For help with making comments to rules and regulations, read “A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Deregulatory Agenda

The website 5calls.org at https://5calls.org/ provides more information on the advisability and process of calling your representatives. Please check it out!

NOW!!! 

CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW TO OPPOSE THE VOTE IN FAVOR OF ANDREW WHEELER TO BE THE NEXT DEPUTY HEAD OF EPA!!!

Wheeler is a coal-industry lobbyist and climate-change denier and would be next in line to had the EPA, should Pruitt move on to other things. The contact information for Virginia senators is available at the upper right of the page.

NOW!!! 

Actions to Take to Resist Offshore Drilling in Virginia Coastal Waters

The Trump administration has proposed opening most of the waters of the U.S. continental shelf to offshore drilling, reversing another environmental protection provided by the Obama administration. This includes the waters off the Virginia coast. Even former Governor Jeb Bush at one time opposed drilling in the waters off Florida, and several states – including California and Florida – continue to ban offshore drilling. Claims that offshore drilling is “safe and environmentally sound” (Washington Post, January 5, 2018) should be considered in light of the proposal last month to suspend studying the safety of offshore oil and gas drilling in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Here are two actions you can take now and in the near future:

1) Public meetings will take place across the country using an open-house format, so participants can arrive any time during the scheduled meeting time. At the meetings, participants can ask questions, share information, talk with our team members one-on-one, and learn more about the National Outer Continental Oil and Gas Leasing Program. We also encourage participants to submit written comments to inform the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) of specific issues, impacting factors, environmental resources, alternatives to the proposed action, and mitigation measures to consider in its analyses.

In the DC area the venue location is:
Hilton Garden Inn
1225 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
(202) 408-4870

Meeting Date and Time:
Thursday, February 22, 2018, 3 – 7 p.m. EST

For those unable to attend one of the scheduled meetings, BOEM is offering a Virtual Meeting Room where participants can visit the same stations available at the open house meetings. There they are able to review and download the same handouts and posters offered at the meetings and provide comments.

More information from BOEM can be found here: Public meeting on the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

2) Please send comments to the Department of the Interior concerning their proposed plans to mass drill along the American Coast and off-shore areas. The first of three proposals for the period 2019–2024, the Draft Proposed Program 2019–2024, was released on January 4, 2018. Comments on the DPP should be submitted by March 9 either Online (Preferred Method) or Mail/Hand delivered.

In response to an informal question at an inauguration event in Sterling, VA on January 5 about whether or not Virginia could maintain the drilling ban on its own, Attorney General Mark Herring said he was not sure how Virginia could proceed but that he would check into it. Former-Governor McAuliffe in August 2017 officially declared his opposition to offshore drilling. Please contact the Governor’s chief of staff Clark Mercer today by calling (804) 786-2211.

NOW!!! 

Encourage Support for Virginia House Bill HB182 on the Closure of Coal Combustion Residuals Impoundments

HB182, currently awaiting a vote in the House Commerce and Labor Sub-Committee, is related to CCR impoundments and their closure requirements. In essence, HB182 proposes that all CCR surface impoundments in the Chesapeake Bay watershed be closed by July 1, 2022; that such closures require the removal of all CCR and disposal of those materials in permitted landfills; and proper reclamation of the emptied impoundment. Our immediate concern is the proposed closure of CCR surface impoundments at the Virginia Electric and Power Company’s Possum Point Generating Station, located near the Potomac River in Fairfax County. The plan proposes to close several small impoundments and then consolidate the removed CCR in a larger impoundment on the site and closure using capping in place.

Concern stems from the past history in the US of erosion and breaching of impoundments and contamination of surface-water resources, and storage of CCR at a site like Possum Point, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, is just asking for serious trouble in the future as sea and groundwater levels rise and the potential for erosion and breaching exists. In addition, such impoundments, closed or not, represent past, current, and future potential sources of contamination of underlying groundwater and migration of the contamination in groundwater to nearby surface-water bodies. Finally, there is a demand for recycled coal ash in the concrete industry that does not seem to be adequately considered by the closure plan; recycling would remove the ash from the site permanently and produce a financial benefit at the same time.

Please contact your Delegate as soon as possible about this issue. Get the text of the bill here: HB182 on coal combustion residuals in surface impoundments. Additional bills about coal ash in the Virginia legislature can be found using the search box at Richmond Sunlight at: Bills related to coal ash management.  Find your Delegate in the Virginia legislature at: Find your Virginia Delegate here.

NOW!!! 

Comment on Virginia SB950, Designed to Protect Virginia Waters from Pipeline Operations 

Requires the Department of Environmental Quality (the Department) to determine whether any activity associated with a federally regulated natural gas pipeline project will occur in an upland area or other sensitive area, will be likely to result in a discharge to state waters and will not be covered by a federal Clean Water Act certification. The bill requires the Department, for each identified activity, to conduct a separate supplemental review of the project. In certain cases, the bill requires the Department to recommend that the State Water Control Board (the Board) impose additional conditions on the project. The bill also directs the Board to require both a Virginia Water Protection Permit and an Individual Water Quality Certification under the federal Clean Water Act for any interstate natural gas pipeline and, for such pipelines, to review water body crossings as well as plans for erosion and sediment control and stormwater management. Finally, the bill directs the Board to adopt emergency regulations to implement the provisions of the act.

Get further information and a link to the bill itself from Richmond Sunlight here: Comment on Virginia SB950

NOW!!! 

Join with Wild Virginia and Urge Governor Northam to Protect Virginia’s Waters

Contact the Governor today and urge him to:

See that his administration prohibits any construction, including clearing of trees, for either pipeline unless and until all conditions of water quality certifications are met,

Order the DEQ to conduct individual Clean Water Act section 401 reviews for stream and wetland crossings covered by the Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide 12 Permit,

Ensure that DEQ provides for public notice and comment on additional plans ACP is required to submit and that there is a clear procedure for the State Water Control Board to review and decide whether the certification will become effective.

Get further information from Wild Virginia here: Urge Governor Northam to Follow His Values and Defend Virginia’s Waters

Contact the Governor’s office today by calling (804) 786-2211, or email the Governor’s chief of staff Clark Mercer at clark.reagan@governor.virginia.gov.

The comment period has ended – we’ll see what happens

Comment on Federal Register – Stop EPA from Withdrawing the Clean Power Plan

Repeal of the Clean Power Plan is addressed in Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355. You can find the text of the document and a comment area at:

Submit Comments to the Federal Registry Docket in Opposition to Pruitt’s Plans 

Note: The text of the document says that comments must be received by December 15, 2017. This was extended later to January 16, 2018.

It’s also important to call and speak to your members of Congress on this issue.

NOW!!!

Require Virginia’s DEQ to include biomass power plants in the Virginia Climate Plan

On Monday – January 8th, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will begin accepting public comment on a draft carbon cap-and-trade plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the commonwealth’s power plants.

However, a gap in the proposal limits its effectiveness: The program won’t cover carbon emissions from wood-burning — “biomass” — power plants, allowing Virginia’s several wood-burners to continue polluting without mitigation and rewarding coal-fired power plants that switch to burning wood from forests.

Please send comments to DEQ requesting inclusion of BIOMASS power Plants in the plan

Information on the Plan:  http://www.townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewStage.cfm?stageid=8130

Contact/Comments:

Name:                    Karen G. Sabasteanski

Address:                1111 East Main Street, Suite 1400, P.O. Box 1105

Email Address:     karen.sabasteanski@deq.virginia.gov

Telephone:           (804)698-4426    FAX: (804)698-4510

Washington Post Story:   DEQ CLIMATE PLAN

NOW!!!

Protect Our Public Lands Against Attacks on the Antiquities Act

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3990

Congressman Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has introduced the cynically entitled  “National Monument Creation and Protection Act.” The legislation is an attack on the Antiquities Act by undermining the protection and enjoyment of our nation’s public lands and waters. Note that Bishop is the same character who dismantled Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

The bill prescribes limits on land that may be declared to be a national monument based on acreage, proximity to other national monuments, whether it has been reviewed by the Department of the Interior or Agriculture under the National Environmental Policy Act, and whether it has been approved by each county and state within whose boundaries it will be located.

Please call your member of the House of Representatives and ask them to oppose H.R. 3990, the “National Monument Creation and Protection Act.”

NOW!!!

Protect Our Wilderness Trails – Ask Your Representative to Reject “Wheels in Wilderness” Legislation

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1349

H.R. 1349 would open designated Wilderness Areas to different forms of mechanical transport, including mountain bikes. Can you imagine being run down by a mountain bike while you’re enjoying wilderness stretches of the AT? And think of the negative impact on the treadway. Even the International Mountain Bike Association objects to this bill. The time to act is right now, before this bill gains traction!

NOW!!!

Protect the Science Boards – Ask Our Senators to Sign the Letter

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/09112017/scott-pruitt-epa-investigation-scientists-advisory-board-gao-congress

Ten Senators signed letter requesting investigation of the loss of real scientists on the EPA Science Advisory Boards.  Ask Senators Kaine and Warner to sign on to the letter.

NOW!!!

Tell the Governor to Direct the Department of Environmental Quality to Do Its Job to Protect our Water from Pipelines

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) broke its promise to properly review the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines.  The DEQ is attempting to evade its responsibility to protect our drinking water. They must review all individual threats to water quality posed by these pipeline proposals. The DEQ must exercise its full authority to protect our waters! Instead they want to turn over authority to the Army Corps of Engineers to do a “blanket review” that will in no way adequately protect our forests and water. The Governor can direct the DEQ to do its job and we need your voice to help make that happen. Contact the Governor’s office today by calling (804) 786-2211, or email the Governor’s chief of staff Clark Mercer at clark.reagan@governor.virginia.gov.

The comment period has ended – we’ll see what happens

Comment on Federal Register – Stop EPA from Repealing Emission Standards

On November 9, 2017, EPA Administrator Pruitt signed a proposal to repeal the emission standards and other requirements for heavy-duty glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits. The public comment period for the proposal will be open through January 5, 2018. From EPA’s website (Their Spin).

Make your comments here: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-2368