The 1999 session of the Commonwealth of Virginia's General Assembly passed
legislation prohibiting the transportation
of solid waste on the Commonwealth's navigable waterways. State Senator William T. Bolling (R) introduced Senate Bill 1308 in response to the volume of solid waste transported to Virginia for disposal, as well as the possibility that New York City will seek to increase this volume because existing city landfills are scheduled to close by 2001.
Senate Bill 1308 and House Bill 2556 will be referred to a committee to reconcile their different definitions of "non-hazardous solid waste" and the specific waterways in the legislation. Once reconciled, it is anticipated Governor James Gilmore (R) will sign the legislation into law.
The passing of the legislation was not met with approval from all stakeholders. AWO President Tom Allegretti said, "According to government analysis, the tug and barge industry offers the safest and most energy- and cost-effective means of transporting bulk products. We regret the Commonwealth has embraced the rather draconian measure of banning barges to address the state's concerns about the volume of solid waste being transported into the state.
"No review of the tug and barge industry's operations and safety measures could lead any impartial observer to the conclusion banning barges from transporting solid waste will result in environmental benefit to the residents of the Commonwealth," he said.