9/12/2011 2:33 pm
Date / Time filed with the Register of Regulations
VA.R. Document Number: R____-______
Virginia Register Publication Information

Transmittal Sheet: Response to Petition for Rulemaking
Initial Agency Notice
Agency Decision
Promulgating Board: Air Pollution Control Board
Regulatory Coordinator: Cindy Berndt


Agency Contact: Karen G. Sabasteanski


Contact Address: Department of Environmental Quality

629 East Main Street

P.O. Box 1105

Richmond, VA 23218
Chapter Affected:
vac 5 - :
Statutory Authority: State:

Date Petition Received 06/15/2011
Petitioner Emma Serrels and Alec Loorz and Victoria Loors (Kids vs. Global Warming)
 Petitioner's Request
The petitioner is requesting the State Air Pollution Control Board adopt regulations to: 1. Ensure that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels peak in the year 2012; 2. Adopt a carbon dioxide emissions reduction plan that, consistent with the best available science, reduces state-wide fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions by at least 6% annually until at least 2050, and expands Virginia's capacity for carbon sequestration; 3. Establish a state-wide greenhouse gas emissions accounting, verification and inventory and issues annual progress reports so that the public has access to accurate data regarding the effectiveness of Virginia's efforts to reduce fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions; and 4. Adopt any necessary policies or regulations to implement the greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan, as detailed in 1 and 2 above.  
 Agency Plan
  The State Air Pollution Control Board received the petition on June 10, 2011. In accordance with the Administrative Process Act, the Board will receive comments from the public on whether or not to initiate a rulemaking for 21 days after publication of the notice of receipt of the petition is published in the Virginia Register of Regulations. The notice will be published in the July 4, 2011 issue of the Register and the public comment period will run from July 4, 2011 through July 25, 2011. A copy of the petition is available on the Department of Environmental Quality's web site, www.deq.virginia.gov, under Air Public Notices.     In addition, staff has been asked to provide, when the petition is presented to the Board for a decision, information, to the extent practicable, on the following: What are the impacts on the regulated community? What is the feasibility of the requested action? How would it be enforced? Is a state-by-state approach appropriate? How would a determination be made that any regulation adopted had achieved the stated purpose of the regulation?  Would the reduction of fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions, given current and foreseeable technologies, be expected to be accompanied by:  a. reductions of other emissions such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and mercury or other beneficial environmental consequences?  b. increases of other emissions or other adverse environmental consequences? What are the benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, including any co-benefits resulting from the reduction of other emissions or other beneficial environmental consequences?   Quantify with respect to such items as premature deaths, emergency room visits, asthma attacks, lost workdays, and lost productivity; and estimated dollar benefit to society. What are the harms of any identified increased emissions or adverse environmental consequences resulting from carbon dioxide emission reductions? Quantify with respect to such items as increases in premature deaths, emergency room visits, asthma attacks, lost workdays, and lost productivity; and estimated dollar harm to society.   Public comment on the petition and the above items will be accepted from July 4, 2011 through July 25, 2011.
Publication Date 07/04/2011  (comment period will also begin on this date)
Comment End Date 07/25/2011
 Agency Decision
Take no action
Agency Response Date 09/12/2011
 Agency Decision Text
  The Board at its meeting on September 9, 2011, adopted the following motion on a vote of 5 to 2: That the Board deny the Petition for the following reasons: 1.         While the Board has the legal authority to take the action sought by the Petition, the Board has undertaken such major regulatory actions in the past only when mandated by federal law or directed to do so by the General Assembly. The Board should not change this practice with respect to the Petition. 2.         There is no Virginia authority supporting the application of the public trust doctrine to the regulation of air pollution.  3.         The Commonwealth through the Attorney General is challenging the authority of EPA to regulate greenhouse gases.   The Board, following the lead of the Governor, supports the Attorney General's litigation. Prudence would dictate that to the extent possible any regulatory action of the type sought by the Petition await judicial resolution of this matter. 4.         On the merits of the Petition, while temperature increases and changes in climate are well documented, their causes - as well as the nature and efficacy of any regulatory efforts necessary or appropriate to control or reverse them - are not. 5.         Any major regulation of greenhouse gases should be carried out through coordination among the federal government and all the states.   6.         For the Commonwealth to act alone on a matter of this nature would place Virginia and its regulated businesses at a disadvantage with respect to those of other states and would thereby jeopardize Virginia jobs and pose a serious threat to the economy of the state.  7.         Since any program regulating greenhouse gases would have to be carefully designed by DEQ to be enforceable and to produce the results requested, implementation of the Petition will require significant new resources of staff time and money from DEQ. These resources are not currently available and current resources are best used to meet the requirements already in place or on the way.