWa r.e. Solar Projects LLC Locality: Irvine

On behalf of BayWa r.e., a leading renewable energy developer, service supplier, distributor and energy solutions provider, we STRONGLY OPPOSE HB 2067. Lowering the maximum generation eligible for PBR from 150 to 50 MW would have negative consequences for the deployment of solar power for the State of Virginia. This would increase the cost and timing of developing solar in Virginia, and hurt businesses that intend to invest in the State. Again, we STRONGLY OPPOSE HB 2067. Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter.

Last Name: Posey Locality: Fairfax County

If this bill passes it would delay the development of solar projects already in the works by changing the rules on them and forcing them to comply with an overly strict process - the processes in place currently are very rigorous and more than sufficient. This would have a direct effect on jobs and investments in Virginia communities. By changing the rules mid-stream it would also make it harder for the state of Virginia to meet its Clean Economy Act goals that were set last year.

Last Name: Martin Organization: Martin Energy LLC Locality: St. Paul, VA

I am writing to oppose shrinking the PBR process from 150 MW to 50 MW. This Bill would delay approvals of solar projects by forcing developers to apply for a CPCN with the VA SCC. This approach would delay economic benefits of construction jobs and economic benefits to Counties and add more bureaucratic burden to the permitting process. Solar companies may choose to avoid the CPCN altogether, leading to the development of more projects at smaller sizes. This reduction in economy of scale would drive costs up and be bad for the ratepayers of the Commonwealth. Sincerely, James K. Martin, President, Martin Energy LLC

Last Name: Hodsoll Organization: SolUnesco, LLC Locality: Loudoun County, Virginia

I am one of the founders and the CEO of SolUnesco. On behalf of my company and employees we oppose HB 2067. We are a Virginia company founded in 2015 that employs Virginians and our projects represents several billion in investment in rural areas. Further, we spearheaded the solar workforce development program in partnership with Southside Community College. We have fourteen projects in eleven counties. HB 2067 will slow economic development throughout the state of Virginia. This is a Bill that is reversing a well-understood process for conducting thorough environmental, cultural and historic due diligence for these projects. In fact, Virginia citizens interests are served when DEQ governs this permitting process given the nature of these projects. A vote for 2067 is a vote against economic development, it is a vote against protecting the interests of all Virginians.

Last Name: McCarty Locality: Suffolk

A change of this magnitude so soon after the Clean Economy Act being passed will significantly impact many projects that are currently in development. We are working tirelessly with localities and communities to establish timelines in an effort to remain transparent throughout these processes and collaborative in every way possible. This will derail these processes and force localities to take a step back to reevaluate our relationships.

Last Name: Maughan Locality: Reston, Virginia

I am a utility scale solar energy developer working for a small, Virginia-based company with several Virginia clean energy projects under active development. I are very excited buy the Clean Energy Economy act that this body put in place last year, but am very concerned about the proposed HB 2067 will severely limit the commonwealth's ability to meet these goals. The CPCN process is FAR more cumbersome to developers than the current DEQ PBR process, without adding any benefit or safeguards. In fact, I would go as far as to say that, for this size project, the CPCN provides less benefit, in terms of project due diligence, than the PBR process. Further, and more concerningly, switching the required processes jeopardizes all projects that mine and other companies currently have in development, along with the substantial investments that we have made in them. These projects are at various stages in a years-long development cycles. Changing the development rules mid-development will severely limit our ability to get them across the goal line, and limit Virginia's ability to meet the goals it has set for itself. Please do not vote in favor of HB 2067.

Last Name: Hillis Organization: SolUnesco LLC Locality: Leesburg

SolUnesco LLC is a utility scale solar developer currently developing several project in Virginia. This bill will slow development of our projects, forcing them to go through the more complex, burdensome, and unnecessary CPCN process at the SCC. We strongly oppose this bill. • This legislation changes the rules in the middle of the game. Developers are working with localities, landowners, and farmers as we speak to develop solar projects. This change in the PBR process would fundamentally disrupt this process for solar projects between 50 MWs and 150 MWs. • Changing the rules in the middle of the game sends the wrong message to clean energy businesses that are trying to work and grow in Virginia, endangering the jobs and investment they bring to the Commonwealth. • Changing these rules will make it harder for Virginia to meet the Clean Economy Act goals it set last year by making it more challenging to deploy affordable, clean solar energy at scale.

Last Name: Maamari Organization: SolUnesco Locality: Falls Church

This legislation changes the rules in the middle of the game. Developers are working with localities, landowners, and farmers as we speak to develop solar projects. This change in the PBR process would fundamentally disrupt this process for solar projects between 50 MWs and 150 MWs. Changing the rules in the middle of the game sends the wrong message to clean energy businesses that are trying to work and grow in Virginia, endangering the jobs and investment they bring to the Commonwealth. Changing these rules will make it harder for Virginia to meet the Clean Economy Act goals it set last year by making it more challenging to deploy affordable, clean solar energy at scale.

Last Name: Entsuah Organization: Virginia Advanced Energy Economy Locality: Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Advanced Energy Economy is in OPPOSITION to HB 2067, The Solar Facilities bill. Virginia’s Developers are currently working with municipalities, landowners, and our agricultural workers to develop solar projects. If this bill was to pass, it would fundamentally change the process for these projects without considering our workers. It would also disrupt the process for solar projects between 50 Megawatts and 150 Megawatts. This bill would send a terrible message to clean energy businesses that are trying to build in Virginia and invest in the Commonwealth. Finally this bill would make it harder for Virginia to meet the goals that were set by the Clean Economy Act that was passed this past year. We urge the committee to deny the passage of this bill.

Last Name: Kraus Organization: SolUnesco Locality: Washington, DC

• This legislation changes the rules in the middle of the game. Developers are working with localities, landowners, and farmers as we speak to develop solar projects. This change in the PBR process would fundamentally disrupt this process for solar projects between 50 MWs and 150 MWs. • Changing the rules in the middle of the game sends the wrong message to clean energy businesses that are trying to work and grow in Virginia, endangering the jobs and investment they bring to the Commonwealth. • Changing these rules will make it harder for Virginia to meet the Clean Economy Act goals it set last year by making it more challenging to deploy affordable, clean solar energy at scale

Last Name: Wofford Organization: Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley Locality: Sperryville

Thank you for the chance to comment. I am Kate Wofford, Executive Director of Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley is a place-based nonprofit working to protect the clean water, family farms, and thriving communities in six Valley counties. We support increased scrutiny of the very large solar applications. We are seeing applications for larger and larger utility-scale solar projects on farmland in the Valley, instead of lots of smaller solar proposals on brownfields, parking lots, rooftops, and marginal lands where most Virginians think they should be prioritized . In general, it's on these very large projects where we are more likely to see negative impacts to water quality, rural character, and prime soils. For that, we believe that increased scrutiny on the larger projects is good public policy. Thank you.

Last Name: Rosales-Cortez Organization: Chesapeake Climate Action Network Locality: Richmond

This bill will hinder the VCEA's ability to meet the goals of developing clean energy in Virginia by bottlenecking solar energy. Specifically: 1) By lowering that cap from 150 MW to 50 MW, this bill will make it harder for Virginia to quickly deploy solar, decarbonize our grid, and meet our VCEA goals 2) Solar projects between 50 MWs and 150 MWs have been approved and are being developed right now - this would disrupt that development process and send the wrong message to clean energy businesses trying to work in Virginia. This bill must not pass if we are to keep our current trajectory in developing clean energy.

Last Name: Staples Locality: Chesapeake

Good Day, I would like you to know that on every trip that I make to various State Forest and the George Washington National Forest. I find several ballons while hiking, hunting or fishing. On my visits to Virginia Beach they are a constant wash up item that I find and dispose of. Please put an end to this needless celebratory practice. The harm to wildlife is terrible. 40 years ago, I watched a whitetail doe pull a balloon from a Mountain Laurel and partially eat it. Imagine how many times that scene has been repeated over the decades since. Thank you.

Last Name: Smucker Organization: Chesapeake Solar and Storage Association (formally known as MDV-SEIA) Locality: Richmond City

CHESSA is in opposition to Delegate Webert's HB 2067, as it would shrink the MW limit on PBR solar projects from 150MWs (current code) to 50MWs, cutting the size of eligible projects by 2/3rds. This policy would work against the Commonwealth's directive by the VCEA and directly prohibit us from successfully achieving Virginia's ambitious clean energy goals. CHESSA supports Delegate Willet's HB 2148, which adds energy storage to the "Permit by Rule" (PBR) program, which will allow battery storage and hybrid (storage + renewables) projects to use DEQ's PBR process for permitting. This model program ensures that projects are permitted safely and quickly and remains a key attraction to solar developers. By expanding and streamlining this process for hybrid and standalone storage projects, the Commonwealth will be able to achieve its clean energy goals laid out by the VCEA while continuing to attract investment and create jobs in Virginia.

HB2074 - Environmental justice; interagency working group.
Last Name: Kidest Gebre Organization: Virginia Interfaith Power & Light Locality: Richmond

I urge you to pass HB 2074. VEJA’s EJ policy declaration alone and current public participation requirements do not provide for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of Virginians in agencies' environmental decisions and actions. This is demonstrated by the persistent environmental injustices related to the siting of fossil fuel infrastructure, landfills, and other environmentally hazardous activities in environmental justice communities. Thank you!

Last Name: Shepherd Organization: NRDC Locality: Richmond

On behalf of our nearly 10,000 paying members all across the Commonwealth, NRDC supports this important equity reform.

Last Name: Williams Organization: Green New Deal Virginia Locality: Richmond

Mr Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, SUPPORT Delegate Simond’s HB 2074 Omnibus Environmental Justice Bill. HB 2074 strengthens the Virginia Environmental Justice Act of 2020 which established the promotion of environmental justice as the official policy of the Commonwealth. Although Virginia now has a basic EJ policy, DEQ still needs the guidance, regulations, trainings, and tools necessary to ensure EJ is carried out and to close historic structural gaps in their public engagement, program administration, permitting, regulation development, and regulatory enforcement. This Bill authorizes agencies when making environmental-related decisions to adopt policies designed to mitigate disproportionately adverse and cumulative environmental impacts on environmental justice communities at the state and local level over the next two years. HB 2074’s local government requirements support DEQ Director David Paylor's commitment, after the completion of VDEQ’s 18-month study in October, “to coordinate with local and state government agencies to ensure alignment with environmental justice policies”. On behalf of our diverse coalition’s 80 grassroots partner organizations, and their members from across the commonwealth, we hope you will support this Bill and vote to give the Department of Environmental Quality the tools necessary and clear authority to deny permits, based on environmental justice impacts and cumulative impacts. This authority is critical to any effort to improve DEQ's consideration of environmental justice in their environmental permitting processes. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Esparza Locality: Richmond

Strengthen Environmental Justice this year! Support HB 2074 which embed environmental justice strategies in state agencies. It's time for the state of Virginia to consider EJ when making decisions that impact us!

Last Name: Jemaine Organization: CCAN Action Fund Locality: glen allen

The Omnibus Environmental Justice Bill builds on the Virginia Environmental Justice Act of 2020 which established the promotion of environmental justice as the official policy of the Commonwealth. The Bill authorizes agencies when making environmental-related decisions to adopt policies designed to mitigate disproportionately adverse and cumulative environmental impacts on environmental justice communities at the state and local level over the next two years. In short, this legislation helps operationalize environmental justice as the policy and practice of the Commonwealth. CCAN Action Fund supports this legislation.

Last Name: Grebe Organization: Audubon Naturalist Society Locality: Alexandria

As the Northern Virginia Conservation Advocate for the Audubon Naturalist Society, I’m emailing you to ask for your SUPPORT of HB2074, a bill to amend the Virginia Environmental Justice Act and make the EJ Interagency Working Group a permanent body. For Virginia to be truly equitable, it is critical that state agencies adopt and implement specific environmental justice policies and regulations that consider not only disproportionate, but also cumulative impacts to thoroughly evaluate their historic and anticipated effects. This is particularly significant for environmental activities near low-income areas, communities of color, or historically underserved communities that are impacted by several environmental risks and harms simultaneously. This bill contains a slew of important recommendations to help ensure Virginia is more environmentally just. One important part if this bill is giving the Department of Environmental Quality clear authority to deny permits, based on environmental justice impacts and cumulative impacts. Please ensure this aspect is retained. This authority is critical to any effort to improve DEQ's consideration of environmental justice in the environmental permitting processes. I ask you to once again SUPPORT HB2074. Thank you for your consideration!

Last Name: Piontek Organization: Appalachian Voices Locality: Blacksburg

Please support HB 2074 (Del. Simonds), which seeks to address environmental justice (EJ) concerns that are present in Virginia. An important component of HB 2074 is the requirement that certain state secretariats develop an EJ policy that agencies within that secretariat must adhere to. These EJ policies will require the covered agencies to consider where agency actions might have an adverse impact on an EJ community in the Commonwealth, and also to improve public outreach processes for agency actions that carry EJ concerns. HB 2074 also prompts localities to develop a similar understanding of where EJ communities are located, and asks these localities to strategize around reducing harms to those EJ communities. Ultimately, this bill seeks to embed EJ-thinking into the very framework of community planning at the local level, in the work of state agencies and within the executive branch of government, through the Interagency WG on EJ (which is currently only a temporary body). HB 2074 makes reasonable and prudent demands upon state and local government by ensuring that EJ concerns are more fully understood -- and addressed -- by a range of state agencies.

Last Name: DeVaughan Locality: Wise

Adding a citizen member from the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice and the state Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to the state’s EJ Interagency Working Group in leadership positions is critical to help and hold agencies accountable for implementing ground-truthed, equitable, best practices for furthering environmental justice in the Commonwealth.

Last Name: Fjord Organization: Union Hill Freedmen Family Research Group & Friends of Buckingham Locality: Charlottesville and Buckingham County

Mr. Chairman and committee, I speak to the importance of passing the EJ Act amendments bill from the perspective of the cost benefits of doing so. Put another way, as the anthropologist and Buckingham resident since 1979 who worked with the African American community leaders of Union Hill to uncover robust evidence on race, population, existing health conditions, and Freedpeople historic significance, I have had a front row seat on the costs to taxpayers and EJ communities when DEQ does not do their statutory requirements for EJ "site suitability" and BACT review of alternate energy sources as pre-screening first steps for permits. Their legal requirement to do so was adjudicated by the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in our lawsuit based on site-specific research argued by SELC and CBF using existing Virginia laws. I witnessed firsthand the consequences of no DEQ site community outreach yet thousands of DEQ staff hours dedicated to rewriting Dominion's ACP Union Hill air permit. We learned this fact from the Air Division's Mike Dowd at the only 2-hr "community outreach" meeting -- on closing day of permit comments, before the public hearing. Who proudly described how DEQ staff had "fixed two failed tries by Dominion to write the air permit." I asked then, and I ask this committee now: what if in Fall of 2015 DEQ had chosen to answer and not ignore our 70 letters asking DEQ to come to Union for a site visit? Not spent hundreds of staff hours to invent easily refutable means to deny each and every type of our community evidence with alternate, for Dominion benefit, facts? After DEQ lost our lawsuit, it has ignored the legal findings related to these EJ site review responsibilities. Under Covid, in rural EJ and internet desert communities, proceeded with permit processes without doing the pre-screening of sites they are required to do. We have heard from DEQ that implementing true and comprehensively inclusive community outreach is too expensive, doing EJ site review, and BACT analysis are too costly. Citing budgetary losses because of Covid. Please envision the cost benefits to taxpayers, to EJ communities, to Virginia's issues with sea-level rise, with water contamination issues, if DEQ staff time were used to do the actually quite low-cost actions of fully examining proposed sites of new or increased toxic pollution? As proactive and preventive of the true costs of toxic pollution? Preventive of legal costs for permits approved without following Virginia's laws and statutes? As preventive medicine -- reducing the disproportionate health burdens of asthma, diabetes, heart, lung, cancers, and respiratory illnesses that are true costs of toxic pollution? Environmental injustice is now acknowledged as a root driver of rapid climate change, by ensuring the highest consumers of fossil fuels do not face their worst impacts in their communities. Until now. When wildfires, increasingly damaging storms, and sea-rise impacts reveal yet another consequence of our 400-year history of racism. How do we calculate those dollar costs to Virginia? Please support this bill! Thank you.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

The VMA respectfully requests your support for five friendly amendments to the HB2074 substitute. Two of the amendments were adopted by the Senate Ag Committee in Senator Hashmi’s companion bill (SB1318) to which Delegate Simonds is a co-patron. The requested amendments are as follows: • Line 25 Impacts are calculated as “positive and negative” in any fair evaluation. Senator Hashmi agreed and incorporated this into her SB1318. • Line 30 The definition of “environment” is too expansive. “Environmental and cultural” assets are the focus of EJ. • Line 41 The “Fenceline communities” definition is targeting industrial businesses. They did not choose to have property zoned residential near them. This is a local zoning responsibility and should be specifically identified as such. • Line 96 The Governor should be directed to appoint a citizen from the regulated community. Senator Hashmi agreed and incorporated this into her SB1318. • Line 142 The local EJ strategy should focus on environmental issues and EJ communities. Our definition refines the strategic focus and removes “fenceline communities” from everything but the identification process. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Keller Locality: Richmond

I urge you to pass HB2074. Environmental injustice is the standard practice of most polluting industries. They locate their facilities in poor or black and brown communities because they believe people will not fight them or feel powerless to do anything about it. Virginia needs to continue to strengthen EJ practice and policies to really make the changes that need to be made to protect and preserve vulnerable communities. May it be the pleasure of the committee to pass this bill. Suzanne Keller Richmond, VA

Last Name: O'Keefe Locality: Richmond

I am a lifelong Virginian, voter, homeowner, father of two, teacher and artist. I urge you to vote yes on HB2047. Massive natural gas infrastructure is slated to be installed in upper Charles City County, devastating local air and water quality in a majority minority community. The Bellemeade fossil fuel power plant south of Richmond continues poisoning the air of a majority black neighborhood as I write. A historic black community in Henrico is slated to be paved for a Wegman's distribution center that will destroy a wetland while countless other developed sites lay vacant across the metro Richmond Area. These are just 3 environmental justice issues at top of mind for me right now. Let's stop destroying Black communities. Let's stop destroying minority communities. Let's stop destroying the ecology of this state. Let's stop destroying both at the same time. Let's name what is happening, and make a conscious choice to stop doing it. Pass this bill.

Last Name: campblin Organization: Virginia State Conference NAACP Locality: Fairfax

Dear Esteemed Leaders, I write to you today to implore that you vote yes on House Bill 2074, Environmental Justice Bill which authorizes agencies to take environmental justice considerations when making environmental related decisions. For far too long frontline communities have experience the most burdens without any economic benefits or community support. Left to suffer with poor air and water quality, heavy industrial uses in close proximity to parks and homes, and the destruction of natural, archaeological, cultural, or historic resources, this bill is the next step in addressing these injustices and presents a path forward to community healing. The permitting process proposed in this bill will finally give the voice and representation frontline communities so long deserve. Furthermore we need a reliable air monitoring system and this bill puts us in the right direction. We need to be able to identify and track any existing and potentially new hotspots (and as COVID clearly shows these hotspots correlates with the health of the community) NAACP has documented in various documents the negative impacts on the BIPOC community caused by poorly sited projects as well as the lack of representation and community will to work with the community to find a suitable and safe solution. The time is now to create legislation that is committed to do no harm. Please vote yes Thank you,

Last Name: Jemaine Organization: CCAN Action Fund Locality: glen allen

HB 2074 The Omnibus Environmental Justice Bill builds on the Virginia Environmental Justice Act of 2020 which established the promotion of environmental justice as the official policy of the Commonwealth. The Bill authorizes agencies when making environmental-related decisions to adopt policies designed to mitigate disproportionately adverse and cumulative environmental impacts on environmental justice communities at the state and local level over the next two years. In essence, this legislation operationalizes the concepts that were codified in 2020. CCAN Action Fund supports this bill.

Last Name: DeBoer Organization: The Commonwealth of VA Locality: Richmond

Please advance HB2074 in support of Environmental Justice !

Last Name: Eastridge Organization: Virginia Interfaith Power and Light Locality: Warrenton

This bill is important to stop the devastation of marginalized communities especially and of our environment entirely. I am your constituent and a person of faith and conscience. I urge you to support HB 2074. I believe we have a moral obligation to require state agencies to adopt and implement specific environmental justice policies and regulations that consider not only disproportionate, but also cumulative impacts of environmental burdens when evaluating their effects, either anticipated or historic. This is particularly significant for low-income areas, communities of color, or historically underserved communities that are impacted by several environmental risks and harms simultaneously.

Last Name: Colemon Organization: NAACP Locality: Waynesboro

We want to know if the air / water quality have been tested lately and whether the soil been tested lately as well because some residences plant gardens.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

We appreciate the patrons amending these bills to incorporate positive changes to provide better participation and transparency for all stakeholders. However, we still have concerns pertaining to the modifications to and minor sources of certain permits. We also have concerns about the definition of "fenceline community" and the practicality of noticing all property owners individually within the radius defined.

Last Name: Christopher Leyen Organization: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Locality: Richmond

Virginia League of Conservation Voters supports this legislation. Reasons to SUPPORT HB 2074: This Bill builds on the state’s commitment to EJ by imposing specific requirements on state agencies and local governments to advance environmental justice. This Bill implements the VEJA across the state government by requiring each state agency to adopt an environmental justice policy to govern agency decision-making affecting the environment. It also directs the Virginia’s EJ Interagency Working Group, modeled after the EPA’s Federal Interagency Working Group, to collaboratively support and carry out the purposes of the Act. This Bill prioritizes the needs of low-income areas, communities of color, or historically underserved communities by expanding and improving their access to transparent public engagement processes at the state level; Under the VEJA, all Virginians have a right to fair treatment and meaningful involvement in environmental decision-making.

Last Name: Campblin Organization: Virginia State Conference NAACP Locality: Fairfax

We must protect BIPOC from harmful and obnoxious uses in their community. In addition, everyone should have the right to be able to have productive contributions In the decision making processes relating to land use matters that may have a significant influence in their well being and quality of life. HB2074 would require every state agency to adopt agency-specific environmental justice policies, and codifies the Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group. Further, it requires the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and its citizen boards to approve a public participation plan to ensure that diverse voices are heard in hazardous use permitting applications. We must protect communities of color and other vulnerable populations, which is why we support this essential legislation. Our legislation should do no harm. Please support HB2074

Last Name: Adams Organization: Richmond Interfaith Climate Justice Locality: Richmond

Good Morning Committee Members, I am writing to comment on HB2074, the EJ Omnibus Bill, Del Simonds, patron. This bill builds on the important foundation that was laid by the Virginia Environmental Justice Act in the 2020 General Assembly, which initiated steps towards recognizing and protecting vulnerable rural, black, indigenous and communities of color that are most targeted to carry the burden of polluting industries in our state. Representatives of these communities provided the real, human insight and experiences that informed the initiatives outlined in HB2074 and the bill spells out needed next steps in Virginia's movement towards environmental justice. The growing recognition of the deep roots of systemic racism, colonialism, domination and cultural genocide in our Commonwealth also form the foundation and need for this legislation. Environmental justice is also racial justice, health, economic, community and social justice. Residents in marginalized communities continue to find themselves having to maneuver a business and governmental, local and state process and system weighted against them, without adequate access to vital information, education, resources, and support. Requiring state agencies and localities to adopt and implement specific EJ policies, and authorizing each state agency to issue regulations to implement their EJ policies once developed puts the proper weight on government taking responsibility toward providing EJ equity. I have witnessed how public engagement has been of such low quality in rural, brown and black communities and, especially in rural areas, poor internet and cell service and few gathering places results in residents not even knowing that a mega- polluting industry has sought to build in their neighborhood until most or all of the permitting process is complete. This bill prohibits the issuance of a permit for any covered activity until the applicant has submitted, and the permitting authority has approved, a public involvement plan, a cumulative impact statement, and an environmental justice impact statement and that will improve the possibility for residents to know in advance of projects moving forward and allow greater chance that they can speak of their concerns. And this bill for the first time requires that “cumulative impacts” of multiple polluting projects in an area are among those matters which must be considered in administration of agency actions. HB2074 provides solid, doable necessary changes and actions if we are serious about achieving environmental justice in Virginia . We have to decide whether or not black, indigenous, people of color in these communities will continue to be at the disadvantage, and their health, well-being and lives be sacrificed for business profits. Thank you to Delegate Simonds and I ask all the committee members to please vote to approve HB2074 and allow it to move forward.

Last Name: Pittard Organization: Sierra Club, VCN Locality: Henrico, VA

As a father, grandfather, driver of used Chevy Spark EV, owner of solar panels, planter and encourager of Virginia native plants in my yard, ground source geothermal heating/cooling owner, and citizen who wants our earthly home to survive and thrive so we humans and animals can survive and thrive, I support this measure. I urge you to support this measure. roger bruce giffen pittard 9201 minna drive henrico, va 23229

Last Name: Mathieu Organization: Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action Locality: Charlottesville, VA 22903

My name is Irène Mathieu and I am a pediatrician and professor at the University of Virginia. I am also a health equity researcher and advocate for climate justice. As a representative of Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action, I served on Virginia Conservation Network’s environmental justice review committee last year. This experience underscored for me the importance of reviewing policy with an environmental justice lens before it is enacted, through an inclusive and proactive promise. In my pediatric practice, I see the impact of climate change and environmental threats on a daily basis. From the baby born prematurely in a neighborhood disproportionately impacted by traffic-related air pollution to the child suffering from poorly controlled asthma due to poor air quality, environmental injustices threaten the health of the Commonwealth’s children. We have seen how the negative impacts of air and water pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction are borne most often by low-income Virginians, people of color, and those living in rural and inner city areas. That’s why I’m speaking today in support of House Bill 2074, also known as the Omnibus Environmental Justice Bill. This bill builds on the Virginia Environmental Justice Act of 2020 by requiring governmental agencies to prioritize the needs of the communities most severely affected by environmental decisions. This bill would expand and improve localized air quality monitoring, a move that would greatly assist the medical community and policymakers in crafting laws and regulations that consider environmental justice impacts on a wide range of issues. Recently Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action released our transportation emissions report. Unfortunately we were unable to focus on the disproportionate impacts to vulnerable populations due to a lack of available air quality monitoring data. It is particularly critical that we include the original requirement of this bill to establish permitting processes consistent with environmental justice standards, as originally written. Given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these same vulnerable communities, it is imperative that we reduce the risk of further harm. I urge you to join me in supporting House Bill 2074, for the health of all Virginians.

Last Name: Fisher Locality: Charlottesville

I strongly support the proposal of HB 2074 calling for the formation of a working group focused on Environmental Justice. Speaking as both a student and as a young person, I urge you to consider our collective futures. Without the formation of a working group designed specifically for interagency communication and action surrounding environmental justice, we will continue to reproduce complacency-- which will prove extremely harmful or fatal for communities vulnerable to the climate crisis. That vulnerability however is by no means the fault of the communities experiencing them-- rather the calculated result of systematic white supremacy and the extractive forces of capitalism. Virginia in particular bears witness to the disproportionate distribution of environmental harms that fall hard along racial and class lines. To name just one example, both the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines have already endangered a number of communities across Virginia. Union Hill in Buckingham County-- a predominately Black community-- faces the potential of a harmful and potentially explosive pipeline compressor station. HB 2074 will help to build legal and political channels & checks and balances to address environmentally and socially harmful projects like the compressor station. I urge you all to pass this bill and promote accountability for large big perpetrators of harm in Virginia like Dominion Energy.

Last Name: Caywod Organization: Hampton Roads Legislative Collaborative Table Locality: Virginia Beach

I spent my career as a librarian in public service and I know that re-orienting an institutional mindset is not easy. I believe Del. Simonds' bill will guide that needed change while producing immediate, practical results in quality of life for those Virginians who are too often the ones bearing environmental burdens. I have watched and provided comments on several recent permit requests and have seen first-hand the need for change. Environmental justice is a moral imperative and the health of fellow Virginians is the backbone of a strong economy. Please vote yes on HB2074.

Last Name: Jones Locality: Newport News

The Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as, “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, on the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental law, regulations, and policies.” Unfortunately, this definition has not been accurate in practice. For far too long, environmental injustices have not been taken seriously, leaving devastating implications for vulnerable communities. As public servants, you all have a responsibility to provide equitable welfare for all residents of the commonwealth. You are responsible for our health and welfare. You are responsible for the sustainability of your communities. Passing HB 2074 will be a step towards fulfilling your duties. This bill is important as it calls for effective enforcement of environmental justice policies. Environmental injustice is not something that should be glossed over. The health implications are REAL. The racist implications are REAL. The capitalist implications are REAL. Environmental injustice is a REAL systemic problem and it's time for Virginia to treat it as such. Pass this bill to let the people of Virginia know that you care about their needs. Pass this bill to let your communities know that you are committed to their sustainability. Pass this bill and start taking environmental justice seriously.

Last Name: George Locality: Alexandria

STRONGLY SUPPORT HB2074!

Last Name: Pien Organization: Loudoun Climate Project Locality: Leesburg

I urge you to support this bill. VEJA’s EJ policy declaration alone and current public participation requirements do not provide for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of Virginians in agencies' environmental decisions and actions. This is demonstrated by the persistent environmental injustices related to the siting of fossil fuel infrastructure, landfills, and other environmentally hazardous activities in environmental justice communities.

Last Name: Jemaine Organization: CCAN Action Fund Locality: glen allen

HB 2074 This bill builds on the Virginia Environmental Justice Act of 2020 which declared environmental justice (EJ) as the policy of the Commonwealth. First, the Bill amends VEJA to require state agencies to adopt agency specific EJ policies, and codifies the EJ Interagency Working Group created in last year’s budget bill. It also authorizes the EJ Interagency Working Group to conduct an assessment on the state’s air quality monitoring practices. Lastly, the bill requires local planning commissions to include an EJ strategy in their jurisdiction’s comprehensive plan. In short, this legislation operationalizes the policies and practices set forth by the 2020 Act. CCAN Action Fund asks for your support of HB 2074.

Last Name: Green Organization: SERV (Students for Equity and Reform in Virginia) Locality: Charlottesville

I urge you to support HB 2074 as a member of Students for Equity and Reform at UVA. We believe that environmental injustice has been overlooked by the state for far too long. The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental policies has broken down along the lines of race and class. Virginia communities have been drastically undermined by the effects of proximity to landfills, coal plants, and hazardous waste. Union Hill, Lambert’s Point, and the Mayfield neighborhood in Fredericksburg are just a few examples of communities burdened by a lack of environmental regulation at the local level. Our own DEQ released a study in October of 2020, which recommends that Virginia municipalities be required to consider environmental justice in their comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances. We believe that there is no better way to ensure that neighborhoods are protected from the byproducts of encroaching industry than HB 2074, and the standards it aims to hold to local government.

Last Name: Griffin Organization: New Virginia Majority Locality: Richmond

At New Virginia Majority, we support HB2047. Under the Virginia Environmental Justice Act (VEJA), environmental justice “means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of every person, regardless of race, color, national origin, income, faith, or disability, regarding the development, implementation, or enforcement of any environmental law, regulation, or policy.” We support this Bill because it builds upon that declaration by requiring agencies across the state government to adopt an environmental justice policy to govern agency decision-making affecting the environment. It also codifies and directs the EJ Interagency Working Group, included in last year’s budget and modeled after the EPA’s Federal Interagency Working Group, to collaboratively support and carry out the purposes of the Act. This legislation is particularly significant for making environmental permit decision-making accessible and participatory for covered activities and regulating environmental activities that often occur near low-income areas, communities of color, or historically underserved communities in Virginia that can be impacted by several environmental risks and harms simultaneously (cumulative impacts). VEJA’s EJ policy declaration and current public participation requirements alone cannot provide for the needed fair treatment and meaningful involvement of Virginians in agencies' environmental decisions and actions. This is evidenced by the expansive recommendations from DEQ’s recent 2020 EJ Study and demonstrated by continued environmental injustices related to the siting, construction, and operation of fossil fuel infrastructure, landfills, and other environmentally hazardous activities across the state. For these reasons, we highly recommend that the committee support this legislation, especially for its amendments to the VEJA and its effort to improve DEQ's consideration of environmental justice in the environmental permitting processes. Tyneshia Griffin, the Environmental Policy Research Analyst at New Virginia Majority.

Last Name: Forrester Organization: Virginia Organizing Locality: Richmond City

I am writing to voice my strong support for HB2074 and encourage the delegates on this committee to vote in favor of advancing the bill forward.

Last Name: van Tine Organization: Hampton Roads Legislative Collaborative Table, York R. Sierra Club EJ Committee Locality: Newport News

HB - 2074 is a long needed remedy for Environmental Injustices that have been routinely perpetrated on People of Color, Fenceline Communities and Environmental Justice Communities. Often, by the time these communities have learned of the damaging project the permit has already been through almost the entire process. The bill includes a way forward that is fair and needed to insure that such communities do not bear the brunt of dangerous pollutants in their air, water and soil -- impacting their health to a much greater extent than the health of more affluent communities and communities that are not primarily communities of color. Low income communities should not be expected to unfairly be exposed to noxious chemicals and dangerous projects just because of their income or racial composition. I urge you to support this critically important and long overdue Environmental Justice Legislation so that all Virginians may breath clean air and live in healthy environments.

Last Name: Smallwood Locality: Virginia Beach

Imagine waking up in the morning to the sound of birds chirping and the warmth of sunrays beaming on your forehead. You rise out of bed and prepare for your morning coffee. Yet, instead of the aroma of coffee percolating, you are assaulted by a rotten odor, or even worse, gas fumes. This is just a foretaste of what continues to threaten many communities in Virginia. And, this has been especially the case for low-income communities and communities of color. Therefor, I urge the committee to pass the Environmental Justice Omnibus Bill (HB 2074). My personal fight for environmental justice in my community has a similar tale. I presently serve on the ministerial staff at New Macedonia Christian UCC in the Bruce’s Park area of Norfolk. As a leader in the church and community, I am deeply connected to the families, young people, and schools. In 2018, my community came face to face with environmental inequality when a solid waste company attempted to place a trash dump in the heart of our community. After months of community organizing and protesting, the proposal to build the trash dump was denied. While my community was able to win this battle, there are a host of other communities still in the fight against big business seeking to obstruct the communities with like environmental hazards. Environmental justice is nonetheless justice, for clean air and clean drinking water is a basic human right. Therefore, I fully support Delegate Shelly Simonds and the Environmental Justice Omnibus Bill, and so should you. Passing this bill will require state agencies to adopt and implement agency specific environmental justice policies, require local planning commissions to incorporate environmental justice in comprehensive plans, and expand public involvement and consider environmental justices and cumulative impacts on marginalized communities.

Last Name: Zlatanova Locality: McLean

Environmental justice needs to be a core pillar of our environmental efforts because it addresses the needs of those most deeply impacted by environmental issues: communities of color and low income communities. There is tremendous urgency behind environmental issues and that is triple the case for EJ communities which bear the brunt of systemic racism and colonialist history on top. We need a requirement for agencies and local governments to advance EJ initiatives, or otherwise it won't happen: we've seen EJ communities deprioritized time and time again and we can't afford to have that any more. I strongly support this bill and urge Delegates to do the same. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Turner Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Richmond

Please support HB2074. Despite the passage of last year's Virginia Environmental Justice Act of 2020, the state still lacks the necessary tools to ensure EJ is meaningfully carried out throughout the Commonwealth. To accomplish this, it is necessary that we require EJ at the state and local levels, improve transparency and public involvement in decision-making, and authorizing agencies to make decisions to mitigate adverse impacts. Additionally, please support HB 2148. Simply put, this bill streamlines project approval for energy storage and hybrid projects, which combine clean energy and storage, to allow for rapid approval of solar projects up to 150MW, a necessary process to help us quickly and efficiently achieve our clean energy goals.

Last Name: Chapman Locality: Charlottesville

The benefits and burdens of agencies' environmental activities remain unequal among Virginians along lines of race, income, and geography. I support the Bill because it seeks to redress this inequity by requiring government agencies at the state and local level to take specific actions to advance environmental justice.

Last Name: Mafnas Organization: Food & Water Watch Locality: Alexandria

On behalf of Food & Water Watch's 28,000 members in Virginia, we support HB2074. We believe that in order to meaningfully address environmental justice issues, an interagency working group must be established and thorough measures, as outlined in HB2074, must be required for any project that affects a person's right to clean air and water. FWW believes HB2074 is necessary to address the systemic racism and economic factors that lead to polluting projects disproportionately affecting person of color and low-income communities. Thank you.

Last Name: Matteson Organization: Citizen Locality: North Chesterfield

Please support HB 1902 (Carr) and please support HB 2074 (Simonds) Thank you kindly, --Tyla Matteson, Chesterfield County

Last Name: Zweerink Organization: Green New Deal VA Locality: Richmond

I am writing to ask for your support for HB 2074, the Omnibus Environmental Justice Bill. The benefits and burdens of agencies' environmental activities remain unequal among Virginians along lines of race, income, and geography. I support the Bill because it seeks to redress this inequity by requiring government agencies at the state and local level to take specific actions to advance environmental justice. State agencies must be required to adopt and implement specific EJ policies and regulations that consider not only disproportionate but also cumulative impacts to thoroughly evaluate their historic and anticipated environmental actions. This is particularly significant for environmental activities near low-income areas, communities of color, or historically underserved communities that are impacted by several environmental risks and harms simultaneously. VEJA’s EJ policy declaration alone and current public participation requirements do not provide for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of Virginians in agencies' environmental decisions and actions. This is demonstrated by the persistent environmental injustices related to the siting of fossil fuel infrastructure, landfills, and other environmentally hazardous activities in environmental justice communities. The amendment of VEJA is even more critical in the face of an international respiratory virus outbreak, regional climate change, the state’s clean energy transition, and the rollback of over 100 federal environmental protections (Harvard School of Law; 2020) including the National Environmental Protection Policy Act (NEPA) by the Trump-led U.S. executive administration. For environmental justice to be effective in Virginia, we must back the VEJA’s EJ policy declaration with effective legislation that addresses disparity in access to healthy environment at the source.

Last Name: Lessard Locality: Richmond, VA

I write in support of HB2074. As a Virginian that lives in an area identified in the NY Times article as one of the most swelting parts of Richmond due to decades of racist housing policy, I see everyday the impact of inequity in our neighborhoods. Although Virginia now has a basic environmental justice policy, our state still lacks the tools to ensure environmental justice is carried out. I urge you to support HB2074 to operationalize environmental justice at the state and local levels.

Last Name: Fust Locality: Augusta

I would like to see the Virginia government putting the well being of communities of color first when considering permits for new industrial construction in those communities. We have been redlining and placing polluting industry in these communities for far too long.

Last Name: Kreydatus Organization: Mothers Out Front Locality: Henrico

I have spent the past two years supporting the community of Charles City County as they've faced endless environmental justice threats from two fracked gas plants permitted for their county without adequate citizen notification, and also the threat of the expansion of a mega landfill in their backyards. With good reason, these residents worry that these projects will increase already high cancer rates, erode their property values, and deplete their water supply. This community was targeted for these projects, and not even informed about the permit process, because regulators and developers disregarded and dismissed the rights of this majority minority population. This is environmental injustice at its worst, and it has happened in Cumberland County, in Buckingham County, in Newport News with the permitting of a naval shipyard . . . the list goes on and on. Virginia needs legislation that will protect all of its citizens and ensure environmental injustice does not continue. Please support HB2074 and the amazing work of the Environmental Interagency working group. In order to ensure the rights of Virginians, we need environmental justice and we need to pass HB 2074.

Last Name: Srinivasaraghavan Locality: Chantilly

https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1NZUogiNJXi2aglaLRRYMyZS0ZG175jzK9mnYMG_Uxso/mobilebasic

Last Name: Tuttle Locality: Millboro, VA

There is no excuse to prolong the past due wait for EJ concerns to be at the forefront of the decision making process. Too long have the benefits and burdens of agencies' environmental activities remain unequal among Virginians along lines of race, income, and geography. This bill is a vital expansion of the state's responsibility to use EJ in every consideration by requiring each state agency to adopt an environmental justice policy to govern agency decision-making affecting the environment, and by imposing specific requirements on state agencies and local governments to advance environmental justice. This Bill prioritizes the needs of low-income areas, communities of color, or historically underserved communities by expanding and improving their access to transparent public engagement processes at the state level; Under the VEJA, all Virginians have a right to fair treatment and meaningful involvement in environmental decision-making.

Last Name: Dr. John Whitley Locality: Williamsburg

We are surrounded and embraced by OUR environment. The power of the forces therein determines the conditions of our present and the quality of our future. The Environment has no other legal protections than those enacted by you and other folk in their elected chambers. Your family depends on a supportive environment for all their activities...and their lives. So does mine. You hold in your finger-tip the vote for the quality of the future for our land and our people. Vote YES for HB2074

Last Name: Rev Robert Chesnut Locality: Glen Allen

Please support this legislation to make our Commonwealth truly green.

Last Name: Milner Organization: Virginia Organizing Locality: Norfolk

I support Bill 2074. Communities of color are usually impacted by industrial construction sites, hazardous dumping grounds and sewage plants This bill allows the communities impacted to have a voice in the process. This is a step in the right direction. Yes to environmental justice in Virginia.

Last Name: Ross Organization: Virginia Interfaith Center Locality: Springfield

As climate change wreaks havoc on our world, it is increasingly obvious that our own actions and lifestyles have highly impacted and worsened the natural phenomenon of climate shifting. As a citizen of Springfield, it is utterly imperative that we seek alternate sources of energy, continue recycling, and provide healthy climate actions for future generations of all economic, racial, and other marginalized communities. The churches of Virginia have joined to raise our prayers and our voices to see that we treat our planet with the respect it deserves, and ensure a healthy life for all those to come. Please vote YES on HB 2074 and other initiatives that work to preserve our community so that many may enjoy it for decades of our future. Dixie Ross 7704C Lexton Place Springfield, VA 22152

Last Name: Little Locality: Charlottesville

I urge you to support HB 2074. The state of Virginia has a long history of environmental injustice and we need to be stronger in our will to protect our people from environmental degradation. We all need clean air and clean water. As a mother and as a nurse I believe we have a moral obligation to require state agencies to adopt and implement specific environmental justice policies and regulations that consider not only disproportionate, but also cumulative impacts of environmental burdens when evaluating their effects, either anticipated or historic. This is particularly significant for low-income areas, communities of color, or historically underserved communities that are impacted by several environmental risks and harms simultaneously.

Last Name: Wambold Organization: Virginia Interfaith Power and Light Locality: Henrico

So many news articles report the harm we have done to our environment. As a person of faith, I believe we have a responsibility to care for the planet. This bill is a step in the right direction. I also think it is good that environmental ills are recognized as harmful especially to the economically disadvantaged. I hope HB2074 will become law. Thank you.

Last Name: Johnston Organization: VAIPL Locality: Richmond

As a person of faith, I urge you to support the Environmental Justice Omnibus bill HB 2074 AND Environmental Justice Act Amendment. We need environmental justice because vulnerable populations in Virginia continue to bear increased risks from all kinds of polluting industries. Protecting our shared Earth and caring for my neighbors is my moral and civic obligation. HB 2074 is the first step in setting a standard for environmental justice in Virginia. I ask you to create a basic environmental justice framework for the Commonwealth that protects all of Virginians by passing these bills.

Last Name: Ware Organization: N/a Locality: Tappahannock

As a citizen who lives in the state and on the Rappahannock river and has seen the impact of poor stewardship, I ask that the General Assembly support these bills.

HB2148 - Small renewable energy projects; energy storage.
Last Name: Leyen Organization: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Locality: Richmond

Virginia League of Conservation Voters supports this legislation. This bill streamlines the permitting process for energy storage projects, allowing them to follow the same process currently used for solar and wind projects, known as ‘permit-by-rule.’ Specifically, this bill: Provides for efficient approval of energy storage, the process of capturing energy from renewable energy projects and storing it for later redistribution on the grid based on demand. Will make it easier to build hundreds of energy storage and hybrid projects, which combine clean energy and storage to make a resilient, reliable grid. Streamlines project approval to help realize over $3 billion in storage-related investment in Virginia over the next 15 years and will create good-paying jobs here in Virginia.

Last Name: Turner Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Richmond

Please support HB2074. Despite the passage of last year's Virginia Environmental Justice Act of 2020, the state still lacks the necessary tools to ensure EJ is meaningfully carried out throughout the Commonwealth. To accomplish this, it is necessary that we require EJ at the state and local levels, improve transparency and public involvement in decision-making, and authorizing agencies to make decisions to mitigate adverse impacts. Additionally, please support HB 2148. Simply put, this bill streamlines project approval for energy storage and hybrid projects, which combine clean energy and storage, to allow for rapid approval of solar projects up to 150MW, a necessary process to help us quickly and efficiently achieve our clean energy goals.

Last Name: Ross Organization: Virginia Interfaith Center Locality: Springfield

As climate change wreaks havoc on our world, it is increasingly obvious that our own actions and lifestyles have highly impacted and worsened the natural phenomenon of climate shifting. As a citizen of Springfield, it is utterly imperative that we seek alternate sources of energy, continue recycling, and provide healthy climate actions for future generations of all economic, racial, and other marginalized communities. The churches of Virginia have joined to raise our prayers and our voices to see that we treat our planet with the respect it deserves, and ensure a healthy life for all those to come. Please vote YES on HB 2074 and other initiatives that work to preserve our community so that many may enjoy it for decades of our future. Dixie Ross 7704C Lexton Place Springfield, VA 22152

Last Name: Estes Organization: Apex Clean Energy Locality: Charlottesville

To House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources - Natural Resources Sub-Committee Members, My name is Rachael Estes and I am the Senior Government Affairs Manager for Apex Clean Energy. I am writing to express our support for HB 2148, introduced by Delegate Rodney Willett. Apex Clean Energy is a renewable energy company that develops, constructs, and operates wind and solar power facilities across North America. We are based in Charlottesville, VA and employee over 200 renewable energy experts. We have over 1GW of projects in development in Virginia alone, including the first ever onshore wind project, Rocky Forge. We were thrilled to see the Virginia legislature pass the VCEA last session and look forward to helping Virginia accelerate the shift to clean energy. In order to do so, energy storage will need to be a part of that equation, as the VCEA acknowledges. However, the current approval process requires energy storage projects to be approved through a cumbersome and complex process at the SCC. Allowing energy storage projects to be permitted through the “permit by rule” process would help streamline energy storage projects by offering them the same clear process as wind and solar development. This is especially true for energy storage projects that are built in conjunction with solar projects – something that is becoming more common and will make a big difference in helping Virginia meet its ambitious clean energy goals. As a renewable energy developer heavily invested in Virginia, we strongly support incorporating energy storage into the PBR process. Please vote ‘yes’ on HB 2148. Thank you, Rachael Estes Senior Government Affairs Manager Apex Clean Energy Inc.

Last Name: Staples Locality: Chesapeake

Good Day, I would like you to know that on every trip that I make to various State Forest and the George Washington National Forest. I find several ballons while hiking, hunting or fishing. On my visits to Virginia Beach they are a constant wash up item that I find and dispose of. Please put an end to this needless celebratory practice. The harm to wildlife is terrible. 40 years ago, I watched a whitetail doe pull a balloon from a Mountain Laurel and partially eat it. Imagine how many times that scene has been repeated over the decades since. Thank you.

Last Name: DePew Organization: Urban Grid Solar Locality: Midlothian

Madam Chairman and members of the Committee, Urban Grid is a Richmond based developer of utility-scale solar and solar + storage hybrid projects. Since our founding in 2011, we have been working and investing in Virginia. Urban Grid is strongly committed to enhancing economic opportunities and bringing solar energy to Virginia. On behalf of the Urban Grid Solar, we wish to express our strong support for Delegate Willett's HB 2148, which grants the Department of Environmental Quality the authority to permit hybrid solar + storage and standalone storage projects. With the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), the legislature saw fit to set a goal of constructing over 18,000MW of solar and 3,000MW of storage in the next 10-15 years. Virginia developers have heeded this call and to date have nearly 20,000MW of solar projects under development, with nearly 6,000MW considered combined solar and storage hybrid projects. As it stands, a significant portion of that 6,000MW figure is at risk due to the current system for hybrid storage permitting. Beyond the VCEA’s storage targets, Hybrid and standalone storage projects are essential to meeting the VCEA’s solar goals as well. As more solar comes online, hybrid and standalone storage is needed to better integrate these renewables into the grid. The current permitting system creates two separate, parallel permitting processes for different parts of a single hybrid project. Any hybrid storage project with storage over 1MW would need both non-discretionary approval from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for the solar and then discretionary approval from the SCC for the storage. Urban Grid believes that the current discretionary permitting frameworks at the SCC significantly increase the complexity, the risk and the development timeline for developing hybrid assets in Virginia. This is even before the potential for delay in the SCC process on the specific permitting for these plants, and the possible denial of permit applications late in the development cycle, further diminishing the Virginia solar queue needed to meet the VCEA’s goals. The issue here lies in the fact that both the solar component and the storage component are integral to the entirety of a hybrid project. Hybrid projects are planned, designed and engineered from the ground up to incorporate storage into the overall solar plant. This design supports a specific business model, which is much more complex than a solar only project. A developer could not simply remove the storage component from a hybrid project, that would be like trying to unscramble an egg. This legislation is designed to remedy the current predicament that we find ourselves in. By placing hybrid and standalone storage under the Permit By Rule process, this synchronizes and streamlines the permitting processes in the state for renewable, hybrid and standalone storage projects better enabling Virginia to meet its stated renewable goals. For these reasons, we thank you for your consideration and strongly support HB 2148. Sincerely, Frank DePew President & CEO Urban Grid Solar

Last Name: Smucker Organization: Chesapeake Solar and Storage Association (formally known as MDV-SEIA) Locality: Richmond City

CHESSA is in opposition to Delegate Webert's HB 2067, as it would shrink the MW limit on PBR solar projects from 150MWs (current code) to 50MWs, cutting the size of eligible projects by 2/3rds. This policy would work against the Commonwealth's directive by the VCEA and directly prohibit us from successfully achieving Virginia's ambitious clean energy goals. CHESSA supports Delegate Willet's HB 2148, which adds energy storage to the "Permit by Rule" (PBR) program, which will allow battery storage and hybrid (storage + renewables) projects to use DEQ's PBR process for permitting. This model program ensures that projects are permitted safely and quickly and remains a key attraction to solar developers. By expanding and streamlining this process for hybrid and standalone storage projects, the Commonwealth will be able to achieve its clean energy goals laid out by the VCEA while continuing to attract investment and create jobs in Virginia.

HB2221 - Environmental permits; community and environmental justice outreach.
Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

The VMA represents the largest number of environmental permit holders and the interests of industrial businesses in the Commonwealth. However, the VMA was never engaged in the development of this legislation or afforded the privilege of a meeting with the bill's patron after repeated requests. Regardless, the VMA submitted friendly amendments to Delegate Hayes by email. Our intent was two-fold: 1) make this regulation more practicable; and 2) eliminate minor air sources. Our rationale is as follows: • Exempting all minor air sources, except greenfield stationary sources, will still enable the focus of EJ to continue without capturing hundreds of other small permittees that will not have the staff or resources to conduct this level of effort for truly minor environmental impacts. We also acknowledge this will make the regulation more manageable for DEQ. • Applying a uniform public notice requirement will better ensure compliance. Three and five miles is unmanageable and arbitrary. For example, in dense urban areas, this could be tens of thousands of people. Written notice to land owners adjacent to permittees is practical. Beyond these technical amendments, the expansive regulatory control established by this bill will have a substantial impact on energy resources and industrial development at the State, Regional, and Local levels. The new broadly defined standards create substantial uncertainty that will repel most investors that have equal or better choices in competing states. There are other concerns about this bill that have not been considered such as the Judicial Review of EJ cost-benefit analysis and modeling; better standards for pollution exposure vs. toxicity determinations; impacts of carbon leakage from suppressing industrial development; redefining "fenceline" communities to include proper consideration of local land use regulations beyond the control of permitted businesses; lack of industry involvement in citizen boards promulgating regulations and permit determinations; a better understanding of industry cluster policies of state and local economic development programs; and a better understanding of the specific definition of EJ, EJ community, and EJ impact assessments (positive and negative). In closing, the VMA and its member companies support the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. As such, it is advisable that this bill should be further evaluated for unintended consequences and directly engage the regulated community and economic development community to produce a consensus bill for the 2022 General Assembly's consideration.

Last Name: Killius Organization: James River Association Locality: Richmond

The James River Association appreciates the opportunity to register our support for HB2221, a bill to advance public outreach so that communities have early notice and the ability to weigh in on the projects and permits that will affect their health and well-being. We thank the patron for carrying this important legislation, and we hope it is the will of the committee to report the bill.

Last Name: Caywood Organization: Hampton Roads Legislative Collaborative Table Locality: Virginia Beach

We support HB 2221 Environmental permits; community and environmental justice outreach. Two dozen Hampton Roads social justice organizations gathered in August and prioritized legislative issues. This bill responds to one of our six top priorities. Public engagement is critical to successful government. When people don't have the resources to meaningfully comment on permits that will affect the quality of their lives, the downstream costs can be massive. This is an issue not only of justice but also of practicality. Please vote for HB2221.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

We appreciate the patrons amending these bills to incorporate positive changes to provide better participation and transparency for all stakeholders. However, we still have concerns pertaining to the modifications to and minor sources of certain permits. We also have concerns about the definition of "fenceline community" and the practicality of noticing all property owners individually within the radius defined.

Last Name: Ford Organization: Chesapeake Bay Foundation Locality: Belle Haven Virginia

Chesapeake Bay Foundation supports this legislation as an important first step in reforming our public outreach and involvement process. This legislation is line with the e

Last Name: Ross Organization: Virginia Interfaith Center Locality: Springfield

As climate change wreaks havoc on our world, it is increasingly obvious that our own actions and lifestyles have highly impacted and worsened the natural phenomenon of climate shifting. As a citizen of Springfield, it is utterly imperative that we seek alternate sources of energy, continue recycling, and provide healthy climate actions for future generations of all economic, racial, and other marginalized communities. The churches of Virginia have joined to raise our prayers and our voices to see that we treat our planet with the respect it deserves, and ensure a healthy life for all those to come. Please vote YES on HB 2074 and other initiatives that work to preserve our community so that many may enjoy it for decades of our future. Dixie Ross 7704C Lexton Place Springfield, VA 22152

HB2298 - Muzzleloading rifle and shotgun; clarifies definitions.
Last Name: Webb Locality: Hanover

This bill will bring the Virginia definition of muzzleloader in line with the Federal definition. It will increase safety by helping to prevent overcharges and making it easier for hunters to unload their muzzleloader if they did not use it while hunting. VCDL supports this bill. I respectfully request that you vote in favor of passing to the floor of the House. Patricia Webb

Last Name: Van Cleave Organization: Virginia Citizens Defense League Locality: Chesterfield

Speaking as president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) and its 35,000 members, VCDL supports this bill.

End of Comments