Today, the Senate of Virginia passed Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s (D-Richmond) Pipeline Accountability, Oversight, and Protection of Virginia’s Water Act (SB 1311), which will ensure the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality makes a fully informed decision about new pipeline projects and protects Virginia’s authority over the Commonwealth’s water quality. The bill passed the Senate by a 20-17 margin.
Sen. McClellan’s bill requires detailed erosion and sediment control plans to be approved by DEQ prior to certifying a new pipeline project under the Clean Water Act. The bill also requires compliance with Clean Water Act deadlines to ensure the Commonwealth does not relinquish its authority over water quality to a federal agency.
“This bill will empower Virginia environmental regulators to protect Virginia waterways and play a bigger role in decisions about pipelines,” Sen. McClellan said, “This bill is about informed decision-making and ensuring the Commonwealth of Virginia has a strong role to play in protecting our waterways throughout the process. The protection of Virginia’s clean water is of utmost concern, and this is a big step toward safeguarding our environment and keeping pollutants out of our water.”
“Wild Virginia very much appreciates Senator McClellan’s work to protect our waters and our communities from damages caused by huge gas pipelines,” said David Sligh, Conservation Director at Wild Virginia. “We are very pleased that the Senate has passed SB 1311, which makes sure our regulators do a full and detailed review of these projects and upholds the Commonwealth’s right to look out for our natural heritage and our people.”