The Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality (“MCEQ”) convened at 9:00 a.m., on November 15, 2019, at the offices of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality in Jackson. The Commission approved minutes from the previous meeting held on August 22, 2019. Following a prepared agenda, items considered were as follows:
Establishment of the Lignite Mining Fee for Liberty Fuels Company, LLC for the Liberty Mine in Kemper County for State Fiscal Year 2020;
Establishment of the Lignite Fee for the Mississippi Lignite Mining Company for the Red Hills Mine in Choctaw County for State Fiscal Year 2020;
Establishment of the Lignite Fee for the Mississippi Lignite Mining Company for the Red Hills Mine Area 3 in Choctaw County for State Fiscal Year 2020
MDEQ Staff recommended and the Commission approved that (1) the Liberty Fuels Company, LLC Lignite Mining Fee for the 2020 state fiscal year be set at $125,000, which is the same as for state fiscal year 2019; (2) the Mississippi Lignite Mining Company Lignite Mining Fee for the 2020 state fiscal year be set at $125,000, which is a decrease of $50,000 from the fee for state fiscal year 2019; and (3) a new Lignite Mining Fee of $50,000 for the proposed Mississippi Lignite Mining Company, Red Hills Mine Area. This fee is necessary to cover the additional staff resources/costs associated with an application review related to a new surface coal mining application. These amounts will cover approximately 50% of the anticipated costs of administering the federally-approved coal mining program in Mississippi; the remaining approximately 50% of the cost will be covered by a federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (“OSMRE”) grant. These fees will cover 100% of the anticipated cost of administering the program above the amount of the federal OSMRE grant.
Commission Approval of Brownfield Agreement
MDEQ Staff recommended and the Commission approved the Brownfield Agreement between the Commission and Everest, LLC regarding the remediation of brownfield property located at 800 Central Street in Water Valley, Mississippi. The administrative record for this environmental response project is referred to as the former Water Valley Manufacturing site. The proposed Brownfield Agreement Site previously operated as a textile manufacturer. Assessments have detected the presence of chlorinated solvents in the groundwater beneath the site and asbestos containing material within onsite structures. Therefore, remediation of the proposed Brownfield Agreement Site is necessary. The proposed use of the Site after completion of all remediation will be a school as an expansion site for the Base Camp Coding Academy. The staff of the MDEQ has evaluated the Brownfield Agreement and believes that, with the conditions and restrictions contained within the Brownfield Agreement, the Site will be in compliance with applicable State and Federal laws and standards and will be protective of the public health and the environment.
Triennial Review of Mississippi’s Water Quality Standards (WQS): Revising Waterbody Classifications for Mississippi’s Surface Waters
MDEQ Staff provided an overview of the three new proposed waterbody classifications. Waterbody classifications are one of the required components within the state’s WQS regulations. These classifications describe the goals or expectations of a waterbody based on how that waterbody is used. Mississippi’s current waterbody classifications include Fish and Wildlife Support, Recreation, Public Water Supply, Shellfish Harvesting, and Ephemeral Waters. In an effort to more accurately characterize the waterbodies within the State of Mississippi, three additional classifications have been developed for addition to the state’s WQS as part of the current triennial review. They are (1) Fish and Wildlife Modified; (2) Drainage Waters; and (3) Outstanding Mississippi Waters. The addition of these new proposed classifications will allow MDEQ to more accurately categorize our state waters and set appropriate goals for restoration and/or protection of these resources. The next steps include a comment period beginning in January with a public hearing to be held after the comment period has ended. This will then be submitted to EPA after the required comment period, public hearing and Commission approval. This agenda item was presented for informational purposes only.
Modification of Hinds County Solid Waste Management Plan
The Commission’s designated Hearing Officer, Doug Levanway presented his Recommendations related to the evidentiary hearing which was held on September 19, 2019, regarding a challenge to Commission Order No. 6772-17 to approve the modification of the Hinds County Solid Waste Management Plan to allow for the expansion of the Faircloth Class I Rubbish Site. The evidentiary hearing was held along with a Motion hearing which was held on September 16, 2019. Pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. Section 49-17-33, the Hearing Officer has the authority to conduct the hearings in the name of the Commission and provide findings of fact and a recommended decision for the Commission’s consideration at the Commission meeting. At the evidentiary hearing, MDEQ staff recommended that Commission Order No. 6772-17 be affirmed. In his findings and recommended decision, the Hearing Officer recommended that the Commission affirm the Order which approves the modification of the Hinds County Solid Waste Management Plan allowing for the expansion of the Faircloth Class I Rubbish Site by an additional 26.55 acres. The Commission affirmed the final decision in this matter after reviewing the provided record which includes the Petition for Hearing, the transcript of the Motion Hearing, the transcript of the Evidentiary Hearing, exhibits to the transcripts, Motions to Intervene, Motions in Limine, Responses to Motions, witness lists, and the Hearing Officer’s Findings of Fact and Recommended Decision. Petitioner Bill Moore and the intervenors (Hinds County and Faircloth Rubbish Landfill, Inc.) were invited to attend the meeting on November 15, 2019, but the record in this matter is closed.
Certifications Approved since the last report
|Asbestos Certifications||516 certifications|
|Lead Paint Certifications||286 certifications|
|Underground Storage Tanks (UST) Certifications||19 certifications to those who install, alter, or remove underground storage tanks|
|Wastewater Operator Certifications||126|
|Emergency Clean-Up Expenses||19|
45 Administrative Orders and 2 Amended Agreed Orders were issued since the last report, and they will added to the minutes.
OTHER BUSINESS – Gary Rikard, MDEQ Executive Director noted that the next Commission meeting is scheduled for December 26, 2019. Although the Commission approved that date, it is likely that the Commission will not meet on that date.
This Newsletter is a publication of the Environmental Department of the law firm of Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes located in Jackson, Mississippi. This Newsletter is not designed or intended to provide legal or professional advice, as any such advice requires the consideration of the facts of the specific situation.
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