2020 Virginia Environmental Health & Safety Conference

18th Annual Virginia Environmental Health & Safety Conference (VEHS)

Live, from your office!

September 22-25

New, Lower Member Price: $100

Non-members can register for $150!

Mark your calendar!  The Virginia Environmental Health & Safety (VEHS) Conference is the VMA’s premiere event of the year where Virginia industry environmental leaders, regulators, legislators and allies join together for sharing information, best practices and technology.  Participants also explore the affordability and sustainability of regulations on the Virginia economy. The 2020 VEHS Conference will be held from Tuesday, September 22nd, to Friday, September 25th. This event will be held virtually! Check out the program below to see what’s ahead:

Tuesday, September 22

9am – 10am: COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS): VMA Compliance Advocacy, Training & Lessons Learned

Moderator: Brett Vassey, President & CEO, VMA

Panel: Rena Parker, Safety Consultant, DuPont; Courtney Malveaux, Esq., Jackson Lewis LLC

No issue has dominated the news and impacted businesses more in 2020 like the Coronavirus pandemic. This panel will address lessons learned, best practices, training, compliance and preparations for a permanent COVID-19 workplace regulation.

10:30am – 11:45am: The Impact of Natural Gas on Virginia Business, Citizens & the Environment

Moderator: Brett Vassey, President & CEO, VMA

Panel: Robert Duvall, President, Virginia Natural Gas; Brent Archer, President, Columbia Gas; David Holt, Consumer Energy Alliance

The panel will discuss the impact on Virginia from the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, and environmental NGO efforts to stop the development and use of natural gas as a fuel, home heating/hot water source, industrial raw material, and chemical industry feedstock.

12pm – 12:45pm: VMA Safety Awards Presentation

Presenter: Dr. Victor Gray, Executive Director, MSI

Dr. Gray will present 2020 VMA Safety Awards to manufacturing contractors who achieved excellent safety records and demonstrated excellence in Industrial Safety Readiness Certificate training.

1pm – 1:45pm: Emerging Issues in Industrial Water Supply and Wastewater

Presenters: Peter Capponi, Nort Fogel & Kristen Jenkins, GHD

This session will explore the benefits/considerations of COVID-19 wastewater testing for large facilities, success in PFAS wastewater treatment and economic benefits of water reuse strategies.

Wednesday, September 23

9am – 10am: Environmental Justice 2020

Moderator: Mandy Tornabene, Dominion Energy

Presentors: Andrea Wortzel, Brooks Smith & Patrick Fanning, Troutman Pepper

DEQ is in the midst of a study about how environmental justice can be better integrated into its programs. Additionally, numerous bills were passed during the 2020 General Assembly focused on environmental justice and the Fourth Circuit has issued a decision discussing how environmental justice is addressed in Virginia’s air permitting program. This presentation will review the history of environmental justice at the federal level, and the changes we may see in Virginia resulting from the 2020 legislation, case law and the DEQ study.

11:30am – 12:30pm: Women in the Environment: The Importance of Mentorship

Moderator: Jordan Oligmueller, WiM Virginia Chair, Advansix
Panel: Jana Gessner, PepsiCo; Alyssa Hamill, Smithfield Foods

Closing the gender gap in the industrial workforce is a strategic objective of the VMA, WiM-Virginia, and organizations around the globe. This panel will discuss opportunities in the EH&S field for mentoring and developing female talent.

1pm – 3pm: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Regulatory Briefing

Moderators: Brooks Smith, Esq., Troutman Pepper; Liz Williamson, Esq., Williams Mullen

DEQ Panel: Mike Dowd, Director – Air and Renewable Energy Division; Jutta Schneider, Water Planning Division Director; Jeffery Steers, Director – Central Operations; Melanie Davenport, Director – Water Permitting Division; and Tiffany Severs, Director – Enforcement

This annual briefing by the DEQ is a favorite for conference attendees as a “one-stop shop” for updates on pending and proposed regulations of air, water, waste, climate change, land use and permit practices. Topics include:

  • Hazardous Substance Aboveground Storage Tank Fund
  • Advanced Recycling, Plastics Circular Economy Goals, VA Plastic Waste Prevention Advisory Council & VA Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force
  • Reforming Citizen Boards
  • WQMP & James River Chlorophyll-a Proceedings Update
  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Regulation (RGGI) – Impact on Permitting and Implementation Process • Environmental Justice – Skeo Report and Recommendations
  • New Air Regulations or Initiatives in 2021 that Impact Manufacturing Sector
  • PFAS Assessment of Sources
  • Hazardous Waste Site Inventory
  • Discharge of deleterious substance into state waters notice
  • EPA Issues: WOTUS, 401 Certification Rule, MSGP, Impending Lead and Copper Rule
  • Impacts of COVID-19 on Enforcement & Compliance
  • New Public Engagement Priorities

Thursday, September 24

9am – 10:30am: Virginia Occupational Safety & Health (VOSH) Regulatory Workshop: Best Management Practices, Case Studies & Technology

Agency Speakers: Ray Davenport (Commissioner), Jay Withrow (Director of Legal Support, ORA, OPP, OPPI, and OWP), Ron Graham (VOSH Health Program Director), Marta Fernandes (VOSH Safety Program Manager), Jennifer Rose (Cooperative Programs Director), and Princy Doss (Director of Policy, Planning, and Public Information)

This workshop with the leadership of the Virginia Department of Labor & Industry (VDOLI) focuses on occupational safety & health matters and how employers can advance their programs. Agency leadership will lead a discussion and take questions from conference attendees. This is a great opportunity to engage VDOLI directly.

  • VA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)
  • VA COVID-1- ETS Compliance Impact on Contractors
  • VA COVID-19 ETS Enforcement
  • VA COVID-19 Permanent Regulation (Draft)
  • Reforming citizen boards – requiring public participation
  • Lock-out/Tag-out – regulation limitations with robotic systems
  • Heat-related illness prevention & regulation
  • Voluntary compliance assistance

11am – 12:30pm: Environmental Compliance: Best Practices in a COVID Pandemic

Moderator: Jim Taylor, VMA EHS&S Committee Chair, Westrock

Panel: Russell Bailey, Trinity Consultants; Michelle Mayfield, AECOM; Ann Marie Gathright, Environmental Standards

Given restrictions on travel, social distancing requirements, and tightening budgets, corporate Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Managers are turning to virtual audits and alternative methods to meet compliance obligations. This session will explore the pros and cons of virtual auditing and the criticality of working closely and flexibly with regulators during the COVID-19 crisis.

1pm-2pm: How Will Climate Change Initiatives Impact Manufacturers?

Speakers: Jay Holloway, Esq., Williams Mullen

Climate initiatives are pushing air regulatory requirements to reduce greenhouse gases, force commitments to renewable energy, and cause additional scrutiny of air permits.  Tools to push climate agendas include development of new greenhouse gas regulations through the Air Board, the Air Board’s new public engagement initiative, new laws coming out of the General Assembly, federal regulatory action, and eNGO litigation.  We will discuss the ways in which this initiative will impact manufacturers in the near future and discuss how manufacturers could plan for these changes.

Friday, September 25

9am – 10am: Plastic Packaging, Circular Economy Goals & Advanced Recycling/Pyrolysis/Solvolysis/Gasification Solutions

This session will center around the ongoing public debate about plastic packaging waste, plastic litter, the politics of banning plastics, and advanced recycling technology solutions to this dilemma. Braven and Eastman are pioneers in this technology and will discuss their technology solutions that are leading the industry.

11:30am – 12:30pm: Hazardous Substance Aboveground Storage Tank Regulation/Tax and the Impact on Industry

Panel:  Andrew Parker, Advansix; Brett Vassey, VMA

This session will explore the estimated $1 billion economic impact and alternatives to the James River Foundation and University of Richmond’s proposed Virginia House Bill HB1192 – Hazardous Substance Aboveground Storage Tank Regulation and Tax. The panel will review the research that propagated the bill, the legislative interests in a new tax on all industrial tanks of greater than 1,320 gallons, and the additional regulations ranging from secondary containment to annual inspections that were proposed in the 2020 General Assembly session along with the compromise promoted by the VMA. Check out this Bulletin & Alert discussing Virginia SB626/HB1192 – Aboveground Chemical Storage Tanks for a primer on this panel.



Platinum Sponsors


Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors


Bronze Sponsors


Break Sponsors:

  • Appalachian Power
  • SW Funk Industrial
  • One Environmental Group
  • ODEC