Public hearing on Aboveground Storage Tank Act rollback – Friday

There will be a public hearing this Friday, March 6th at 8:30am in the House of Delegates Chamber on Senate Bill 423 – the bill to roll back last year’s Aboveground Storage Tank Act. As I posted last week, Senate Bill 423 has been amended since it was originally introduced. The amended bill still significantly weakens the Aboveground Storage Tank Act passed in response to the water crisis.

Last year, we were able to pass strong legislation because of the action of hundreds of people who sent emails, made phone calls, and showed up at the legislature. Come out on Friday to tell the legislature not to roll back the progress made last year.

Anyone can sign up to speak at the hearing. Here are some tips:

  • Get to the House Chamber 10-15 min. early and sign up to speak
  • Prepare to only have about 1-2 minutes to speak.
  • You can bring a copy of your comments to submit for the record. You can also bring friends’ written comments and submit them on their behalf.

And here are some suggested talking points:

  • Senate Bill 423 exempts 12,000 tanks that are within 1,000 feet of surface water. These tanks should be added back into the regulations.
  • SB 423 rolls back inspection requirements. Self-inspections should occur at least annually by qualified personnel. Tanks close to water intakes need to be inspected by DEP annually.
  • SB 423 rolls back Spill Prevention and Response Plan requirements. These plans need to be submitted to DEP and updated every 3 years, and must include info on stored chemicals.
  • SB 423 rolls back permit requirements. Individual permits for tanks closest to drinking water intakes should be required.
  • SB 423 needs to explicitly require that modifications to existing permits or plans be as stringent as the standards in the Act so as not to create a loophole in regulation of tanks.
  • SB 423 creates new restrictions on disclosure of information that could prevent water utilities from being aware of threats to the water system. Information about the location and contents of tanks, including data on stored chemicals, needs to be shared with water utilities.
  • SB 423 needs to incorporate the rules already developed by the Department of Environmental Protection. Otherwise another year will go by without any aboveground storage tank regulations in place.

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