H. B. 2524

(By Delegates Riggs, Ashley and Rowe)
(Introduced February 16, 1995; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.)

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 site specific water quality standards for coal re-mining operations.

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:
§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 the surface waters and groundwaters of this state: Provided, That the board may establish alternative rulemaking procedures for granting a variance from numeric water quality standards of pH, iron, or manganese for remined areas of coal remining operations. "Coal remining operations" means coal mining operations which began after the fourth day of February, one thousand nine hundred eighty- seven, at sites on which coal mining was conducted before the third day of August, one thousand nine hundred ninety-seven. The board will grant or deny such a variance to the standards in accordance with procedures which will be incorporated in the board's procedural regulations for the revision of water quality standards (46-CSR-6) on or before the first day of June, one thousand nine hundred ninety-five. At a minimum, the procedures for granting or denying a remining variance will describe the data and information to be submitted to the board by the applicant for such variance, will include criteria employed by the board in its decision, and provide 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 operations. The board may not grant a variance where the board determines that degradation of the instream water quality will result from the remining operation.
(b) 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 waters for domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational, scenic and other legitimate beneficial uses thereof.
(c) 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.
(d) Except for the alternative procedures provided for in subsection (a) of this section, the board shall promulgate such 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.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the environmental quality board to adopt alternative 1procedures to the rule-making provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of the code setting site specific water quality standards for coal remining operations.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.