Interstate natural gas pipelines; DEQ review, upland construction (SB950)

Introduced By

Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-Mount Solon) with support from co-patron Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Pipeline construction; Water Protection Permit; additional certification for upland impacts. Provides that, for the construction of certain natural gas transmission pipelines greater than 36 inches inside diameter (Pipelines), the issuance of a Virginia Water Protection Permit (VWPP) and an additional water quality certification for upland conditions shall together constitute the certification required under § 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. The bill requires the builder of a Pipeline to submit an application to the Department of Environmental Quality (the Department) describing all activities that will occur in upland areas and authorizes the Department to request certain additional information from the applicant. The bill directs the Department to determine whether any activities not addressed by the VWPP are likely to result in a discharge to state waters with the potential to adversely impact water quality and then to develop an additional certification containing any additional conditions for activities in upland areas. The bill directs the Department to prepare a public notice of such draft certification conditions and to allow for public comment. The bill requires an individual VWPP for impacts to state waters for the construction of any Pipeline and requires that each wetland and stream crossing be considered as a single project, with an individual review of each proposed water body crossing with an upstream drainage area of five square miles or greater; however, the bill requires only one individual VWPP addressing all water body crossings for each Pipeline. The bill requires that any Pipeline be constructed in a manner that minimizes impacts to state waters and protects water quality to the maximum extent practicable, including by using certain best management practices. The bill directs the State Water Control Board to exempt the construction of Pipelines from its general permits for the activities of certain utilities and public service companies and to complete its review of any individual permit application related to the construction of any Pipeline within one year. The bill also prohibits an applicant from commencing a land-disturbing activity prior to approval by the Department of an erosion and sediment control plan and stormwater management plan. Finally, the bill authorizes the Department to assess certain administrative charges in order to cover its costs. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/19/2018Presented and ordered printed 18104891D
01/19/2018Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
01/25/2018Reported from Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/25/2018Rereferred to Finance
02/05/2018Impact statement from DPB (SB950)
02/07/2018Reported from Finance with substitute (15-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
02/07/2018Committee substitute printed 18106849D-S1
02/08/2018Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/09/2018Read second time
02/09/2018Reading of substitute waived
02/09/2018Committee substitute agreed to 18106849D-S1
02/09/2018Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB950S1
02/12/2018Passed by temporarily
02/12/2018Read third time and passed Senate (34-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/15/2018Placed on Calendar
02/15/2018Read first time
02/15/2018Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
02/19/2018Assigned ACNR sub: Subcommittee #4
02/19/2018Impact statement from DPB (SB950S1)
02/20/2018Subcommittee recommends reporting (6-Y 0-N)
02/21/2018Reported from Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/23/2018Read second time
02/26/2018Read third time
02/26/2018Passed House BLOCK VOTE (98-Y 0-N)
02/26/2018VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (98-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2018Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB950ER)
02/28/2018Signed by Speaker
03/01/2018Impact statement from DPB (SB950ER)
03/03/2018Signed by President
03/06/2018Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on March 6, 2018
03/06/2018G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, April 9, 2018
03/30/2018G Approved by Governor-Chapter 636 (effective 7/1/18)
03/30/2018G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0636)


Ruth Stoltzfus Jost writes:

Commendation to Sen Hanger for this. It is crucial that each water crossing is evaluated and protected adequately. With warm temperatures and droughts increasing, our acquifers are to be prized like gold!

Richard D. Shingles writes:

SB 950 should provide DEQ with greater authority and resources to protect state waters, which is especially important given the magnitude of the ACP and MVP construction projects.

Empower the DEQ to do its job.

Arnold lafon writes:

I support both bills live close to construction area and stay very uneasy about my agricultural wells which one is less than 1/2 mile 2are in 1 mile range

Nan Gray writes:

I support SB 950, thank you.

Phil Pickett writes:

I support this bill and thank Sen. Hanger and Sen. Deeds for bringing it forward. I would request that House of Delegates members approve this bill and the governor sign this bill into law to protect the water quality of all Virginia.
Phil Pickett
Blacksburg, VA

Victoria Stone writes:

Critical bill for protecting resources in the state. The crossings of all bodies of water, streams, springs and marsh areas must be addressed individually because they are all very different and construction of massive infrastructure will impact these areas differently. I support this bill and want to see the Commonwealth and the DEQ to have authority, responsibility, and funding to oversee any pipeline construction closely and protect our water.

Cliff Shaffer writes:

I support SB950.

Tom Hoffman writes:

There is a reason people do not live in deserts: WATER. Water is life. If the village of Newport is deprived of drinking water, it will die. End of story.

Carol Geller writes:

MVP has demonstrated that they are not aware of the karst, caves, underground water, etc. in order to proceed with building this pipeline. We need stricter laws that will protect our water & environment from MVP's lack of knowledge and their nonchalant and careless approach to how and where this pipeline will go. DEQ needs to make sure pipelines undergo strict standards in order to preserve our water and our environment. Please save Virginia's water and environment and spare us citizens from the disaster the Mountain Valley Pipeline will create.

John Hildreth writes:

Water is crucial for all residents, and this bill would create greater oversight into pipeline projects that threaten communities' water sources. The fact that the companies involved don't want any oversight should be very revealing.