Home Dominion Power Government for the People…or Government for the Profits?

Government for the People…or Government for the Profits?

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Tuesday is the big day! Tuesday we find out whether our legislature works to protect the people of Virginia, or works to protect the profits of the energy corporations. Tuesday we find out whether the big money that Dominion Energy, Appalachian Power, and the whole energy industry throws at our government buys the results they want at the expense of Virginians.

We have FIVE bills relating to the energy corporations, pipeline projects, clean water, and the people of the Commonwealth being heard in House subcommittees on Tuesday.

In a special Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources (ACNR) subcommittee #4 that will meet on Tuesday at 7:30 in the morning:

  • HB 1141, from Delegates Sam Rasoul (D) and Chris Hurst (D) (chief patrons), Delegate Kaye Kory (D), and Senator Creigh Deeds (D), would require the State Water Control Board to conduct a review prior to issuing water quality permits during construction and operation of gas pipelines that include (i) an individual review of each proposed water body crossing, (ii) a review of any construction through karst terrain, and (iii) a review and approval of erosion and sediment control plans and stormwater management plans.” Additionally, the Board will not allow any “land-disturbing activity,” which includes tree-felling.
  • HB1294, also from Delegates Rasoul and Hurst, and Senator Deeds, would require any company planning to construct an interstate natural gas pipeline in Virginia to post a performance bond with the State Water Control Board, prior to commencing construction, so that money is available to rectify adverse water quality problems created by the construction of a pipeline.
  • HB1188, from Delegates Hurst and Rasoul (chief patrons), Delegates Wendy Gooditis (D) and Alfonso Lopez (D), and Senators Deeds and John Edwards (D), would (a) make illegal the discharge of gas from natural gas pipelines on lands, stormwater drains or state waters and (b) hold pipeline operators liable for the costs of cleanup and damages to natural resources. It requires pipeline operators to establish baseline groundwater data for properties in the right-of-way which enables regulators to detect when gas has been illegally discharged or leaked from a pipeline operation into rural water supplies.

In Commerce and Labor subcommittee #3 on Tuesday afternoon after the adjournment of subcommittee #2,

  • HB556, from Delegates Danica Roem (D) and Rasoul (chief patrons) and Delegate Lee Carter (D), expands consumer protections by providing intervenor compensation in proceedings involving public utilities before the State Corporation Commission. It allows non-profit groups like the Virginia Sierra Club or the Southern Environmental Law Center to be compensated for their efforts on behalf of the public to work on energy issues with the State Commission Corporation.
  • HB96, from Delegates Rasoul and Roem (chief patrons) and eleven other Democratic delegates and one Democratic senator co-sponsoring, is a clean repeal of the Dominion rate freeze instituted in 2015. The rate freeze would end December, 2018, with the State Corporation Commission returning to biennial review of the rates being charged to consumers.

So here it is, here’s where we find out whether the Blue Wave was big enough to put a dent in the corrupt Virginia Way, or whether we’ll have to change a few more seats before we have a legislature that protects the people, fights for the people, protects our environment and our drinking water, and protects our beautiful mountains, rivers, and wildlife.

Please participate in any way you can.  Tweet, post on facebook, share this article, talk to your neighbors and friends at the bus stop and at work. Make calls and send emails to the legislators–make sure they know we are watching and we will hold them accountable. When you contact them, please be sure to say the number of the bill(s) you’re calling about and tell them why you support the bill(s), in your own language, with your own personal story if you have one. Here is the contact information for the committee members.

ACNR Subcommittee #4 members:

Commerce & Labor Subcommittee #3 members:

 

  • RobS

    The process described in HB556 needs to work toward a neutral and non-partisan methodology. If extreme partisan in either way, then the work is never going to get done (one outcome) or one party uses it constantly to line the pockets of their campaign contributors with State dollars. I’m not sure if other state organizations are allowed to pay non-profit groups for their efforts, but being careful about the precedent this creates would be smart.

  • Any thoughts on this?

    Governor Northam and Speaker Cox Announce Bipartisan Agreement on Regulatory Reform

    ~ House Bill 883 establishes a regulatory reform pilot program with a goal to reduce or streamline regulatory requirements by 25% over the next three years ~

    RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam and House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox today announced bipartisan legislation that will implement a regulatory reduction pilot program to remove burdensome and unnecessary regulatory requirements facing hard working Virginians.

    “Promoting the health, safety, and prosperity of Virginians is the chief mission of our state agencies, and regulations can be a helpful tool in that mission,” said Governor Northam. “However, we have a responsibility to constantly evaluate every regulatory requirement and policy to ensure that it is doing its job in the least restrictive way possible. I look forward to working with the General Assembly on this bipartisan priority to make our regulatory system work better for all Virginians.”

    “For several years, the House has worked to advance a regulatory reform initiative that would eliminate some of the burdens facing entrepreneurs and small businesses. Thanks to the willingness of Governor Northam and Secretary Aubrey Layne, we have reached a bipartisan compromise on a longstanding priority of the House,” said Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “We know that red tape hinders entrepreneurs, innovators, and small and large businesses alike from creating more of the good paying jobs that our people need. This pilot program will significantly reduce regulations in two heavily-regulated areas and lay the foundation for further efforts to reduce regulations across state government, helping our economy and making government more efficient at the same time.”

    House Bill 883 creates a three-year regulatory reduction pilot program that will be administered by the Department of Planning and Budget. The program will focus on the Department of Professional and Occupational Licensing and the Department of Criminal Justice Services, with a goal of reducing or streamlining regulatory requirements by 25 percent. Further, the Department of Planning and Budget will track and report on the extent to which agencies comply with existing requirements to periodically review all regulations every four years.

    “We’ve seen the positive effects of regulatory reform on our national economy during the last year,” noted Senator Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules. “By establishing a framework for regulatory reduction, this pilot program has the potential to reap positive benefits for Virginians well into the future.”

    “I commend Governor Northam and leaders in both chambers for working together on a bipartisan initiative that will make our regulatory system work better for families and businesses all over Virginia,” said Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax). “By piloting this effort in two key agencies, we can calibrate our approach to protect the wellbeing of Virginians without unduly burdening citizens and job creators.”

    “Regulatory reform has been a major focus of mine over the past several years. I appreciate the Governor and the Speaker for their leadership on this matter and I look forward to working with all involved to reduce the burdens on our citizens and businesses,” said Michael Webert (R-Fauquier), the bill’s patron. “The goal of this pilot program will be to reduce regulatory requirements, compliance costs, and regulatory burdens across both agencies by 25% over the next three years. This will make these agencies more efficient, reduce regulatory burdens, and give us a clear model to replicate across state government.”

    “This pilot program will help Virginia develop a template for smart regulatory reform. In a dynamic economy, responsible regulation is an important tool to protect workers and consumers from abuses,” said House Democratic Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville). “We can always work together to strengthen our approach and this legislation advances that important cause.”

    • Cindy

      Oh, I have thoughts all right. But Blue Virginia is family-friendly, right? I object to the whole concept frankly, and thought it was ridiculous when Trump decreed it by executive order. 1) regulation is there for a reason, usually to protect consumers and workers from corporations and employers; 2) the notion of assigning some quantitative measure of regulation, of reducing the “amount” of regulation by 25% is like counting how many angels can dance on the head of a pin; 3) of all the agencies we might want to test out this cockamamie idea, the Department of Criminal Justice Services, which is almost entirely a regulatory agency (regulating things like security officers, bail bondsmen, and private investigators; setting law enforcement training and standards; and responsible for juvenile justice services, victim services, human trafficking, and prisoner re-entry) would be one of the last agencies I’d pick to play around with deregulation on.