State Air Pollution Control Board discusses environmental justice

Virginia DEQThe Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board expressed continued interest in environmental justice, public engagement and carbon reduction at its quarterly meeting today.

No SAPCB actions were on today’s agenda.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) staff provided updates on these and a number of specific topics, including the carbon trading rule, methane leakage from natural gas transmission, transportation emissions, the Volkswagen settlement, solar permits and the Governor’s recent Executive Order 43, which expands the use of renewable energy in the commonwealth.

DEQ presented on public engagement requirements on developing air pollution regulations and approving air permits. The board’s public engagement subcommittee provided an update on its meeting held last week, which focused on recommendations for enhancing public involvement and what is possible under the law. The subcommittee expects to meet again before the next SAPCB meeting on Dec. 6.

The board also received an update from DEQ about the agency’s contract issued this week to Skeo Solutions to conduct an environmental justice study. The firm will interview a variety of stakeholders, including board members and DEQ staff, over the next year.

“We hold ourselves accountable to all Virginians,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “Skeo will focus on determining the public’s expectations, what the agency can do under our current authority and a suite of options to enhance our processes. We want to be clear about our responsibilities – and the responsibilities of permit applicants – to handle all public concerns in a transparent and clear way.”

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