The Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality convened at 9:00 a.m. on May 25, 2017, at the offices of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality in Jackson. The Commission approved minutes from the previous meeting held on February 23, 2017. Following a prepared agenda, items considered were as follows:
Commission Approval of Brownfield Agreement
The staff recommended and the Commission approved the Brownfield Agreement between the Commission and WALM Properties, LLP regarding the remediation of brownfield property located at 1140 Industrial Access Road in West Point, Mississippi. The administrative record for this environmental response project is referred to as the Big Yank Building site. The impacted area is centered around a former chemical storage shed located in the southwest portion of the property. Assessments revealed the extent of contamination in the groundwater and soil at levels in excess of the Target Remediation Goals. Therefore, remediation of the Brownfield Agreement Site is necessary. The proposed use of the Site after completion of all remediation will be an administrative office and staging area for a transportation business based out of West Point, MS. 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.
Commission Approval of Brownfield Obligation Transfer
On June 1, 2012, the Commission reached a Brownfield Agreement (#6130-12) with NCI Building Systems, Inc. for the remediation of the CECO Building Systems facility in Columbus, Mississippi. In accordance with Rule 2.1.5.C of Part 3, Chapter 2: Final Regulations Governing Brownfield Voluntary Cleanup and Redevelopment in Mississippi, NCI Building Systems, Inc. and Grandview Investments, LLC jointly have provided a petition to the MCEQ that Grandview Investments, LLC has the financial, managerial, and technical resources to complete performance of the Brownfield Agreement obligations and agrees to complete this performance. The staff of the MDEQ reviewed the petition recommended that the Commission issue an order in accordance with the Brownfield Regulations approving the transfer of those obligations in Brownfield Agreement #6130-12 from NCI Building Systems, Inc. to Grandview Investments, LLC. CECO Building Systems continues to operate in the space, and will continue to operate in the space, leasing the land and building from Grandview Investments, LLC. Based on Staff recommendation, the Commission approved the Brownfield Obligation Transfer.
Commission Rescind Brownfield Agreement and Accompanying Environmental Covenant- Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust-Pascagoula, Jackson County
In the November 10, 2016 Commission Meeting, the staff presented the request from Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust to rescind Brownfield Agreement Order Number 6661 16. The Commission voted to table consideration of this matter until the next Commission meeting. Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust and the property owner, Estabrook Toyota, have been in negotiations since that time to finalize corrective action alternatives for the property prior to rescinding the Brownfield Agreement. The staff of the MDEQ evaluated the request to rescind the Brownfield Agreement Order and recommended that, in accordance with applicable State laws and standards, Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust is not responsible for remediation of the petroleum related contaminants in the groundwater and soil. Staff recommended the Commission rescind Brownfield Agreement Order Number 6661 16 between MDEQ and Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust and the accompanying Environmental Covenant. Based on Staff recommendation, the Commission rescinded the Brownfield Agreement Order.
Serenity Lane, Pearl River County – Evidentiary Hearing held on October 17 and 18, 2016 – Hearing Officer’s Proposed Findings and Recommendations for Commission’s Consideration
The Commission’s designated Hearing Officer, Frank Spencer, presented his proposed Findings and Recommendations related to the Serenity Lane Evidentiary Hearing, which was held on October 17 and 18, 2016. The Commission was provided electronic access to the record of this matter, which is an exhaustion of administrative remedies case. The records include the transcript of the evidentiary hearing; exhibits submitted by the Petitioners (Residents of Serenity Lane Subdivision), MDEQ staff, and the Intervenors (Fort James Corporation); and previous Findings and Recommendations and Orders entered by the Hearing Officers. Additionally, the Commission members were provided with Hearing Officer Spencer’s proposed Findings and Recommendations following the evidentiary hearing. These documents were provided to allow the Commission time to review them in advance of the Commission meeting.
Establishment of the Lignite Mining Fee for Liberty Fuels Company, LLC for the Liberty Mine in Kemper County for State Fiscal Year 2018;
Establishment of the Lignite Fee for the Mississippi Lignite Mining Company for the Red Hills Mine in Choctaw County for State Fiscal Year 2018
The Staff recommend and the Commission approved that the Liberty Fuels Company, LLC Lignite Mining Fee for the 2018 state fiscal year be set at $125,000, which is the same as for state fiscal year 2017. Staff recommended and the Commission approved that the Mississippi Lignite Mining Company Lignite Mining Fee for the 2018 state fiscal year be set at $125,000, which is the same as for state fiscal year 2017. This amount 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 grant. These fees will cover 100% of the anticipated cost of administering the program above the amount of the federal OSMRE grant. Staff will recommend that the Commission delegate the authority to sign the Orders to the Executive Director.
Update Commission on the Volkswagen Settlement
Lisa Ouzts, Senior Attorney with MDEQ, updated the Commission on the Volkswagen Settlement. Pursuant to a settlement agreement with the U.S. government, Volkswagen will fund an Environmental Mitigation Trust (the “Mitigation Trust”) to fund projects that will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by upgrading aging diesel-powered vehicles. Wilmington Trust has been appointed Trustee for the Mitigation Trust and will work with the various parties to finalize the trust agreement which will require approval by the court. Once the Mitigation Trust’s effective date has been established, the ball will start rolling on deadlines; however this date has not been accepted yet. It is expected that Governor Bryant will appoint MDEQ as the lead agency for Mississippi, and MDEQ is currently working on a website to accept suggestions and funding requests; however, the website is not “live” at this time.
Asbestos: 332 certifications
Lead Paint: 163 certifications
Underground Storage Tanks: 32 certifications
Wastewater Operator: 162 certifications
EMERGENCY CLEAN-UP EXPENSES
There were 16 emergency expenditures since the last report.
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS APPROVED
Thirty five (35) Administrative Orders and three (3) Amended Agreed Orders were issued by the Executive Director and approved by the Commission since the last report.
OTHER BUSINESS – None
The next Commission meeting will be held on June 22, 2017, at 9 a.m.