A bill stipulating new reporting requirements for the discharge of deleterious substance into state waters cleared the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday morning.
HB 1205 (Tran) requires that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) shall provide to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and local newspapers, television stations, and radio stations, and shall report via official social media accounts and email notification lists, any information pertaining to the discharge of deleterious substances (chemicals, oils, sewage, etc.) into state waters, unless the DEQ determines that the discharge will have a de minimis impact. Current law only requires that the DEQ provide this information to the local newspapers.
As originally introduced, HB 1205 was troubling, as it narrowed the reporting window from 24 hours to 8 hours. Due to concerns over the feasibility of such reporting, however, this was later amended first to 12 hours and then again back to 24 hours.
As amended, HB 1205 first passed out of subcommittee, 5-3, and then passed out of the full committee by a vote of 14-8. The bill will now be heard and debated by the full House of Delegates.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.