Responding to the Freedom Industries chemical spill
With two hours remaining in this year’s legislative session, the legislature passed SB 373.
Yesterday, the Senate had agreed to the bill passed on Thursday by the House – but with one change. The Senate eliminated the amendment introduced Thursday by Delegate Marcum to exempt a large chunk of industry from having to pay fees to cover the cost of the new regulations created by the bill. If the bill had passed with the Marcum amendment, then Freedom Industries itself (if it were still operating) would not have had to pay the fees. (The Marcum amendment exempted facilities holding an individual NPDES Clean Water Act permit from paying fees – and the bill now requires facilities, like Freedom, in the zone of critical concern of a drinking water intake to hold individual NPDES permits). As the DailyMail put it on Friday, the poorly worded Marcum amendment “exempted the oil and gas industry — and potentially every facility mentioned in the bill – from having to pay fees outlined in the measure.”
Tonight, the House agreed to the Senate’s change. SB 373 has been passed without Marcum’s amendment. Stay tuned – over the next several days, we will be posting more detailed breakdowns of different aspects of the bill.