Senate Bill No. 287
(By Senators Wooton and Love)
[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;
reported March 1, 1995.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section four, article three, chapter
twenty-two-b of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to the
environmental quality board; rule-making authority;
authorizing the promulgation of rules granting site specific
variances for water quality standards for coal remining
operations; definitions; procedures for granting of
variances; public comment; and public hearing.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section four, article three, chapter twenty-two-b of
the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one,
as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY BOARD.
§22B-3-4. Environmental quality board rule-making authority.
(a) In order to carry out the purposes of this chapter and
chapter twenty-two of this code, the board shall promulgate legislative rules setting standards of water quality applicable
to both the surface waters and groundwaters of this state.
Standards of quality with respect to surface waters shall be such
as to protect the public health and welfare, wildlife, fish and
aquatic life, and the present and prospective future uses of such
water for domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational,
scenic and other legitimate beneficial uses thereof.
(b) Except for the alternate procedures provided for in
subsection (c) of this section, the board shall promulgate
legislative rules setting water quality standards in accordance
with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of
this code and the declaration of policy set forth in section two,
article eleven, chapter twenty-two of this code.
(c) The board may grant site specific variance only for remined
areas of coal remining operation from the standards of water
quality set forth in legislative rule 46-CSR-1, et seq., setting
standards for iron manganese and pH prior to the issuance of a
national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit by
the division of environmental protection in accordance with 33
USC Section 1311 of the federal Water Pollution Control Act. The
standards established in the variance will exist for the term of
the NPDES permit. The board will promulgate procedural rules on
granting site specific coal remining variances in accordance with
the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this
code on or before the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-five. At a minimum, the procedures for granting
or denying a remining variance will include the following: A
description of the data and information to be submitted to the
board by the applicant for such variance; the criteria to be
employed by the board in its decision; and provisions for a
public comment period and public hearing on the board's decision.
The board may not grant a variance without a demonstration by the
applicant that the coal remining operation will result in the
potential for improved instream water quality as a result of the
remining operation. The board may not grant a variance where the
board determines that degradation of the instream water quality
will result from the remining operation.
(d) No rule of the board may specify the design of
equipment, type of construction or particular method which a
person shall use to reduce the discharge of a pollutant.