SJR 91: Joint Subcommittee Studying Economic Incentives to Promote the Growth and Competitiveness of Virginia's Shipbuilding Industry

July 18, 2002
Newport News

The joint subcommittee met for the first time in 2002 on July 18 and heard testimony on (i) modifications to Virginia Pollution Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permits in regard to tributyltin (TBT) effluent limitations and (ii) operations of the Herbert H. Bateman Virginia Advanced Shipbuilding and Carrier Integration Center (VASCIC).

Modifications to VPDES Permits

The director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) testified on modifications in TBT compliance to be incorporated into VPDES permits issued to Virginia's shipyards.

Virginia's Water Quality Standard for TBT is 1 part per trillion (1 ppt). To meet this standard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required Virginia, beginning in 1994, to include in the permits issued to shipyards a numerical effluent limitation of 50 ppt for TBT. The permits issued to Virginia's shipyards required them to comply with this effluent limitation by December 2002.

The DEQ director testified that current TBT treatment technology is incapable of consistently meeting this effluent limitation. As a result, the 50 ppt effluent limitation will be restated in VPDES permits and implemented on an equivalent mass basis as five grams/year. Virginia's shipyards have agreed to this restatement. In addition, the EPA has given its verbal approval for the restatement of the 50 ppt effluent limitation for TBT.


In 1998 the General Assembly passed legislation providing grants of $58 million to build VASCIC. The legislation also provided an additional $40 million in grants for operations costs incurred at VASCIC. The operations grants are to be awarded prior to July 1, 2006. The 2002 Appropriation Act provides $5 million in operations grants in fiscal year 2004.

Representatives of Northrop Grumman Newport News testified on the operations of VASCIC, which is owned by the Industrial Development Authority of Newport News and is managed by Northrop Grumman Newport News. VASCIC has a 123,000 square foot research laboratory. A portion of operations grants from the Commonwealth will be used for research and development.

Since January 1, 2002, 8,600 students have attended training at VASCIC, many of whom were Navy personnel. VASCIC is already playing a major role in naval warfare. In addition to Navy personnel, the 1998 legislation requires that other shipbuilders and the faculty and staff of certain institutions of public education in Virginia be allowed to participate in the activities of VASCIC.


The Hon. Thomas K. Norment, Jr.

For information, contact:

Mark Vucci
Division of Legislative Services


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