RICHMOND – During yesterday’s reconvened session, the General Assembly voted to approve Governor McAuliffe’s amendments to Senate Bill 1398, which addressed shortcomings in the legislation that would have allowed Dominion Power to obtain permits to close coal ash storage facilities prior to disclosing pertinent information to state agencies regarding ongoing pollution issues, suitability for long-term storage and options for closure.
Under the amended bill, Dominion will have to complete site assessments by December and the earliest the utility could obtain a permit is May 2018, which provides enough time to choose the best path forward for closing these facilities and protecting water quality from toxic heavy metals in the process.
In response to yesterday’s action, Michael Town, Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, issued the following statement:
“Yesterday, our legislature followed Governor McAuliffe’s lead by standing up in a big way to protect Virginians’ access to clean water and to safeguard communities against the harmful impacts of toxic coal ash currently stockpiled on the banks of major rivers and tributaries in the Bay watershed. But to be clear, this is simply the first step in effectively addressing this threat to the environment and public health. Dominion Power would be wise to continue to not stand in the way of ensuring the best possible results from this process. The ball is now in their court and we will be watching the assessment process closely.”