Monday, January 29, 2018

Episode 405 (1-29-18): Voting on Water in the 2018 Virginia General Assembly

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:26).

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 1-26-18.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 29, 2018.

SOUND – ~8 sec.

That’s Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds speaking in the Virginia General Assembly on January 25, 2018, to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, on behalf of two bills related to natural gas pipelines.   In the 2018 Assembly session, Virginia’s 100 delegates and 40 senators were considering about 2900 bills and resolutions, along with the proposed biennial budget for 2018 to 2020.  About 170 of the measures concern water resources, either directly or indirectly through impacts on water from energy production, transportation, or other land uses.

This week is Virginia Water Radio’s annual episode giving YOU a chance to imagine being an Assembly member, and to consider how you’d vote on five water-related bills.  I’ll give you brief descriptions of the bills, followed by a few seconds during which you can decide if you would vote for or against the idea.  Then I’ll let you know the bills’ status as of January 26. Ready?

House Bill 182 would require by July 2020 the closure of any surface impoundments, or lagoons, in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that store coal combustion residuals, also referred to as coal ash.
SILENCE - ~2sec
The bill was in the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

House Bill 346 would prohibit personal watercraft on lakes smaller than than 50 acres.
SILENCE - ~2sec
The bill had passed a committee and moved to the House floor.

House Bill 1082 would prohibit Virginia’s environmental regulatory agencies from adopting any regulation or standard that is stricter than any relevant federal law, regulation, or guidance document.
SILENCE - ~2sec
The bill was in a the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources.

House Bill 1270 would prohibit the governor or any state agency from any establishing or participating in a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program, unless the General Assembly approves the program.
SILENCE - ~2sec
The bill was in the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

Senate Bill 552 would require any crab pots used or sold in Virginia to have two marine-biodegradable escape panels, which allow animals to escape from pots no longer being actively attended.
SILENCE - ~2sec
The bill passed a committee but failed on the Senate floor.

This short game obviously can’t capture the scope of the General Assembly’s potential impact on a subject as complicated and important as water.  Any bill involves more information and details than you heard here.  The General Assembly’s Web site,, has tools to help you get the details and to express opinions to Assembly members.

But don’t wait too long: The 2018 Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on March 10.  Much of the last couple of weeks will be taken up with the proposed budget.  Before then, committee dockets and floor sessions will be full of all the other matters, including water-related ones.  If you’ve got an opinion, be sure to voice it before you hear this…“I’ve been informed that clears the docket.  With no further business, the committee will rise.” [Spoken by chair at the end of the January 18, 2018 meeting of the Virginia Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources committee.]


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


The excerpts from Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources (ACNR) committee were taken from the archives files of live stream video of Virginia Senate committee meetings, online at  The January 25, 2018, meeting file is online at; the January 18, 2018, meeting file is online at

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at

Screen shot of the Virginia Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural resources Committee on January 25, 2108. Shot taken from Virginia Senate committee livestream video archive, online at

Screen shot of an amendment to House Bill 346 as of January 17, 2018, taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System, online at

Following are Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS) summaries of the bills mentioned in this episode, as of 1/29/18, accessed at (edited in some cases for space or clarity).  The bill numbers are hyperlinked to the respective LIS page.

House Bill 182, Coal combustion residuals unit; closure by 2022: Would direct the Department of Environmental Quality to require the closure by July 1, 2022, of any coal combustion residuals (CCR) surface impoundment located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed; require that such closure include the removal of all coal combustion residuals for disposal in a permitted landfill that meets federal criteria and that the impoundment site be reclaimed in a manner consistent with federal mine reclamation standardvs; allow public electric utilitird to recover the costs of closure from customers; and suspend the issuance of any permit to close a CCR surface impoundment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed between May 1, 2018, and July 1, 2018.

HB 346, Personal watercraft; operation on lake smaller than 50 acres: Would prohibit the operation of a personal watercraft on a lake measuring less than 50 acres in extent.

HB 1082, Environmental regulations; no stricter than federal law: Would prohibit the Department of Environmental Quality, the State Air Pollution Control Board, the State Water Control Board, and the Virginia Waste Management Board from adopting any environmental rule, regulation, or standard that is inconsistent with or exceeds the requirements of any relevant and duly adopted federal environmental statute, regulation, standard, criterion, or guidance document.

HB 1270, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; prohibition on participation by Commonwealth: Would prohibit the g overnor or any state agency from adopting any regulation establishing a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program or bringing about the participation by the Commonwealth in a regional market for the trading of carbon dioxide allowances.  The bill provides that the Commonwealth shall be allowed to participate in such a cap-and-trade program if the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia each adopt a resolution that specifically references and approves the regulatory text proposed for adoption by a state agency.

SB 552, Crab pots and peeler pots; marine-biodegradable escape panels: Would require any crab pot sold in the Commonwealth and any peeler pot regulated by the Marine Resources Commission (the Commission), or used or sold in the Commonwealth, beginning January 1, 2019, to have two marine-biodegradable escape panels, defined in the bill, on different sidewalls of the upper chamber of the crab pot or peeler pot, as applicable.


Used for Audio

The Virginia General Assembly Web site,, offers several useful features, including member lists, session calendars, links to the video of floor sessions, and information on legislative processes).  To learn about Virginia’s legislative process: see the “Capitol Classroom” link at To express an opinion on legislation: citizens can find their representatives and their contact information by using the online “Who’s My Legislator” service, available at; or find members’ contact information at!hb=1&mainContentTabs=0.

Virginia Legislative Information System, online  This is the online location for following the legislation of General Assembly sessions.

For More Information about the Virginia General Assembly

Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts on the Virginia General Assembly are available online at

The Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at, has inventories of water-related bills in the current and previous sessions of the General Assembly.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (

Previous episodes on the Virginia General Assembly are the following.
Episode143, 1/7/13
– Music for the Past and Present of the Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 147, 2/4/13
– Committees Guide the Flow of Bills in the Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 196, 1/13/14
– The Virginia Legislature on its 396th Opening Day, January 8, 2014.
Episode 247, 1/5/15
– January Means State Budget Time in the Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 252, 2/9/15
– Voting on Water in the 2015 Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 297, 1/4/16 – Water’s on the Agenda—along with a Whole Lot Else—When the Virginia General Assembly Convenes.
Episode 302, 2/8/16 – Voting on Water in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 350, 1/9/17 – Old English Music Helps Preview the Old Dominion’s 2017 General Assembly.
Episode 353, 1/30/17 – Voting on Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 359, 3/13/17 – Subcommittees are Where Many Proposed Virginia Laws Start to Float or Sink.
Episode 402, 1/8/18 – The Virginia Legislature Begins Its 400th Year in 2018.


This episode may help with the following 2010 Science SOLs.

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
6.9 – public policy decisions regarding the environment.

Life Science Course
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.6 – renewable vs. non-renewable resources (including energy resources).
ES.10 – oceans, including economic and policy decisions affecting oceans, the coastal zone, and the Chesapeake Bay.

The episode may also help with the following 2015 Social Studies SOLs.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.3 – first permanent English settlement in America.
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.1 – social studies skills that responsible citizenship requires.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.18 - cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.4 – Major pre-Revolution events.

Government Course
GOVT.1 – social studies skills that responsible citizenship requires.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to previous Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
Episode 250 (1-26-15) – on water's boiling point, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 255 (3-2-15) – on density, for 5th and 6th grade;
Episode 282 (9-21-15) – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten;
Episode 309 (3-28-16) – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade;
Episode 332 (9-12-16) – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade;
Episode 403 (1-15-18) – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 404 (1-22-18) – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.