Finishing out the second week of the 2017 Virginia General Assembly, Virginia Conservation Network has taken 39 new bill positions, totaling 59 so far.
Updates from the General Assembly
Good news: Bill to cut Virginia land conservation funding tabled in subcommittee!
Yes, you read that right—HB1470 was tabled in subcommittee! This bill that would have cut the Land Preservation Tax Credit—Virginia’s single most effective tool to protect farm and forest land, historic and scenic landscapes, and important natural communities and ecosystems.
A big thank you to the delegates who serve on Finance Subcommittee #2 for voting unanimously to table the legislation, including Delegates Cline, Orrock, Cole, Marshall, Pogge, Head, Fowler, Filler-Corn, Kory, Sullivan, and Heretick. If you have a minute, please let them know you appreciate their vote.
Vote on bill to strip citizens’ right to know about oil & gas chemicals expected next week.
Four bills have been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly that hide fracking chemicals from the public. These bills—HB1678, HB1679, SB1291, and SB1292—create a wholesale exemption from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for “trade secret” chemicals pumped into the ground by the oil and gas industry. Across the country, there have long been concerns about the chemicals injected underground in fracking operations. These four bills allow for an overly-broad definition of trade secrets—not only is the “recipe” for fracking fluids exempt from FOIA, but each and every ingredient used in the recipe would be exempt from FOIA as well.
1) Localities, those responsible for emergency preparedness, and first responders could not access the information needed to prepare an emergency response – they must wait until the emergency is happening before knowing what chemicals are in use.
2) Property owners concerned about the chemicals used in fracking operations near their drinking water wells could not access the information. Even the homeowner who owns the land in which the chemicals are being pumped would not have access to the information!
These bills will likely come up in three Committees next week. If your Delegate or Senator sits on one or more of these committees, please contact him/her today to say you oppose FOIA exemptions for fracking chemicals and want them to vote no.
Tuesday, January 24—House General Laws (ask to OPPOSE HB1678): Gilbert (Chairman), Peace (Vice Chair), Albo, Wright, Anderson, Greason, Knight, LeMunyon, Helsel, Robinson, Yost, Hodges, Bell, Richard P., Minchew, Leftwich, Ward, Bulova, Carr, Torian, McQuinn, Hester, Aird
Wednesday, January 25—House Agriculture (ask to OPPOSE HB1679): Marshall, D.W. (Chairman), Poindexter (Vice Chair), Ware, Wright, Orrock, Pogge, Knight, Edmunds, Wilt, Morefield, Webert, Ransone, Fariss, Miller, Bloxom, Plum, Bulova, James, Torian, Keam, Lopez, Sullivan
|Issue Area||Bill Number||Patron||Description||Position|
|Budget||91G||N/A||Funds to the Virginia Farmland Preservation Fund are proposed to be cut from $1,000,000 to $250,000 in the second year.||OPPOSE|
|Budget||365D.1||N/A||Funds to the Virginia Land Conservation Fund are proposed to be cut from $8,000,000 to $4,500,000 in the second year.||OPPOSE|
|Budget||367H||N/A||Funds to the Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund are proposed to be cut from $1,000,000 to $676,528 in the second year.||OPPOSE|
|Water||HB1678||Robinson||Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); trade secrets submitted to the Department of Mines.||OPPOSE|
|Water||HB1679||Robinson||Well permit applications; disclosure of trade secrets.||OPPOSE|
|Water||HB1573||Helsel||Marine Resources Commission; licenses; revocation.||OPPOSE|
|Water||HB1575||Helsel||Marine Resources Commission; oyster dredge; sanctuary area.||OPPOSE|
|Water||HB1619||Bulova||Watershed discharge permits; review of allocations.||SUPPORT|
|Land Use & Transportation||HB1635||Sullivan||Historic rehabilitation tax credit.||OPPOSE|
|Land Use & Transportation||SB1034||Howell||Historic rehabilitation tax credit.||OPPOSE|
|Energy||HB1636||Sullivan||Energy efficiency programs; total resource cost test.||SUPPORT|
|Energy||HB1703||Sullivan||Electric and natural gas utilities; energy efficiency goals.||SUPPORT|
|Land Use & Transportation||HB1766||Habeeb||Utility Facilities Act; associated facilities of an electrical transmission line.||OPPOSE|
|Land Use & Transportation||SB1110||Stanley||Utility Facilities Act; associated facilities of an electrical transmission line.||OPPOSE|
|Land Use & Transportation||SB887||Chafin||Prioritization of statewide transportation projects; exceptions.||OPPOSE|
|Water||HB2008||Hodges||Stormwater; erosion and sediment control, 10,000 square foot minimum disturbance.||OPPOSE|
|Water||HB2089||Kory||School boards, local; lead testing of potable water in schools.||SUPPORT|
|Water||SB1359||McPike||School boards, local; lead testing of potable water in schools.||SUPPORT|
|Land Use & Transportation||HB2136||LeMunyon||Washington Metrorail Safety Commission Interstate Compact.||SUPPORT|
|Land Use & Transportation||HB2136||LeMunyon||Washington Metrorail Safety Commission Interestate Compact||SUPPORT|
|Energy||HB2198||Kilgore||Coal tax; limits aggregate amount of credits that may be allocated or claimed for employment, etc||OPPOSE|
|Land Use & Transportation||HB2244||Jones||Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995; changes name of Advisory Committee.||SUPPORT|
|Land Use & Transportation||SB1322||Carrico||Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995; changes name of Advisory Committee.||SUPPORT|
|Energy||SB1471||Locke||Virginia Alternative Energy and Coastal Protection Act; established, report.||SUPPORT|
|Water||HJ572||Knight||Study; regulation of menhaden fishing; report.||SUPPORT|
|Land Use & Transportation||SB806||Stanley||Interstate 73 Corridor Development Fund and Program.||OPPOSE|
|Water||SB898||Stuart||DEQ; combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfalls; Potomac River Watershed.||SUPPORT|
|Water||SB910||Stuart||Virginia Oil and Gas Act; sampling and replacing contaminated wells.||SUPPORT|
|Water||SB911||Stuart||Orphaned Well Fund; surcharge.||SUPPORT|
|Energy||HB2112||Keam||Electric utilities; community renewable projects.||SUPPORT|
|Energy||SB1208||Wexton||Electric utilities; community renewable projects.||SUPPORT|
|Water||HB1423||Albo||Potomac River Watershed; DEQ to identify owner of any combined sewer overflow outfall, etc.||SUPPORT|
|Water||HB1454||Austin||James River; designation as component of Virginia Scenic Rivers System.||SUPPORT|
|AntiReg||HB1566||Webert||Professions and occupations; active supervision of regulatory boards.||OPPOSE|
|AntiReg||HB1654||Loupassi||Examining and approving a statement in lieu of the settlement of accounts; fee for commissioner.||OPPOSE|
|Water||HB1870||Lopez||Deleterious substances; discharge into state waters.||SUPPORT|
|Energy||HB1974||O'Quinn||Clean Power Plan; state implementation plan; General Assembly approval.||OPPOSE|
|Energy||HB2018||Villanueva||Virginia Alternative Energy and Coastal Protection Act, established, report.||SUPPORT|
|Land Use & Transportation||HB2023||Villanueva||Highway maintenance payments; bicycle lanes.||SUPPORT|
|Other||HB2182||Sickles||Voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles; opt-out voter registration.||SUPPORT|
|AntiReg||HJ545||Head||Constitutional amendment; powers of General Assembly, etc.||OPPOSE|
|Other||HJ704||Bulova||Study; Secretary of Natural Resources and Secretary of Education; environmental education; report.||SUPPORT|
|Other||HJ763||Landes||Constitutional amendment (first resolution); apportionment; political considerations prohibited.||SUPPORT|
|Other||SB1051||Ebbin||Automatic Voter Reg||SUPPORT|
|Land Use & Transportation||SB1251||Barker||Washington Metrorail Safety Commission Interstate Compact; Virginia authorized to become signatory.||SUPPORT|
|Water||SB1383||Surovell||Coal ash; treatment by utilities; recycling.||SUPPORT|
|Water||SB1398||Surovell||Coal combustion residuals unit; closure permit; assessments required.||SUPPORT|
|Water||SB1399||Surovell||Coal combustion by-product impoundments; closure requirements.||SUPPORT|
|Energy||SB1496||Lewis||Virginia Alternative Energy and Coastal Protection Act; established, report||SUPPORT|
|Other||SJ290||Howell||Constitutional amendment; criteria for electoral districts (first reference).||SUPPORT|
|AntiReg||SJ295||Vogel||Constitutional amendment (first resolution); legislative review of administrative rules.||OPPOSE|
|AntiReg||SJ311||Carrico||Constitutional amendment; legislative review of administrative rules (first reference)||OPPOSE|
|Budget||448#1h||LeMunyon||WMATA Compact Revisions Required||OPPOSE|
|Budget||4-5.03#3h||LaRock||No DRPT Funding Unless Conditions Related to WMATA Enacted||OPPOSE|
|Budget||C-48.10#1s||Hanger||Stormwater Local Assistance Fund||SUPPORT|
|Budget||370#1h||Landes||Stormwater Local Assistance Fund||SUPPORT|
|Budget||370#2h||Lingamfelter||Stormwater Local Assistance Fund||SUPPORT|
|Budget||C-48.10#6h||Yancey||Stormwater Local Assistance Fund||SUPPORT|
|Budget||364#2s||Hanger||Water Quality Improvement Fund||SUPPORT|
|Budget||364#6h||Landes||Water Quality Improvement Fund||SUPPORT|
|Budget||364#5h||O'Bannon||Water Quality Improvement Fund||SUPPORT|
|Budget||364#6s||Ruff||Dept of Conservation Recreation||SUPPORT|
|Budget||3-6.01#1s||Ruff||Recordation Tax Fee||SUPPORT|
|Budget||364#4h||Ruff||Recordation Tax Fee||SUPPORT|
|Budget||364#10h||Lingamfelter||Reflect Increased Dedication of Recordation Fee to NRCF||SUPPORT|
|Budget||3-6.01#1h||Lingamfelter||Direct Recordation Filing Fee to NRCF||SUPPORT|
|Budget||364#1s||Lewis||Water Quality Improvement Fund||SUPPORT|
|Budget||364#3h||Webert||Fully Fund Ag BMP Requirements||SUPPORT|
|Energy||HB2390||Kilgore||Renewable energy power purchase agreements; expands pilot program.||OPPOSE|
|Energy||SB1393||Wagner||Electric utilities; community solar pilot programs.||SUPPORT|
|Energy||SB918||Edwards||Renewable energy; third-party power purchase agreements.||SUPPORT|
|Land Use & Transportation||SB1423||Wagner||Electric utilities; viewshed mitigation payments.||OPPOSE|
|Land Use & Transportation||SB1282||McDougle||Wireless communications infrastructure; procedure for approved by localities.||OPPOSE|
|Land Use & Transportation||HB2196||Kilgore||Wireless communications infrastructure; procedure for approved by localities.||OPPOSE|
|Water||HB2383||Lingamfelter||Combined sewer overflow outfalls; DEQ to identify owner that discharges into Chesapeake Bay.||SUPPORT|
Mark your calendars!
Conservation Lobby Day | January 23 | Richmond, VA
We’re thrilled to say that we have completely sold out of Conservation Lobby Day! On Monday, January 23rd, activists from across the Commonwealth will join together in Richmond to urge their state legislators to support environmental policy advancements. The Honorable Lieutenant Governor Ralph S. Northam, the Honorable L. Scott Lingamfelter, and the Honorable Frank W. Wagner will be in attendance and will give their remarks promptly at 8:00 a.m.
Ditch Dirty Fuels! Rally | January 23 | Richmond, VA
Held in conjunction with Conservation Lobby Day, the Ditch Dirty Fuels! Rally will highlight public demand for clean energy and concerns about the fossil fuel industry’s attacks on the freedom of information about their operations in Virginia. The rally will highlight local voices from residents across the state on the dangers of fossil fuels and benefits of a clean energy-powered economy.
In this year’s General Assembly session, we’re expecting various pieces of legislation that will leave us exposed to the dangerous environmental and health impacts of fracking. Join a chorus of voices asking our legislators to strengthen Virginia’s standards on fracking and to transition our Commonwealth to a sustainable renewable energy-based economy.