[Audio archived 12/20-11. Please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to archived file.]
For this week’s news, we look at some water-related legislation in the 2010 Virginia General Assembly. The General Assembly convened January 13 and is scheduled to adjourn March 13. During the session, over 200 water-related bills are under consideration. Here’s an overview of several significant ones.
- Two unsuccessful bills, HB 294 and SB 185, would have transferred regulatory authority over Virginia’s Menhaden fishery from the Virginia General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission; both bills failed in committee. Another pair of Menhaden bills, HB 142 and SB47, would extend to 2014 the current Menhaden harvest quota; both have been passed in committee.
- Two bills related to land-application of biosolids, or treated sewage sludge, were carried over to next year. HB 508 would require the State Water Control to set regulations for notifying people with certain health conditions when biosolids are to be land-applied in their area. And HB 1340 would authorize localities in karst regions (areas with caves, sinkholes, and other limestone features) to prohibit land application of biosolids within their boundaries.
- House Bill 787 would make it the state’s official policy to support exploration and development of natural gas AND oil 50 miles or more off Virginia’s shore. The state’s current policy refers only to natural gas. The House of Delegates passed this bill on February 3.
- Offshore wind energy is also under consideration. HB 389 and SB 577 would create the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority to facilitate wind energy three miles or more off Virginia’s coast. SB 393 would create a similar body, the Offshore Wind Development Project Commission. All three bills were in committee as of early February.
- A Senate bill would prohibit issuance of a surface coal-mining permit if the mining operation would result in waste materials being disposed of in any stream. SB 564 was in committee as of early February.
- SB 569, passed by the Senate on January 28, would establish a State Water Supply Plan Advisory Committee to assist the Department of Environmental Quality in developing and implementing a state water resources plan.
- And one other Senate bill, SB 71, would require electric utilities to implement energy-efficiency programs to reduce retail electricity consumption by 0.3 percent in 2011, increasing to a 12.2-percent reduction in 2022. Utilities would be allowed to adjust rates to recover the costs of energy-efficiency programs. This bill was in committee as of early February.
To learn more about these bills or any General Assembly legislation, contact your local Delegate or Senator. Or phone Virginia Water Radio at (540) 231-5463, to find out about other ways to follow legislation or to express your opinion.
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC
This week, we feature a well-known Virginia musical family performing a song about a weather tragedy: the Carter Family, performing “Cyclone of Rye County.” The Rye Cove Cyclone became Virginia’s deadliest tornado (at the time) when it hit the Rye Cove School in Scott County on May 2, 1929, killing 12 students and one teacher. A.P. Carter wrote this song later that year as a remembrance to the tragedy.
According to the National Weather Service, Virginia experiences about 15 to 20 tornadoes a year, mostly in July. To learn about tornado safety, or to register for the March 16th Statewide Tornado drill, contact the Virginia Department of Emergency Services, at (804) 897-6500 or online at www.VaEmergency.com.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS
First in government policy and regulatory meetings:
- The Game and Inland Fisheries Board’s Wildlife and Boat Committee will meet on February 16 in Richmond. For more information, phone Beth Drewery at (804)367-9149.
- The Department of Environmental Quality’s Advisory Committee on a General Permit for Wastewater Discharges under 1,000 Gallons per Day will meet on February 16 in Richmond. For more information, phone George Cosby at (804) 698-4067.
- The Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board’s Policy Committee will meet on February 16 in Richmond. For more information, phone (800) 243-7229.
- February 12, in Alexandria, on the TMDL for Cameron Run, Holmes Run, and Hunting Creek in several localities. For more information, phone Katie Conaway at (703) 583-3804.
- February 17, in Smithfield, on the TMDL for Lawnes Creek in Isle of Wight and Surry counties. For more information, phone Jennifer Howell at (757) 518-2111.
- On February 13th and 14th, “Majestic Eagles” will be held at Mason Neck State Park in Fairfax County. Visitors can see Bald Eagles as they fly over the park and Belmont Bay. On the same days, the park also holds “Wild for Winter Waterfowl,” guiding visitors to see ducks, swans, and other migrating waterfowl. For more information on either event, call (703) 339-2385.
- On February 18 at Virginia Tech, the U.S. EPA’s Richard Batiuk (Ba-TUK) will present Chesapeake Bay Restoration: Why is it Going to Work This Time? For more information, phone Patrick Fay at (540) 231-5624.
- On Feb. 17-19, in Richmond, the Virginia Water Well Association holds its Winter Conference and Trade Show. For more information, phone (540) 740-3329.
Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.
Show notes and production assistance has been provided by Patrick Fay. Technical assistance provided by Innovation Space. Editorial assistance provided by Danielle Guerin.
Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Water Center, Virginia Tech, or this station.
If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463.