H. B. 2524
(By Delegates Riggs, Ashley and Rowe)
(Introduced January 10, 1996; 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
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