Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board elects new chair
Hoagland, a member of the board since 2017, has over 30 years of experience in environmental advocacy.
To remain consistent with the law passed by the 2020 General Assembly, the board voted unanimously to incorporate additional public participation requirements into air regulations. Certain fossil fuel-fired facilities seeking new or modified permits or variances are required to conduct additional public outreach to surrounding communities and issue public notices earlier. In addition, public comment periods will be extended.
The board also approved the annual update of the regulations to incorporate U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) federal standards.
DEQ Director David Paylor reported the agency’s budget allocation remains at Fiscal Year 2020 funding levels. Most DEQ staff continue to telework during COVID-19 and agency operations, such as air monitoring and compliance, continue to run smoothly. Teleworking and public meetings are expected to be virtual for the foreseeable future.
DEQ Air & Renewable Energy Division Director Michael Dowd provided a brief review of the national ambient air quality standard for ozone conducted by EPA. Virginia’s number of high ozone days – monitored ozone readings greater than 70 ppb – has been trending downward since the late 1990s. Only Northern Virginia remains out of attainment for ozone. In addition, Dowd reported that DEQ and EPA are working with a facility in Giles County to meet attainment standards for sulphur dioxide.
Hoagland summarized the recommendations from the public engagement subcommittee to more efficiently and successfully reach out and engage environmental justice communities.
For more information about the Board or to view the presentations and meeting recording, visit www.DEQ.Virginia.gov.