Legislation that proposed robust new community and environmental justice outreach for certain applications for permits from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) failed to report out of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, February 18. The result was not unexpected as a similar measure, SB 1373 (McClellan), failed to report from the same committee earlier in the regular session.
HB 2221 (Hayes) included requirements for applicants seeking permits for air, water, waste and groundwater to hold a public hearing to present information to attendees, collect comments, and then submit all oral and written comments to DEQ. For certain permits applications, including for new municipal landfills, the applicant is also required to send notification the “. . . mailing address for any parcel of real property that is depicted within a three-mile radius . . .” of the proposed site of the new facility.
The debate and controversy regarding the proposal revolves around how much notice to, and input from, historically disadvantaged communities is necessary before DEQ issues a permit. Concerns about how these additional requirements could potentially slow down and hamper economic development and job creation were raised by opponents to the measure.