Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Natural and Historic Resources
Department of Environmental Quality
Air Pollution Control Board
Petition 104
Petition Information
Petition Title ELF Magnetic Fields - Petition for Rulemaking
Date Filed 3/26/2010    [Transmittal Sheet]
Petitioner Kenneth C. Strong 
Petitioner's Request


The State Air Pollution Control Board has received a petition to promulgate a new regulation concerning ELF magnetic fields around outdoor overhead high-voltage electric power transmission lines. The petitioner states that an overhead high-voltage electric power transmission line conductor is a substance in the outdoor atmosphere which is or may be harmful to public health because of, but not limited to, the alternating motion of the conductor's electrons which establish an ELF magnetic field around the conductor. The petitioner asserts that ELF magnetic fields are possibly carcinogenic to humans, that a reasonable precaution against exposures to the magnetic fields is necessary and practices that encourage proximity to overhead transmission lines should be discouraged. 
The specific requested regulation is: For any outdoor overhead electric power transmission line 115 kilovolts or more, the owners of underlying real property and the transmission line Company shall not grant permission for public recreational trails or public recreational areas within the Company's right-of-way or within an area typical of Company right-of-ways should no legal right-of-way agreement exist, except that necessary crossings are exempt from the rule. 


A copy of the full petition is available from Ms. Karen G. Sabasteanski, Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main Street, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218, ph: 804-698-4426, fax: 804-698-4510, e-mail:

Agency's Plan

In accordance with the Board's public participation guidelines, the Board will take public comment on the petition from April 26, 2010 through May 17, 2010.

Comment Period Ended 5/17/2010
Agency Decision Take no action [Transmittal Sheet]    
Response Date 6/4/2010
Agency Decision Summary

At the State Air Pollution Control Board meeting on June 4, 2010, the Board unanimously voted to deny the petitioner's request for rulemaking.  The Board's decision was based on the following: 

1. Neither high-voltage electric power transmission lines nor the ELF magnetic fields generated by them are either a source of air pollutants or air pollutants in and of themselves. The board is restricted by statute to regulating air pollutants; it cannot regulate phenomena such as those identified by the petitioner.

2. The board has the authority to control pollutants emitted from a variety of sources; the board does not have the authority to control land use in proximity to a specific air pollution source. Such siting criteria and zoning issues are governed by other governmental agencies.

3. The State Corporation Commission is the entity responsible for approval of siting for electric power transmission lines. The board has no authority with respect to approval or regulation of siting for power lines.

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