Coal combustion byproduct; use, reuse, or reclamation in a floodplain (SB717)

Introduced By

Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Fossil fuel combustion products permit. Requires any applicant seeking approval for the use of fossil fuel combustion products as structural fill to (i) publish a notice of his intent to apply for approval for the project from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), (ii) hold a public meeting to answer citizen's questions, and (iii) submit minutes of the meeting to DEQ. The DEQ is not to issue the permit until the applicant has fulfilled these requirements. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/17/2008Presented and ordered printed 080776228
01/17/2008Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
01/29/2008Impact statement from DPB (SB717)
02/04/2008Reported from Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources with substitite (13-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/04/2008Committee substitute printed 083975228-S1
02/05/2008Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/06/2008Read second time
02/06/2008Reading of substitute waived
02/06/2008Committee substitute agreed to 083975228-S1
02/06/2008Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB717S1
02/07/2008Impact statement from DPB (SB717S1)
02/07/2008Read third time and passed Senate (35-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
02/07/2008Reconsideration of passage agreed to by Senate (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/07/2008Passed Senate (35-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
02/07/2008Communicated to House
02/12/2008Placed on Calendar
02/12/2008Read first time
02/12/2008Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
02/20/2008Tabled in Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB514.


Lawanda Robertson writes:

This is much too weak. It will accomplish nothing. Meetings will occur and power cos. will still meet DEQ regs as they are today. It is not the bill that Giles County BOS or DEQ recommended. This is the bill that could make a difference: "..the use of coal combustion byproduct as structural fill in floodplains within the Commonwealth." "...the definition of solid waste permitting requirements the use, reused, or reclamation of coal combustion byproduct as structural fill in an area designated as a 100-year flood plain as defined in 10.1-600." The beneficial use loop hole needs to be eliminated. Localities need to be able to regulate fly ash dumps in their own areas without DEQ or the state saying it is ok to dump toxic wastes in flood plains of riverfs like AEP is preparing to do in Giles County.

Robert Smith writes:

This proposed legislation is insufficient, and will accomplish nothing as it is written.

Currently, there is no permit issued by the DEQ for CCW claimed to be "Beneficial Use." There is no litmus test for what constitutes a “Beneficial Use”: no cost/benefit analysis, no environmental impact statement, no liner required, no ground water monitoring, no soil permeability testing, no public participation, no materials testing,…. The list goes on.

AEP experts testified that leachate from CCW will reach the ground water within 6 months, and will travel 50-60 feet per year in the ground water. AEP experts also testified that CCW contains compounds which are known to be toxic to marine life and humans, like Arsenic, Mercury, Selenium, and many others. AEP experts also testified that the soil surrounding deposits of CCW become contaminated with these toxic materials.

AEP plans to dump CCW in the flood plain of the New River. Their other unlined dump sites along the New River have already contaminated ground water. CCW does not degrade, will never be safe, and will ultimately be flushed away, down New River.

It is the DUTY of Virginia legislators to protect citizens against harm. Dumping CCW in sensitive or risky locations is completely unwarranted and completely legal in this state. Corporations should not be allowed to dump toxic material wherever it is convenient, because the owners obviously have no moral values. The owners of the CCW care nothing for the people who have to drink the water or live next to these deposits; they only care about one thing: money.

Please revise this legislation so it will prevent corporations from dumping hazardous industrial waste, like CCW, in river flood plains, ecologically sensitive areas, and where it can contaminate human drinking water. Give the DEQ a useful tool, to replace its rubber stamp.

Visit my web site to view videos of actual events in Giles County: testimony of men paid by AEP and the “Giles County Partnership for Excellence,” statements by Virginia DEQ representatives, explanations of how CCW harms life forms by a scientist, and an eye witness account and photos of a CCW fill that “blew out” and ravaged her neighborhood. See these people with your own eyes, hear the truth in their words, then act to stop this insanity in Giles County.

Leigh Stoudenmire writes:

According to the Giles County Board of Supervisors and their attorney, Del. Crockett-Stark presented them with 3 different options for the content/wording of this bill last week. She asked for a recommendation/vote from Giles County BOS on which option they preferred. On Thursday, Jan. 24, the BOS voted to send a VERY different option than is stated above. The option that Giles BOS voted for their delegate to recommend was prepared/written BY the Virginia DEQ and included (in summary and inter alia) that the "Beneficial End Use" loophole would not apply to structural fills proposed in a floodplain.

Please revise this legislation so that CCW (and other waste) will not be allowed to be placed in our rivers' flood plains or any other enviornmentally sensitive areas. Please consider using the draft bill that the DEQ prepared. Wouldn't they know best what MUST be added to existing laws to help them regulate while still protecting our enviornment!?!

Britt Stoudenmire writes:

I am concerned that this legislation, as described currently, is not strong enough. We DO NOT need "beneficial use" sites in the flood plains of our rivers that have loose requirements. Please strengthen this bill, particularly to the requirements of the DEQ bill that was voted on by the Giles County Board of Supervisors on January 24th.

Joan Kark writes:

The implications of HB 514 for the Cumberland Park Project would mean only that the public would have found out about it sooner with a public hearing. The DEQ would still have approved the project since the DEQ's regulations for CCW for structural fill projects allow CCW to be deposited on a flood plain and without a clay liner or monitoring wells.

This legislation should not replace the Citizen Boards--State Water Control Board, Solid Waste Control Board, etc. Your legislation might have helped us in that we would have known about this project earlier and could have alerted these boards before DEQ approved the project. Perhaps they could have done something. All I heard from our Board of Supervisors is that they couldn't do anything about it. The DEQ said the same thing since the project met loose standards set by the legislature.

What really is important is that the legislature require DEQ to strengthen its specifications for structural fill CCW projects, especially in light of lawsuits in Virginia over CCW structural fill. At the minimum---clay liners, no depositing of CCW on 100 year flood plain, ground water monitoring, etc. CCW needs to treated as solid waste at the very least.

This legislation, as written above, does not give the local citizens or governments the tools to fight a project like the Cumberland Park Project which poses long term problems for Giles County.

John Tomas writes:

As a resident of this awesome state of Virginia, I can't help but wonder what goes through the minds of people that have no regard for the impacts of their actions on the future of our state. Many years from now, when we are dead and gone, the effects of this operation will still be felt by those left behind. It is apparently known there will be leaching, that goes without saying. There will be runoff -all construction sites have it no matter how diligently you monitor the erosion control practices. There will be issues, that is why this must be addressed now. Building up the banks of the New with a product known to be contaminated with toxins is ludicrous, hundred year plain or ten year plain considered. Can legislators, business people, and other vested interests no longer just look at the big picture and see this for what it is - a disposal site? Can they not understand it is in everybody's best interest for them to dispose of it as such - waste? Adding liners and wells will be good enough to tell you there's a problem, but then what will be done with it???
Seems to me the best solution is to find a dumping ground away from any watershed 'anywhere' and leave the banks of the New unmolested. If that's not possible a liner and wells are a minimal expenditure for a project of this scope.
The beauty of our rivers and lands are theatened every day and it is up to "we the people" to protect them.

Judy Brown writes:

I live in Pearisburg, Virginia (located in Giles County) and we are dealing with a huge environmental nightmare. American Electric Power has entered into an agreement with the Partnerships for Excellence to dump flyash into an unlined land berm that is located in a flood plain on the banks of the New River. The project is called the "Cumberland Park Project". There will be no wells to monitor the groundwater and no testing of the ash that is being dumped. From the first load that is dumped chemicals (arsenic, cadium, and mercury to name a few) will start leaching into the soil. They were able to gain the necessary permits from DEQ because of a "loophole" that classified the waste (flyash) as "beneficial use". All of this was done without any input from the citizens of Giles County. Actually this project went on for almost two years before the people heard about it. This "loophole" MUST be closed so local governments, not big corporations, can decide what is best for their community.

Darlene Cunningham writes:

SB 717 is not strong enough. It needs to include language that states that CCW's should be subject to the same requirements as that of solid waste if they are used as structural fills in the 100 year flood plain of a waterway. This bill would apply to the present dilemma in Giles Co. It would give localities a voice and allow action. Our Board of Supervisors requested such language in communication with Del. Crockett-Stark on Jan. 25. Record shows that she submitted her original version on Jan. 7. Apparently, her asking for input from our local government was only to give the impression she was interested in helping her constituents. I hope you will be interested in learning about the situation here in Giles.

Douglas Turner writes:

I agree with Mrs. Cunningham. I want to add my dismay and dissatisfaction that SB717 was modified to suit a lobbyist for AEP. I know that these people exist and I know that they make a good living being the voice for big corporations. I don't have to like it and I can't begin to put in writing the degree of contempt I hold for those who get paid huge amounts of money to be the mouthpiece for big business, such as AEP. Our political system is broken and will never be repaired so it can serve the needs of all citizens. It will only serve the masters who have unlimited funds to spend to have their way and either defeat or pass bills that serve their needs, pad their bank accounts, and increase profits for their company. Our forefathers would be sickened to see how the system they so carefully constructed has been fractured and reset to serve only the wealthy. Our environment, our natural resources, and our health will continue to suffer at the expense of corporations who refuse to acknowledge the harm they are doing to that which doesn't belong to them; God's green earth!