The Commission took the following actions at the Executive Committee Meeting on November 15, 2012:
Mr. John Carlock, Deputy Executive Director, updated the Executive Committee on the proposed legislative agenda for the 2013 General Assembly session. Additions to the proposed legislative agenda included: support for consistent funding for education, regional and state interoperability, local planning authority and local taxing authority. With some discussion during the workshop session, the legislative agenda was approved via the consent agenda.
Mr. James A Clary, Economist, provided the second of two presentations on the Analysis of Energy Development Strategies in Hampton Roads, focusing on local and regional impacts of energy policy, which include a host of environmental and planning issues. The goals of the regional energy policy are to ensure a high level of energy surety, maintain low energy costs, increase energy related jobs and energy security. Other points of note: Virginia ranks 27th in energy costs and 2nd in energy imports. Key policy recommendations from this study include:
Maintain simple permitting processes for distributed energy technologies
Support the Hampton Roads Energy Corridor
Ms. Jenny Tribo, Senior Water Resources Planner, reviewed committee comments on the proposed small municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) general permit currently under review and public comment process. The proposed general permit will apply to the six Phase II localities which include Isle of Wight, James City County, Poquoson, Suffolk, Williamsburg and York County. It is anticipated that this revised general permit will also have implications for Phase I localities, including Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, as regulators attempt to make permit language consistent. The revisions include more stringent program requirements, action plans for all TMDLs and provide details on pollutant load calculations to comply with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. Major areas of concern addressed in the comment letter are as follows:
Localities should receive credit for all BMPs installed between 2006-2013
State guidance is needed on nutrient reduction calculations and documentation for new development to eliminate ambiguous permit requirements which may result in enforcement actions on localities.
The comments were approved via the consent agenda.
Ms. Whitney Katchmark, Principal Water Resources Planner, gave an overview of the draft groundwater regulations as proposed by the Department of Environmental Quality. The Directors of Utilities Committee has developed comments which will be submitted to DEQ. The regulations determine the amount of groundwater localities and businesses can withdraw. Changes in the regulations may change the withdrawal amounts currently allowed. The regulations are designed to address conflicts between users, monitor the groundwater system to avoid overuse and prevent saltwater intrusion due to over withdrawal. Revisions to the regulations have been proposed because groundwater levels are dropping more than anticipated. The comments developed by the Directors of Utilities Committee stress that public water systems remain the highest priority use of groundwater. In addition, the permit term should be extended from 10 to 30 years to better match infrastructure financing schedules. The committee also recommends that drought permits be evaluated on typical use and that innovative practices should be encouraged. The comments were approved via the consent agenda.
Mr. Ellis W. James of Norfolk expressed his concern with some of the findings and recommendations of the Hampton Roads Energy Options study.
Mr. John Gergely endorsed the findings of the Hampton Roads Energy Options study.
Minutes: The minutes of the October 18, 2012 HRPDC Executive Committee Meeting were approved as part of the consent agenda.
Treasurer’s Report: Approved as part of the consent agenda.
Regional Reviews: Approved as part of the consent agenda.
Other items approved under the Consent Agenda:
· PNRS Reviews
· Environmental Impact Assessment/Statement Review
· FY 2013 Budget Amendment
· Legislative Agenda
· Analysis of Energy Development Strategies in Hampton Roads – Part II
· PDC Boundaries
· Appointment to MMRS Oversight Committee
· Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit Comments
· Groundwater Management Area Regulations Comments
· State Homeland Security Grant Application
· Reallocation of Urban Areas Security Initiative Grant Funding
· National Fish and Wildlife Grant for Chesapeake Bay TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan Development in Hampton Roads
· Hampton Roads Adaptation Forum – Sea Grant Application
Chairman Shepperd noted that the December meeting has been cancelled. The February meeting will serve as the Commission retreat. Commissioners were encouraged to send thoughts on the retreat process to Dwight Farmer. Chairman Shepperd also recognized Virginia Beach Councilman, Harry Diezel for his service to the Commission. Official recognition will take place at the January meeting. Mr. Diezel did not seek reelection to Council. Mr. Shepperd also called attention to the U.S. Navy 2011 Economic Impact Report for Hampton Roads. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.