Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Environmental Quality
Small Renewable Wind Energy Projects Permit by Rule [9 VAC 15 ‑ 40]
Action Establishment of permit(s) by rule for the construction and operation of small wind energy projects
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ended on 8/20/2010
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8/20/10  3:09 pm
Commenter: Rick Thomas, Timmons Group

Need for Memoranda of Understanding Between Participating Review Agencies

Dear Ms. Wampler,


I respectfully submit the following comments regarding the above referenced proposed regulation.  These comments are intended to assist in providing clarification within the technical documentation and permit processing requirements relative to sections 9VAC 15-40-40 through 15-40-60 regarding analysis of the beneficial and adverse impacts on natural resources, determination of likely significant adverse impacts and mitigation plan. 


I recognize that there has been a considerable and laudable effort throughout the development of this regulation to balance the multiple interests associated with affected parties of this regulation and I commend the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for providing the Commonwealth of Virginia with a well balanced regulation that provides both significant protection of natural and cultural resources of the Commonwealth, and a degree of certainty for  planning and constructing needed renewable energy facilities. 


In evaluation of the sections of the regulation 9VAC 15-40-40 through 15-40-60, I believe that both wind energy developers as well as state regulatory personnel within DEQ and participating agencies including the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources would benefit through the development of two Memoranda of Understanding further clarifying the documentation requirements, review procedures and timelines, and technical criteria associated with adverse effect determinations and mitigation requirements (one Memoranda for natural resource issues and one memoranda for cultural resource issues).  With the stated goal of attempting to provide regulatory certainty and timeliness of permit processing requirements, I believe that there is still a certain degree of uncertainty of content requirements and process responsibilities with how each participating agency will interact with one another and applicants to work through adverse impact determinations and mitigation requirements, particularly in cases involving historic resource view-shed impact determinations and resolution.  Regulatory guidance focused on both natural and cultural resource impact determinations, review agency responsibilities and timelines and application documentation requirements will assist in providing the clarity and regulatory certainty needed to foster renewable energy development in the Commonwealth.      






Rick Thomas

CommentID: 14362