The Virginia Board of Soil and Water Conservation has again tabled new statewide regulations designed to reduce the amount of nutrients entering the Chesapeake Bay from polluted stormwater runoff.
The regulations, as written, would require a more aggressive use of techniques that capture and reuse stormwater on new development sites. They would also require all Virginia cities, towns and counties to create stormwater management programs, or have the state do it for them.
The regulations have been passed and tabled twice within the last four months in response to continuing objections from the development community. Developers and builders say that the regulations are complex and the costs to meet the requirements would be passed on to consumers during a trying economic time.
Bills before the Virginia legislature also propose delaying the regulations for a year or two, or until the EPA develops its own rules for stormwater.
The Virginia board first passed the regulations in November but immediately tabled them for an additional 30-day comment period. In December, the board again passed the regulations, with a revision to maintain rather than reduce the current limit for phosphorus levels in stormwater runoff.
Outgoing Gov. Timothy Kaine signed the regulations.
The board suspended the rules again in January as petitions from the development community continue. A new round of public comments begins in February.
Any version that results-affirming or revising the current language-will require approval from incoming Gov. Bob McDonnell.