Speaker Cox’s leadership ensures more state oversight of coal ash pond closure

March 6, 2018

The House of Delegates today passed Senate Bill 807 which instructs the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality to suspend the issuance of any permit to close coal ash ponds until July 1, 2019 other than those state permits where the ash has been removed, is being removed, or is already being recycled from existing onsite ponds. The bill further requires Dominion Energy to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to determine recycling options for coal ash that includes the cost and potential market demand.

Speaker Cox has monitored the coal ash issue since early last year due to the significant importance this issue holds in the 66th House District. In 2017, the General Assembly passed SB 1398 that placed a year moratorium on solid waste permits preventing closure-in-place of coal ash ponds and requiring Dominion Energy to identify long-term storage options. This year’s legislation continues our prudent approach on addressing coal ash.

“I supported the 2017 legislation and this year’s bill to ensure state oversight of the closure-in-place process for coal ash ponds, two of which are located at Chesterfield Power Station” said Speaker Cox. “Our approach guarantees the process is both environmentally friendly and economically feasible to utility customers.”

Several environmental groups spoke in favor of the legislation when it was heard in the House Commerce and Labor Committee. The groups included the James River Association, League of Conservation Voters, and Sierra Club.

The bill will head to the Governor for his signature in the final phase of the legislative process.

Once implemented into law, the results of the RFP will be shared with the Governor; the Chairmen of the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources, the House Committee on Commerce and Labor, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor; and to the Directors of the Departments of Environmental Quality and Conservation and Recreation.