Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
secretary
Natural Resources
Agency
Department of Environmental Quality
Board
Air Pollution Control Board
Petition Information
Petition Title Rulemaking to Limit and Reduce Total Carbon Dioxide Pollution in the Commonwealth by 30% by 2030 from Electric Generating Units.
Date Filed 3/17/2017    [Transmittal Sheet]
Petitioner Susan V. Coleman 
Petitioner's Request

As a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I hereby petition the Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Pollution Control Board to simultaneously promulgate both an emergency rulemaking and a formal rulemaking to limit and reduce total carbon dioxide pollution in the Commonwealth by 30% by 2030, from its largest source, electric generating units.

The Air Pollution Control Board has clear legal authority to limit and reduce carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases (GHG), by powers vested by the Virginia Code (§§ 10.1-1300-1308).

Specifically, Virginia law provides that the Air Board \"shall have the power to promulgate regulations, including emergency regulations, abating, controlling and prohibiting air pollution throughout or in any part of the Commonwealth . . .” (§ 10.1-1308(A)).

Virginia law clearly encompasses carbon dioxide in its legal definition of air pollution: \"Air pollution means the presence in the outdoor atmosphere of one or more substances which are or may be harmful or injurious to human health, welfare or safety, to animal or plant life, or to property, or which unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment by the people of life or property” (§ 10.1-1300).

Moreover, the Air Board has already identified carbon dioxide and other GHGs as a category of emissions that shall be \"subject to regulation” (9 VAC 5-85-30(C)).

Most importantly, limiting and reducing carbon pollution would achieve the Board’s charge to prevent harm to \"public health, safety or welfare; the health of animal or plant life; [and] property, whether . . . recreational, commercial, industrial, [or] agricultural” (9 VAC 10 Chapter 10).

As a nurse, I am working in the public health sphere and believe the Air Board should limit and reduce carbon pollution to protect human and economic health, because:

  • Carbon pollution is an immediate threat to human health and the economy: sea level rise makes Virginia’s coast one of the most imperiled places in the nation. As sea levels continue to rise, storm surges become higher as well, making most of the Hampton Roads region vulnerable to hurricane flooding. Without significant infrastructure investment, Tangier Island may be uninhabitable by the end of the century. Inland areas will see worsened flooding as well, due to heavy storm precipitation, which increased 27% between 1958 and 2012 across the Southeast. Henry Paulson’s Risky Business Institute estimates there will be $17.5 billion in additional sea-level rise damage and storm damage in Virginia by 2030.  We have a duty to exhibit moral leadership.
  • Warmer temperatures also increase ozone levels, aggravating lung diseases such as asthma, including in Richmond, which already suffers some of the worst asthma rates in America. This issue significantly and disproportionately impacts the youth of Virginia, both in productivity and in quality of life.
  • Carbon pollution immediately threatens plant and animal life. Climate change will likely reduce the productivity of livestock, which comprise the bulk of Virginia’s farm commodities. Hotter summers will likely reduce corn yields, one of Virginia’s largest crop commodities. In addition, the threat of emerging zoonotic diseases due to climate changes not only threatens livestock, but human health. Veterinary, environmental and human health are all inextricably linked.
  • Injury to property, both public and private, is already occurring today: the Norfolk Naval Base is impacted in a variety of ways, including impaired electricity availability, transportation inaccessibility, and piers that must be raised at a cost of $60 million each. Weakened armed forces bases poses a great risk to national security.
  • In addition to concerns of public health and safety, climate change wreaks havoc on cross-sector stakeholders caused by displacement, transportation and utility interruptions, and increases in disease incidence related to flooding conditions and disrupted housing.
  • The cost of prevention, whether measured in dollars or lives impacted, is so much less than that of attempting to recover after tragedy.

The Air Board can cost effectively limit and reduce carbon pollution by 30% from 2015 levels by 2030 because:

  • Virginia already reduced carbon emissions by a similar amount between 2000 and 2015, while the state economy continued to grow.
  • 30% by 2030 would be similar to the amount required in Virginia by the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which underwent significant economic analysis, and which Governor McAuliffe already supports.
  • Doing so would benefit the economy, because clean energy resources like solar, wind, and energy efficiency are now as affordable as, or more affordable than, conventional carbon-based energy resources.

For the above-stated legal, economic, and human health and safety reasons, I hereby petition the Air Pollution Control Board to initiate an emergency and formal rulemaking.

 
Agency's Plan

The State Air Pollution Control Board, based on discussion and action at its March 16, 2017, meeting and as required by Virginia law, is submitting notice of the petition for publication in the Virginia Register of Regulations on April 17, 2017, and announcing a public comment period. The public comment period begins on April 17, 2017, and closes on July 17, 2017.

Following receipt of comments on the petition, the Board will consider whether to grant or deny the petition for rulemaking.  Board consideration will occur at a meeting of the Board.  Board book material on the matter will be available approximately 3 weeks in advance of the meeting.

 
Comment Period red dot In Progress!
Ends 7/17/2017
Currently 78 comments
Agency Decision Pending    

Contact Information
Name / Title: Karen G. Sabasteanski 
Address: 629 East Main Street
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, 23218
Email Address: ghg@deq.virginia.gov
Telephone: (804)698-4426    FAX: (804)698-4510    TDD: ()-