Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
Department of Environmental Quality
 
Board
Department of Environmental Quality
 
chapter
Public Participation Guidelines [9 VAC 15 ‑ 11]
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8/19/21  9:04 pm
Commenter: Elizabeth Ende

Improve Access for Public Participation for matters being considered by the DEQ
 

A few years ago, I heard residents of Union Hill talk about the noise pollution, air and water pollution, environmental destruction and inherent danger of living in the vicinity of a compressor station that was scheduled to be built in their town, I saw environmental INJUSTICE at work.  This inspired me to lend my voice in areas where community feedback was being sought.     

In order to ensure that vulnerable communities which are at the greatest risk of climate change impacts, positioning of dangerous, noisy and polluting fossil fuel facilities, and pollution exposure, the DEQ  MUST  improve its Public Participation Guidelines to be more inclusive.  Here are some suggestions:

  • DEQ should create a list of people and organizations in environmental justice communities based on definitions included in the Environmental Justice Act.  The list should be periodically updated and include any person or organization who requests to be added to the list.
  • DEQ should reach out to those on the list in advance of any public participation period.
  • Include notifications about public participation activities in communications from utilities, including utility bills.
  • Create a more user-friendly vehicle for entering comments.
  • Increase the notification period for public hearings from 7 to 15 days.
  • Ensure that a Regulatory Advisory Panel (RAP) has broad representation to include community members, the industry, and researchers.
  • Allow a minimum of 60 calendar days for comments following the publication of a notice of periodic review.
  • Allow in person and virtual participation.
  • Upon request, provide public notices and technical materials in multiple languages.
CommentID: 99790