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Waters of the State, Ports and Harbors
Oil discharge plans. Provides operators of tank vessels with options regarding the types of oil discharge contingency plans and financial responsibility mechanisms that have to be submitted to operate in Virginia waters. Under current law, an oil discharge contingency plan has to be filed and approved by the State Water Control Board and the operator of the tank vessel has to also deposit, with the Board, cash or its equivalent in the amount of $500 per gross ton of such vessel to assure against any environmental damage. This bill would allow the operator the option of submitting a U.S Coast Guard-approved vessel response pplan in place of the state-required contingency plan, and meet the financial assurance requirement by having a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Certificate of Financial Responsibility.
Patron - Suit
Big Sandy River watershed. Allows localities within the Big Sandy River watershed to bring enforcement actions against any person obstructing or dumping refuse in any tributary of the Big Sandy River; allows localities to remove obstructions that might endanger the public health or safety and to recover such costs; and provides for recovery of court costs and attorneys' fees to the prevailing party authorized to bring an action. This bill allows localities within the Big Sandy River watershed to adopt an ordinance to require any person to notify the locality before constructing, placing, or putting a bridge, culvert, or drainpipe across the Big Sandy River or its tributaries. This bill exempts activities conducted pursuant to a permit issued by a state agency and authorized silvicultural activities from its provisions.
Patron - Stump
No discharge zones. Directs the State Water Control Board to adopt certain regulations for no discharge zones to control the discharge of sewage from boats and vessels and to require marinas to notify boat patrons of the no discharge restrictions.
Patron - Dudley
Siting of landfills. Authorizes Appomattox County to construct a landfill closer to an existing public water supply intake or reservoir than is allowed by law, if the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality finds that the distance would not be detrimental to human health and the environment. The bill provides that a new landfill in Appomattox can be sited in a wetland. Under current law, a landfill cannot be within five miles upgradient of any water supply intake or reservoir and cannot impact 1.25 acres or more of wetlands. The bill also prohibits any further exemptions from the landfill siting requirements unless an environmental impact statement has been submitted to the Virginia Waste Management Board. The report is required, as a minimum, to address the environmental impacts related to the exemption that is being requested. The Board is also required to hold a public hearing on the environmental impact report before it makes any recommendations to the General Assembly regarding specific exemptions.
Patron - Abbitt
Virginia Water Protection Permit. Requires the State Water Control Board to review the application for a Virginia Water Protection general permit for completeness within 15 days of receiving the application. It is stipulated in the bill that certifying the completeness of the application does not mean the Board will issue the permit, only that it contain sufficient information to process the application.
Patron - Rapp
Confined animal feeding operations. Clarifies that any civil penalty imposed for violating a confined animal feeding operation permit shall not exceed $2,500 for any confined animal feeding operation that is covered by a Virginia Pollution Abatement permit.
Patron - Barlow
Rappahannock River Basin Commission. Provides that the Rappahannock River Basin Commission is created as an independent local entity without political subdivision status. This bill provides further that the membership of the Commission shall be based on House and Senatorial Districts with representation from certain local governing bodies. To facilitate the conduct of business, 12 or one-third of the members of the Commission constitutes a quorum. Reducing the number of members required for a quorum addresses the problem of obtaining a sufficient number of members at meetings due to the vast size of the Commission. Members of the Commission are not eligible to receive compensation or reimbursement for their expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. The bill also contains several technical amendments to streamline and conform the relevant sections pertaining to the Commission to the Joint Rules Committee's legislative guidelines for collegial bodies. This bill is a recommendation of the Joint Rules Committee.
Patron - Wardrup
Petroleum Storage Tank Fund. Limits the exposure of the Virginia Petroleum Storage Tank Fund to third-party claims against the Fund. The Fund is used to reimburse owners of petroleum storage tanks for the costs of cleaning up oil releases from the tanks. It is also used to meet federal requirements that owners of underground storage tanks have insurance or the financial capacity to clean up any release. This bill would clarify that the Fund can be used to reimburse tank owners for costs they incur relating to third party damages only in the amount that is reasonable and necessary based upon the actual damage caused by the release.
Patron - Oder
Water supply plan regulations. Delays the effective date of water supply plan regulations one year. Under the bill passed in 2003, the State Water Control Board was prohibited from finalizing the water supply plan regulations prior to July 1, 2004. Because the Technical Advisory Committee has not completed its drafting of these regulations, the date on which the regulations can become effective has been delayed until after July 1, 2005.
Patron - Williams
The Rivanna River Basin Commission. Establishes the Rivanna River Basin Commission to provide guidance for the stewardship and enhancement of the water and natural resources of the Rivanna River Basin. The Commission is to provide a forum in which local governments and citizens can discuss issues affecting the Basin's water quality and quantity and other natural resources. The Commission shall consist of 14 members, including eight officials from local governing bodies, two members from soil and water conservation districts, and four citizens at large.
Patron - Deeds
Roanoke River Basin Advisory Commission membership. Changes the method for appointing nonlegislative citizen members and adds two nonlegislative citizens at large, one appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and one appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates. As originally introduced, the legislation establishing the Commission empowered the six legislative members to appoint the citizen members from nominations submitted by the planning district commissions (PDCs) within the basin. During the 2003 session, the power to appoint the citizen members nominated by PDCs was given to the Speaker of the House of Delegates and the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections. This bill returns appointive power to the legislative members of the Commission.
Patron - Ruff
Wetlands mitigation. Allows an island in the Potomac adjacent to Virginia to be used as a mitigation bank. The bill also authorizes the State Water Control Board to inspect the property that is to be used as part of a mitigation bank.
Patron - Mims
Obstructing or contaminating state waters. Includes floodways and 100-year floodplains in the prohibition of obstructing or contaminating state waters. This bill also expands venue to include similar courts in contiguous localities and allows the court to award costs, including the costs of expert testimony, and reasonable attorney's fees up to $25,000, to the prevailing party authorized to bring the action.
Patron - Kilgore
Big Sandy River. Allows any locality located within the Big Sandy River watershed to remove any obstructions dumped, placed, or put in tributaries of the Big Sandy River that might endanger public health or safety, provided that the owner of the property is given reasonable notice and a reasonable time to remove the obstruction. The locality may recover the costs for the removal of the obstruction from the owner of the property. This bill allows localities located within the Big Sandy River watershed to enforce the provisions of the bill and allows courts to award costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys' fees, to the prevailing party. The bill contains an exemption for those activities that are conducted pursuant to a permit issued by a state agency.
Patron - Puckett
Duration of discharge permits. Requires that the duration of a Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit be no less than five years. Currently, such permits are for terms not to exceed five years.
Patron - Bolling
Nitrogen and phosphorous loadings. Requires the State Water Control Board to adopt numeric pollutant loading allocations for nitrogen and phosphorous for each of the major Chesapeake Bay tributaries. The legislation establishes initial loading allocations, which will remain in place until the Board adopts its loading requirements. The Board is also authorized to establish, by guidance or policy, a point source pollutant trading program for nitrogen and phosphorous. The bill provides the specific elements the program must contain as a minimum.
Patron - Whipple
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