Public Comments for 02/15/2021 Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources - Chesapeake Subcommittee
SB1258 - Solar projects; erosion and sediment control.
Last Name: Russell Locality: Virginia Beach

The pipeline for oil needs to be reopened but thanks to our corrupt president biden it got closed which put a lot of people out of work and raised gas prices.

Last Name: Lapis Locality: Washington County, Bristol

Clean water matters.

SB1265 - Natural gas pipelines; stop work orders.
Last Name: Russell Locality: Virginia Beach

The pipeline for oil needs to be reopened but thanks to our corrupt president biden it got closed which put a lot of people out of work and raised gas prices.

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

My name is Jolene Mafnas and on behalf of Food & Water Watch, we support Senator Deeds’s Water Protection bill SB1265 because we believe it will improve the Commonwealth’s inspection and enforcement process relating to natural gas pipelines equal or greater than 24" in diameter, providing necessary defensive measures for proposed projects like the Virginia Natural Gas Interconnect Project. Senator Deed's bill clarifies what "adverse impacts" can trigger stop work orders by DEQ through specifying that these orders may be issued when any water quality standard is violated or adverse impacts are repeated and widespread. SB1265 will give more power to the DEQ to protect our waterways from dangerous pipeline projects. FWW also supports Senator McClellan’s Water Protection bill SB1311 which will improve the review process of erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans for interstate gas pipeline projects. Although FWW is opposed to any fracked gas pipeline project, these bills can ensure pipeline projects cannot blatantly hurt our environment as we have seen with Mountain Valley Pipeline's destruction to Southwest Virginia's waterways and mountains.

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

For SB 1265, I urge removal of every instance of this and similar phrasing "...the Department may issue a stop work instruction for every work area in Virginia ...." from this bill because this could easily create a situation of over-reach and politically influenced demands.

Last Name: Sligh Organization: Wild Virginia Locality: Albemarle County

My name is David Sligh and I speak for Wild Virginia and our members across the state. I have long experience with state and federal processes for FERC-regulated pipelines, in Virginia as well at WV, MD, and SC. I am a former senior environmental engineer with DEQ and understand the technical needs for reviewing these types of projects and the regulatory requirements challenges that must be met. I am also an attorney and have worked on Clean Water Act section 401 cases in each of the states listed above and others. Wild Virginia strongly supports SB 1265 and SB1311. SB1265 will greatly strengthen DEQ's authority to take effective action to address and stop damages to our waters from major gas pipeline projects. The need for these enhancements to the law has been shown to be necessary by problems with Mountain Valley Pipeline. SB1311 would require submission of all necessary information before a project can be certified by the state. The erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans are essential to making a reasoned judgment and it is inappropriate to wait until after certification to require them. The agency cannot make a valid finding that compliance with our water quality standards is assured without this pre-decision review of plans. The state has full authority under both state and federal law to deny certification for lack of sufficient information, including the absence of complete E&S and stormwater plans, on a time scale that allows it to avoid unintentional waiver under EPA's regulations. The bill's command that a request be denied if the applicant does not provide sufficient information directly reflects both the wording of the federal regulation and EPA's stated interpretation of that regulation. In a parallel process to the certification provided to FERC for major pipelines, for impacts regulated by the Corps of Engineers, the state already requires detailed plans under the Virginia Water Protection Permit regulation, including cross-sectional and profile drawings for every waterbody crossing. That example is analogous to to this one. It is also notable that FERC has never required a period shorter than one year for state action on a certification request, which allows the state much time to work with the applicant to get complete and adequate plans and finish reviews without risking waiver or having to deny certification because of insufficient information. If FERC or any other agency defines a time limit for state action that is less than one year, that agency must justify that the deadline is "reasonable" in light of the nature and extent of the project covered. For any large pipeline that would cross through multiple watersheds and waterbodies, a greatly-shortened time frame would be very difficult to defend. I am prepared to testify at the committee's hearing or to speak with any member about these issues at any time.

Last Name: Calvert Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Charlottesville

On behalf of 150 organizational conservation partners across the Commonwealth, Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) is in full support of this bill. We hope that it is the will of the House of Delegates to vote to SUPPORT this legislation.

Last Name: Pien Organization: Earth Rise Indivisible, Loudoun Climate Project, Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun Earth Justice Team Locality: Leesburg

Many inter- & intra- state gas pipelines are less than 36” in diameter. Currently, VA DEQ inspections of land-disturbing activities for construction of pipelines apply only to those larger than 36”. “Adverse impacts” to trigger stop work orders by DEQ are not well defined and DEQ is not authorized to issue stop work orders for repeated, frequent, and widespread adverse impact. SB 1265 authorizes: inspection of land disturbing activities for pipelines 24” in diameter; clarifies “adverse impacts;” and permits DEQ to issue stop work orders. This bill will protect Virginia's water resources from inter & intra state pipeline construction pollution. Support SB1265

SB1282 - Greenhouse gas emissions inventory; regulations.
Last Name: Russell Locality: Virginia Beach

The pipeline for oil needs to be reopened but thanks to our corrupt president biden it got closed which put a lot of people out of work and raised gas prices.

Last Name: Lapis Locality: Washington County, Bristol

Clean water matters.

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

I oppose SB1282 because this information will be used to promote political agendas (hence, "every four years") , and it prohibits transparency, again, appearing political: "The bill exempts proprietary information collected by the Department from the mandatory disclosure requirements of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act."

Last Name: Hatcher Locality: Boones Mill

These bills are very much important and I urge considerations.

Last Name: Williams Locality: Northumberland

Please pass this bill. It is the humane way to address the feral cat population.

SB1291 - Va. Water Protection Permit; withdrawal of surface water or ground water, plans for water auditing.
Last Name: Russell Locality: Virginia Beach

The pipeline for oil needs to be reopened but thanks to our corrupt president biden it got closed which put a lot of people out of work and raised gas prices.

Last Name: Bryant Organization: Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Association Locality: Richmond

I write on behalf of the Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Association (VWWAA), which represents more than 50 public service authorities (PSAs) across Virginia. First, VWWAA is grateful to Sen. Mason for being receptive to our concerns. Sen. Mason and his office have been very accessible and responsive. VWWAA ask that you oppose, as written, SB 1291. However, there are amendments which, if adopted, would lead to VWWAA to not oppose the bill. VWWAA understands the importance of repairing utility leakages. Indeed, repairing leaks makes up a significant part of most utilities’ annual maintenance budgets. As proposed, SB 1291, authorizes the DEQ to require water audits. VWWAA does not oppose water audits. However, VWWAA does oppose any potential DEQ regulation that may require water leak repairs take precedent over other infrastructure projects that, in the utility’s discretion, may be necessarily more pressing under a given set of circumstances. We are concerned that DEQ could draft regulations, per this bill, as written, to require leak repairs take precedent over all maintenance projects. Recognizing that repairing leaking utility lines is important, utilities should retain discretion over their maintenance plans and budgets. AMENDMENTS REQUESTED The following set of amendments does not harm SB 1291’s intent. • Line 18, after “detection” strike “and repair” • Line 20, after “detection” strike “and repair” • Line 21, after “detection” strike “and repair” • Line 24, after “detection” strike “and repair” • Line 55, after “detection” strike “and repair” To be clear, striking "and repair" does not mean that utilities will not continue prioritizing to the extent possible water leaks. Repairing leaks will continue to be important maintenance responsibilities. Striking "and repair" will clarify that repairs do not supplant other maintenance projects that circumstances -- including water line breaks and emergencies -- in the leak detection plan to be submitted. Thank you for your consideration. Preston Bryant (on behalf of the Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Association)

Last Name: Pomeroy Organization: Va Muni Drinking Water Assn (VMDWA) Locality: Glen Allen

On behalf of the Virginia Municipal Drinking Water Association, please oppose if necessary or otherwise amend SB 1291 (Mason) to retain local governmental discretion to manage and prioritize local issues in water utility capital improvement plans (CIPs). The bill authorizes DEQ to require “water audits,” which the Drinking Water Association does not oppose. The Association’s concern is that the bill also authorizes DEQ to regulate water leak repair projects thereby taking away local utility management discretion, which is complicated matter of balancing competing local ratepayer needs that extend beyond water leaks. Please strike "and repair" wherever it appears. Concerns 1. Municipal utilities have limited budgets generated by customer payments to manage, repair and replace costly water infrastructure with a priority on continuity of service with safe drinking water. 2. Municipal utilities’ CIPs must be prioritized to address the most pressing issues. For example, it might be more important in any one time to replace a non-leaking but critical water main due to risk of failure than to replace a less critical but leaking line. 3. Similarly drinking water utilities are facing costly new federal and state mandates for public health protection such as lead and PFAS. Leak repairs, which of interest, are usually a lower priority than health protection. 4. Utility managers are in the best position to understand and determine repair priorities for the local water system. A statewide regulation is not a good fit for regulating the professional engineering and utility management to meet local needs. 5. From an aging infrastructure standpoint, we expect that older systems in older “first cities” and their ratepayers will be among most adversely affected by the costs of repair mandates and associated water rate impacts. 6. From a percentage of loss standpoint, based on the following list from DEQ using available information it appears that small systems largely in Southside and Southwest Virginia are likely to be among the most adversely affected by the costs of repair mandates and associated water rate impacts (see table emailed to Subcommittee members separately). 7. These are areas (and others) are generally facing customer affordability challenges already, exacerbated by COVID19 impacts. The Association recommends that it would be more appropriate to proceed with the water auditing element of the bill and defer state regulation of local repair decisions at this time. Requested Amendments • Line 18, after “detection” strike “and repair” • Line 20, after “detection” strike “and repair” • Line 21, after “detection” strike “and repair” • Line 24, after “detection” strike “and repair” • Line 55, after “detection” strike “and repair”

Last Name: Calvert Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Charlottesville

On behalf of 150 organizational conservation partners across the Commonwealth, Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) is in full support of this bill. We hope that it is the will of the House of Delegates to vote to SUPPORT this legislation.

SB1311 - Water quality standards; modification of permits and certifications.
Last Name: Russell Locality: Virginia Beach

The pipeline for oil needs to be reopened but thanks to our corrupt president biden it got closed which put a lot of people out of work and raised gas prices.

Last Name: Cathcart Organization: Speaking as an individual who was elected by Roanoke City to serve on the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation Board Locality: Roanoke

Please vote for SB 1311. This legislation provides essential information and guidance to gas companies during construction of infrastructure projects while protecting our waterways. I met with the DEQ project manager assigned to the MVP project about the continuing failures of MVP's erosion and sediment controls. He told me that even though the MVP project was continuing to pollute the waterways of endangered fish there was nothing he could do because MVP was in compliance with state laws. Then the pipeline was told to stop by the federal courts because of the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. The state needs to update our statutes to protect our waterways and to help companies be successful. This legislation is a crucial step in the right direction. Please vote for this important legislation and have it take effect immediately upon the governor's signature.

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

My name is Jolene Mafnas and on behalf of Food & Water Watch, we support Senator Deeds’s Water Protection bill SB1265 because we believe it will improve the Commonwealth’s inspection and enforcement process relating to natural gas pipelines equal or greater than 24" in diameter, providing necessary defensive measures for proposed projects like the Virginia Natural Gas Interconnect Project. Senator Deed's bill clarifies what "adverse impacts" can trigger stop work orders by DEQ through specifying that these orders may be issued when any water quality standard is violated or adverse impacts are repeated and widespread. SB1265 will give more power to the DEQ to protect our waterways from dangerous pipeline projects. FWW also supports Senator McClellan’s Water Protection bill SB1311 which will improve the review process of erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans for interstate gas pipeline projects. Although FWW is opposed to any fracked gas pipeline project, these bills can ensure pipeline projects cannot blatantly hurt our environment as we have seen with Mountain Valley Pipeline's destruction to Southwest Virginia's waterways and mountains.

Last Name: Cathcart Organization: Speaking as an individual who was elected by Roanoke City to serve on the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation Board Locality: Roanoke

It's crucial SB 1311 passes and goes into effect immediately upon the signature of the Governor. This important legislation will protect our water and provide gas pipeline companies with the information they need to be successful. Similar to making sure a landowners knows if their land percs before they try to build a home on it. SB 1311 provides a much needed legislative remedy to prevent non-point source pollution from huge pipelines construction. Late this past fall, MVP ignored warnings and appeals from localities and the regional Soil and Water Conservation Board to review their erosion and sediment control plans and to delay new construction until after the winter. There wasn't a state law remedy to keep them from commencing construction that resulted in sediment pollution entering the habitat for the endangered Roanoke logperch. Now MVP is bogged down in federal litigation suits and our waterways are still in danger from MVP's inadequate erosion and sediment controls. This legislation will help update state laws to reflect recent federal court rulings.

Last Name: Sligh Organization: Wild Virginia Locality: Albemarle County

My name is David Sligh and I speak for Wild Virginia and our members across the state. I have long experience with state and federal processes for FERC-regulated pipelines, in Virginia as well at WV, MD, and SC. I am a former senior environmental engineer with DEQ and understand the technical needs for reviewing these types of projects and the regulatory requirements challenges that must be met. I am also an attorney and have worked on Clean Water Act section 401 cases in each of the states listed above and others. Wild Virginia strongly supports SB 1265 and SB1311. SB1265 will greatly strengthen DEQ's authority to take effective action to address and stop damages to our waters from major gas pipeline projects. The need for these enhancements to the law has been shown to be necessary by problems with Mountain Valley Pipeline. SB1311 would require submission of all necessary information before a project can be certified by the state. The erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans are essential to making a reasoned judgment and it is inappropriate to wait until after certification to require them. The agency cannot make a valid finding that compliance with our water quality standards is assured without this pre-decision review of plans. The state has full authority under both state and federal law to deny certification for lack of sufficient information, including the absence of complete E&S and stormwater plans, on a time scale that allows it to avoid unintentional waiver under EPA's regulations. The bill's command that a request be denied if the applicant does not provide sufficient information directly reflects both the wording of the federal regulation and EPA's stated interpretation of that regulation. In a parallel process to the certification provided to FERC for major pipelines, for impacts regulated by the Corps of Engineers, the state already requires detailed plans under the Virginia Water Protection Permit regulation, including cross-sectional and profile drawings for every waterbody crossing. That example is analogous to to this one. It is also notable that FERC has never required a period shorter than one year for state action on a certification request, which allows the state much time to work with the applicant to get complete and adequate plans and finish reviews without risking waiver or having to deny certification because of insufficient information. If FERC or any other agency defines a time limit for state action that is less than one year, that agency must justify that the deadline is "reasonable" in light of the nature and extent of the project covered. For any large pipeline that would cross through multiple watersheds and waterbodies, a greatly-shortened time frame would be very difficult to defend. I am prepared to testify at the committee's hearing or to speak with any member about these issues at any time.

Last Name: Calvert Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Charlottesville

On behalf of 150 organizational conservation partners across the Commonwealth, Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) is in full support of this bill. We hope that it is the will of the House of Delegates to vote to SUPPORT this legislation.

Last Name: Cathcart Organization: Speaking as an individual who was elected by Roanoke City to serve on the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation Board Locality: Roanoke

This legislation is good for companies as well as the environment. It's imperative that the state provide companies with crucial information so they can be successful, like requiring a landowner to know if their land percs before they get a building certificate. Director Paylor surprised people when he testified during the Senate committee meeting that Mountain Valley Pipeline's construction was doing better and they had hardly any violations in 2020. That's because the DEQ isn't issuing violations when MVP continues to pollute the waterways of endangered fish due to there not being a remedy in the state statute. SB 1311 provides a remedy to prevent tragedies documented by volunteer citizen monitors since FERC lifted the stop work order in October 2020. MVP ignored warnings and appeals from localities and the regional Soil and Water Conservation Board to review their erosion and sediment control plans and to delay new construction until after the winter. MVP didn't get a DEQ violation for ignoring the warnings from localities and the regional Soil and Water Conservation Board for polluting the headwaters for the endangered Roanoke log perch because they installed the erosion and sediment controls according to the approved plans. Please vote for SB 1311 to protect our waterways from polluted storm water drainage due to massive pipeline projects. We need an immediate legislative remedy to protect our waterways and to bring state statute in alignment with recent court rulings. It's crucial SB 1311 passes and goes into effect immediately upon the signature of the Governor.

End of Comments