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Bill to expand water board review of the environmental impact on certain communities by lawmakers

Bill to expand water board review of the environmental impact on certain communities by lawmakers

RICHMOND VA — Lawmakers rejected a plan to update state lawIt was also examined how future development could impact water quality in communities that have historically been economically or socially disadvantageous.

Del. Rodney T. Willett, D-Henrico, introduced House Bill 393 was defeated in committee by a party-line vote in January.The State Water Control Board would have to examine the socio-economic implications of developments affecting water quality in low income communities, including rural areas that rely on water for drinking, farming, and livestock.

Advocates claimed that the Willetts bill added an additional provision to expand the water board review of a project beyond its environmental impacts to include its impact on humans, who may need additional protections.

The water board is overseen by the Department of Environmental QualityThe, which establishes water quality standards and develops policies to conserve water resources. It also establishes requirements regarding the reuse and treatment wastewater.

Willett stated regulation and testing would be a key part of ensuring clean water access in those communities. This process is similar to the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board which is also overseen through DEQ.

Willett stated that some of the things we did for clean air were not done for clean water because of the regulatory process.

The legislation was passed by state legislators Environmental Justice Act2020. The bill defined the terms and communities that would be involved in the effort and outlined the state’s commitment to environmental justice.

This legislation was passed on to regulatory agencies that examine applications and policies. The State Air Pollution Control BoardDEQ now must consider site suitability. This refers to how a project will affect the community and area where it is located. A regulatory panel is currently examining new rules to help ensure environmental justice.

Peggy Sanners (executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation) analyzes site suitability. Could also be applied to the work the water board. Sanners testified in support of the bill. It is pertinent that DEQ is conducting an regulatory development process to determine site viability, she stated.

The water board authorizes development and projects in communities where water quality may be affected. To ensure that water quality does not impact nearby communities, pipeline proposals that could release pollutants into water are currently reviewed by the water board. Jessica Sims of Appalachian Voices. The group advocates for clean air and water.

Sims said that if a project is expected to have economic impact, Sims recommends that the socio-economic demographics be reviewed.

According to Peter Anderson, Appalachian Voices Virginia policy Director, pollutants that are released into water at certain levels can alter the water’s quality. Anderson states that sediment pollution caused by pipeline construction can get into rural wells for drinking water.

Anderson said that environmental policy is based on the old saying that the right dose can make the poison.

Anderson states that residents in rural areas who rely solely on drinking wells and not municipal water services can face expensive repairs if their wells become polluted. Advocates testified that communities who rely on their water source to farm and raise livestock would have been protected from the effects of water quality degradation.

Del. Tony Wilt, R. Rockingham, raised an a QuestionHow the water board would collect data about economic and social impacts in communities.

Mike Rolband (Director, DEQ) AnsweredThe DEQ did not have a position on the legislation, and the governor’s office was still examining the legislation. A follow-up question was sent to the office and they replied that they no longer do that because the bill has been killed.

Anderson said that arguments against the bill revolved about who would pay for the lab analysis tests to collect data regarding water quality around a particular development.

Willett also introduced HB 1228 Anderson stated that this would have made permit applicants pay more for additional tests if they were to build near water.

Jacqueline Goodrum, conservation policy associate for Wild Virginia (a non-profit organization supporting the conservation of wild lands and water), spokeThe bill has my support. Goodrum stated that communities should have the right to decide what happens to their waters. This can increase property values and attract tourists.

Goodrum stated that this does NOT create a new obligation to DEQ. This analysis must be done under both the Clean Water Act and the Anti-Degradation Policy.

Advocates requested that Virginia code include language to emphasize and emphasize the analysis in order for fair decision making and compliance to the standard when issuing permits.

According to Willett, the bill is a regulation matter and delegated in the Republican-majority House objected.

Legislators in both chambersA bill was recently passedThis would allow the DEQ to take over the authority of the air- and water citizen boards to issue permits or orders. This session’s lawmakers have made it clear that the boards will be less responsible.

Willett stated that communities that were historically poor, including rural and minority communities, would be less protected from future water pollution if this language was not included in the code.

Capital News Service is a Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture program. The program provides coverage for the state government through students.

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