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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Air Pollution Control Board
Public Participation Guidelines [9 VAC 5 ‑ 5]
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8/19/21  11:50 pm
Commenter: Rebecca Talbot, Mother's Out Front, Roanoke Team

Public Participation, All DEQ Citizen Boards

To the members of DEQ's Citizen Boards:

Our Mother's Out Front Members have traveled to Richmond and other locations to update the State Water Control Board about the execution of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.  After driving more than four hours, they had to sit through an entire board meeting until the public forum, during which time they were allowed only three minutes to comment  They were not allowed to pool their minutes to allow for a more comprehensive presentation.  Often board meetings last over 6 hours.  Citizens then have another four plus hour drive to return home.

At the request of the DEQ staff, the March 2019 State Water Control Board meeting had a very strong police presence.  At the end of the meeting, the police literally swept a State Water Control Board member and a House Delegate along with the other citizens out of the room in an aggressive and threatening manner.  Some of our members are afraid to attend future State Water Control Board meetings because of the trauma they experienced.

Please take the following suggestions into consideration to encourage and accommodate the public to be able to provide insights and concerns to the DEQ citizen boards:

  • It is important to have hybrid meetings to allow citizens to participate virtually and in  person.
  • Accommodations should be made for participants to be able to pool their minutes in order to be able to make a comprehensive presentation.
  • Out of consideration for the public who may have to travel long distances and/or take time off from work to attend, please move the public forum to the beginning of the citizen boards meetings.  This enables participants to better plan their time, even if the meeting has a virtual component.

Respectfully submitted,

Rebecca Talbot

On behalf of the Mother's Out Front-Roanoke, VA Team

CommentID: 99797