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Virginia Coastal Program: 2007 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Environmental Law Institute

Project Title:

Assessment for Off-shore Energy Development Impact Readiness:Implementation Evaluation; Air Program and Dunes Protection Routine Program Changes

Project Description as Proposed:

The Virginia CZM Program needs information in order to be prepared for the potential impacts of off-shore energy development activities including, but not limited to activities related to oil & gas, wind, wave, tidal, and biomass energy proposals. The Virginia General Assembly has supported a Coastal Energy Research Consortium to look at many of the technical and science-related issues related to various forms of energy activities. There is currently a need to examine the law & policy framework in place to deal with potential activities, and specifically to determine whether and to what extent Virginia can be made ready to address likely issues related to coastal energy development in advance of major proposals that may require decisions.

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI), through a series of projects, will (1) Identify issues and potential impacts to Virginia's coastal environment from anticipated or unanticipated offshore energy development, (2) Examine and compile existing and proposed policy responses in other selected coastal states confronting these issues, (3) Examine existing Virginia laws and programs to evaluate the extent to which Virginia is prepared to respond to anticipated offshore energy development, and (4) Develop recommendations to improve upon Virginia's existing coastal zone management program and legal framework to address these needs. This project will focus on evaluating current implementation of Virginia's CZM program with regard to managing the potential impacts of various forms of off-shore energy development.

Under this project ELI will also draft program change submissions addressing statutes and regulations of the Virginia CZM program's Air Pollution Control Board authorities (notice for auto-incorporation under Section 307(f) of the CZMA), and Coastal Dunes legislation.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

James McElfish, (202) 939-3840;

Project Status:

Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Virginia Offshore Energy Development - Law and Policy Review and Recommendations: Evaluation of Implementation of Virginia Laws to Address Coastal Impacts of Potential Energy Development Activities (pdf)

Public Notices: Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program - State Air Pollution Control Board Regulations for the Control and Abatement of Air Pollution - Clean Air Act Incorporation and Air Pollution Control Law - Clean Air Act Incorporation (PDF)

Routine Program Change To Commonwealth of Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program: Draft Request for Concurrence - Coastal Primary Sand Dunes and Beaches Code of Virginia Title 28.2, Chapter 14 - December 2008 (pdf)

Should Virginia become a “cooperating agency” in connection with environmental review of Lease Sale 220?: A report by the Environmental Law Institute to the Virginia Coastal Energy Policy Group - December 11, 2008 (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

The Environmental Law Institute prepared recommendations related to potential changes in the implementation of existing Virginia Law to address coastal impacts of potential offshore energy development activities. The results are based on a publication entitled "Virginia Offshore Energy Development" Law and Policy Review and Recommendations for the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program.  The potential implementation changes are summarized in the last chapter of this document. This publication will be available both on the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Website and at  ELI found that Virginia's laws and policies are generally sufficient to address anticipated environmental impacts on a case-by-case basis and are comparable to those of other states; however, Virginia has not adopted policies that affirmatively assist in facilitating review of offshore energy development; and that it could benefit from information gathering and from policies that allow advance identification of areas suitable for offshore energy and transmission facilities, as well as from implementing enforceable policies that reflect Virginia's existing energy plan and other policy objectives.

The Environmental Law Institute reviewed Virginia's air pollution law changes since approval of the Virginia coastal Program in 1986, and prepared a draft notice and supporting materials to support incorporation of these changes into the approved program. The Environmental Law Institute reviewed amendments to Virginia's coastal dune protection legislation, and prepared a draft routine program change with supporting materials for these provisions.

The Environmental Law Institute developed a briefing paper on the pros and cons and implications of Virginia and its state and local agencies becoming a cooperating agency for National Environmental Policy Act purposes in connection with proposed Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas lease sale #220 off the coast of Virginia.

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email:

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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