Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
State Water Control Board
Public Participation Guidelines [9 VAC 25 ‑ 11]
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8/19/21  10:35 pm
Commenter: Elizabeth Ende

Improve Access for Public Participation for matters being considered by the Water Control Board

A few years ago, I heard residents of Union Hill talk about the noise pollution, air and water pollution, environmental destruction and inherent danger of living in the vicinity of a compressor station that was scheduled to be built in their town, I saw environmental INJUSTICE at work.  This inspired me to lend my voice in areas where community feedback is being sought.

In order to ensure that vulnerable communities which are at the greatest risk of climate change impacts, positioning of dangerous, noisy and polluting fossil fuel facilities, and pollution exposure, the Water Control Board MUST improve its Public Participation Guidelines to be more inclusive.  Here are some suggestions:

  • The State Water Control Board should create a list of people and organizations in environmental justice communities based on definitions included in the Environmental Justice Act.  The list should be periodically updated and include any person or organization who requests to be added to the list.
  • The State Water Control Board should reach out to those on the list in advance of any public participation period.
  • Include notifications about public participation activities in communications from the water utility, including in a water bill.
  • Create a more user-friendly vehicle for entering comments.
  • Increase the notification period for public hearings from 7 to 15 days.
  • Ensure that a Regulatory Advisory Panel (RAP) has broad representation to include community members, the industry, and researchers.
  • Allow a minimum of 60 calendar days for comments following the publication of a notice of periodic review.
  • Allow in person and virtual participation.
  • Upon request, provide public notices and technical materials in multiple languages.
CommentID: 99796