Legislation that requires new, and robust, 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 February 4, while a companion measure has made it to the House floor. 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 have been raised by opponents to the measure.
SB 1373 (McClellan) and HB 2221 (Hayes) include 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 permit applications, including for new municipal landfills, the applicant is also required to send notification to 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.