Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 10.1. Conservation
Chapter 11.1. Department of Environmental Quality

§ 10.1-1186.3. Additional powers of Boards and the Department; mediation; alternative dispute resolution.

A. The State Air Pollution Control Board, the State Water Control Board, and the Virginia Waste Management Board, in their discretion, or the Director, in his discretion, may employ mediation as defined in § 8.01-581.21, or a dispute resolution proceeding as defined in § 8.01-576.4, in appropriate cases to resolve underlying issues, reach a consensus, or compromise on contested issues. An "appropriate case" means any process related to the development of a regulation by the Board or the issuance of a permit by the Department in which it is apparent that there are significant issues of disagreement among interested persons and for which the Board or the Department finds that the use of a mediation or dispute resolution proceeding is in the public interest. The Boards or the Department shall consider not using a mediation or dispute resolution proceeding if:

1. A definitive or authoritative resolution of the matter is required for precedential value, and such a proceeding is not likely to be accepted generally as an authoritative precedent;

2. The matter involves or may bear upon significant questions of state policy that require additional procedures before a final resolution may be made, and such a proceeding would not likely serve to develop a recommended policy for the Department;

3. Maintaining established policies is of special importance, so that variations among individual decisions are not increased and such a proceeding would not likely reach consistent results among individual decisions;

4. The matter significantly affects persons or organizations who are not parties to the proceeding;

5. A full public record of the proceeding is important, and a mediation or dispute resolution proceeding cannot provide such a record; and

6. The Board or the Department must maintain continuing jurisdiction over the matter with the authority to alter the disposition of the matter in light of changed circumstances, and a mediation or dispute resolution proceeding would interfere with the Department or the Board's fulfilling that requirement.

Mediation and alternative dispute resolution as authorized by this section are voluntary procedures which supplement rather than limit other dispute resolution techniques available to the Boards or the Department. Mediation or a dispute resolution proceeding may be employed in the issuance of a permit only with the consent and participation of the permit applicant and shall be terminated at the request of the permit applicant.

B. The decision to employ mediation or a dispute resolution proceeding is in a Board's or the Department's sole discretion and is not subject to judicial review.

C. The outcome of any mediation or dispute resolution proceeding shall not be binding upon a Board or the Department, but may be considered by the Department in issuing a permit or by a Board in promulgating a regulation.

D. Each Board and the Department shall adopt rules and regulations, in accordance with the Administrative Process Act, for the implementation of this section. Such rules and regulations shall include (i) standards and procedures for the conduct of mediation and dispute resolution, including an opportunity for interested persons identified by the Department to participate in the proceeding; (ii) the appointment and function of a neutral, as defined in § 8.01-576.4, to encourage and assist parties to voluntarily compromise or settle contested issues; and (iii) procedures to protect the confidentiality of papers, work product or other materials.

E. The provisions of § 8.01-576.10 concerning the confidentiality of a mediation or dispute resolution proceeding shall govern all such proceedings held pursuant to this section except where the Department or a Board uses or relies on information obtained in the course of such proceeding in issuing a permit or promulgating a regulation, respectively.

Nothing in this section shall create or alter any right, action or cause of action, or be interpreted or applied in a manner inconsistent with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), with applicable federal law or with any applicable requirement for the Commonwealth to obtain or maintain federal delegation or approval of any regulatory program.

1997, cc. 645, 667; 2022, c. 356.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.