Several dredging bills introduced by Delegate Keith Hodges have begun gaining momentum as they move through the General Assembly.
HB 1095 (Hodges) authorizes the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority and Northern Neck Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority to undertake dredging projects and authorizes those authorities, as well as the Eastern Shore Water Access Authority, to work together and cooperatively undertake dredging projects in any of their jurisdictions. The bill unanimously reported out of the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee (21-0) and ultimately passed the House by a 97-0-1 margin. HB 1095 will now head to the Senate.
HB 1092 (Hodges) adds dredging projects to the definition of “development project area” for the purposes of tax increment financing. Tax increment financing is a program whereby a local government works with a developer to provide financing through local bonds for projects designed to revitalize or redevelop designated areas. House Finance Subcommittee #1 unanimously (10-0) recommended reporting the bill with an amendment specifying that for the purposes of this bill, dredging projects shall not include those undertaken by the Virginia Port Authority. HB 1092 unanimously (22-0) reported out of the House Finance Committee and will be heard on the House floor later this week.
HB 1096 (Hodges) directs the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), with assistance from the Marine Resources Commission (MRC) and Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), to develop a fast-track regulatory permitting program for the selection and use of appropriate sites for the disposal of dredged material. This bill has been referred to the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee #3 and placed on the January 30 docket.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.