Pipeline Water Regulation Bill Advances in Virginia Senate

Photo by Dima Holmes

A bill that would tighten water quality reviews for natural gas pipelines was unanimously approved on January 24, 2018, by the Virginia Senate committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. SB 950 (Sen. Emmett Hanger, Augusta County, is lead sponsor) requires the Department of Environmental Quality to determine whether any activity associated with a federally regulated natural gas pipeline project will occur in an upland area or other sensitive area, will be likely to result in a discharge to state waters and will not be covered by a federal Clean Water Act certification.

Among the measure’s provisions is a requirement that the State Water Control Board “conduct a review that includes, at a minimum, (i) an individual review of each proposed water body crossing consistent with the requirements of a Virginia Water Protection Permit, (ii) a review of any construction through karst terrain, and (iii) a review and approval of erosion and sediment control plans and stormwater management plans.” S.B. 950 goes next to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration.