Purpose of Notice: The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is announcing an informal public comment period to receive comment on the draft Wind Permit by Rule (PBR) Guidance document.
Dates of Informal Public Comment Period: July 27 to August 29, 2011. Written comments may be submitted until 11:59 p.m. on August 29 to the staff contact listed below.
Background: Pursuant to the 2009 Small Renewable Energy Projects Act, DEQ developed PBR regulations to implement the statute’s requirements for wind projects. These regulations, titled Small Renewable Energy Projects (Wind) Permit by Rule, 9VAC15-40, became final in 2010.
The regulations were developed with the assistance of a Regulatory Advisory Panel (RAP) of stakeholders from sister agencies, environmental groups, industry, local government, universities, and other institutions and groups. There were 22 all-day meetings of the RAP. In the course of their deliberations, the RAP recommended not only provisions for the Wind PBR regulation, but also a number of provisions for guidance. Representatives from the Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, Department of Historic Resources, Department of Conservation & Recreation, and other sister agencies were part of the RAP that made recommendations on the regulation, and they have continued their participation, offering suggested guidance provisions to DEQ. DEQ staff completed a draft of the Wind PBR Guidance and is now posting this draft guidance document for review by the general public.
Drafting guidance is solely the role of the regulatory agency that promulgates the underlying regulation. An agency may develop and amend guidance without any public comment or formal procedure. Because of the newness of the Renewable Energy program, and the high degree of public interest in the Wind PBR regulation, DEQ is choosing to take the extra step of consulting the public in developing the Wind PBR Guidance. DEQ will consider all written comments submitted during this informal comment period; however, the content of the guidance remains at DEQ’s sole discretion.
The draft Wind PBR Guidance consists of the following three sections:
Section I: General
Section II: Methodology
Section III: Coastal Avian Protection Zones (CAPZ) – which will be posted on Coastal GEMS after the close of the informal comment period.
Heather Mackey, Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main Street, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218, ph: 804-698-4399, fax: 804-698-4346, or firstname.lastname@example.org