Friday 23 February 2018

The board voted to write a resolution against the commonwealth’s inclusion in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s 2017-2022 leasing program. The bureau is the division of theU.S. Department of the Interior that oversees the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Chairman Spencer Murray and Supervisors Granville Hogg, Robert Duer and Larry LeMond voted yes to the resolution, while Supervisor Oliver Bennett abstained.

The vote came after a presentation by Jay Ford, Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper Executive Director, who spoke on the detrimental effects offshore drilling would have on the Shore’s economy.

“It’s a very important point that if we get included in this lease right now, the state, localities—you have given up any say that you will have in the future decision-making process,” said Ford. “At that point it is 100 percent in federal hands.”

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(Published in Delmarva Now, March 10, 2016)

Two groups that had challenged Dominion Virginia Power’s plans to drain coal ash lagoons into Chesapeake Bay tributaries announced Wednesday that they have withdrawn their legal appeals after the utility pledged to upgrade its treatment of the wastewater at two of its plants. But the state of Maryland and one environmental group that also had sued vowed to press their objections in court – at least for now.

Though not considered a hazardous waste, coal ash can contain toxic chemicals and metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury, which pose health risks for people, as well as fish and wildlife.

The James River Association, meanwhile, also announced that it would drop its appeal of a similar permit allowing Dominion to drain impoundments at its Bremo power plant into the James River.

But the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents the James River group, said Wednesday that it will continue to appeal Dominion’s discharge permit for Possum Point on behalf of another client, the Potomac Riverkeeper Network

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(Published in Bay Journal, March 9, 2016)

Maryland will keep fighting Dominion Virginia Power’s plan to release coal-ash water into a Potomac River tributary, despite modifications that resulted in Prince William County dropping its objections.

“At this point, we are continuing our review of the contested permit,” Ben Grumbles, Maryland’s secretary of the environment, said in a statement Wednesday. He said the state was also looking “for opportunities with Virginia to ensure wastewater and waste pits at Possum Point are managed for effective, long-term protection of the Potomac.”

In an agreement that was announced Tuesday evening, Dominion promised to test the coal-ash water it treats at its Possum Point plant in Prince William on an hourly basis — instead of the three times a week currently required by its permit — before it releases the water into the creek.

Dean Naujoks, an environmentalist with the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, said his group also intends to keep fighting the Possum Point plan.

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(Published in The Washington Post, March 9, 2016)