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Gov. Northam Declares State of Emergency Due to Severe Weather Conditions

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Press Release from Governor Ralph Northam:

Importance of the Issue

On this date, March 2, 2018, I am declaring a state of emergency to exist for the Commonwealth of Virginia based on the severe weather event.

The health and general welfare of the citizens require state action to help alleviate the conditions caused by this situation. The effects of this situation constitute a disaster wherein human life and public and private property are, or are likely to be, imperiled, as described in § 44-146.16 of the Code of Virginia.

Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia, as Governor and as Director of Emergency Management, and by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article V, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia and by § 44-75.1 of the Code of Virginia, as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Commonwealth, and subject always to my continuing and ultimate authority and responsibility to act in such matters, I hereby proclaim a state of emergency. Accordingly, I direct state and local government agencies to render appropriate assistance, to prepare for potential severe weather impacts, to alleviate any conditions resulting from the situation, and to implement recovery and mitigation operations and activities so as to return impacted areas to pre-event conditions as much as possible.

In order to marshal all public resources and appropriate preparedness, response, and recovery measures to meet this threat and recover from its effects, and in accordance with my authority contained in § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia, I hereby order the following measures:

A. Implementation by state agencies of the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan (COVEOP), as amended, along with other appropriate state plans.

B. Activation of the Virginia Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) and the Virginia Emergency Support Team (VEST), as directed by the State Coordinator of Emergency Management, to coordinate the provision of assistance to local governments and emergency services assignments of other agencies as necessary and determined by the State Coordinator of Emergency Management and other agencies as appropriate.

C. Provision of appropriate assistance, including temporary assignments of non-essential state employees to the Adjunct Emergency Workforce, be rendered by agencies of state government to respond to this situation.

D. Evacuation of areas threatened or stricken by effects of the severe weather, as appropriate. Pursuant to § 44-146.17(1) of the Code of Virginia, I reserve the right to direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the populace therein from such areas and upon such timetable as the local governing body, in coordination with the VEOC, acting on behalf of the State Coordinator of Emergency Management, shall determine. I authorize the control of ingress and egress at an emergency area, including the movement of persons within the area and the occupancy of premises therein upon such timetable as the local governing body, in coordination with the State Coordinator of Emergency Management and the VEOC, shall determine. Violations of any order to citizens to evacuate shall constitute a violation of this Executive Order and are punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

E. Activation, implementation, and coordination of appropriate mutual aid agreements and compacts, including the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), and the authorization of the State Coordinator of Emergency Management to enter into any other supplemental agreements, pursuant to § 44-146.17(5) and § 44-146.28:1 of the Code of Virginia. The State Coordinator of Emergency Management is hereby designated as Virginia’s authorized representative within the meaning of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, § 44-146.28:1 of the Code of Virginia.

F. This Emergency Declaration implements limited relief from the provisions 49 CFR §§390.23 and 395.3 for purpose of providing direct relief or assistance as a result of this disaster.

G. Authorization of the Department of Emergency Management, Departments of State Police, Transportation, and Motor Vehicles to grant temporary overweight, over width, registration, license, or hours of service exemptions to all carriers transporting essential emergency relief supplies to, through, and from any area of the Commonwealth. This Declaration is also intended to satisfy the federal commercial motor vehicle requirements of 49 CFR § 390.23, which provides any motor carrier or driver operating a commercial motor vehicle emergency relief from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Title 49, CFR). The exemption shall not exceed the duration of the motor carrier’s or driver’s direct assistance in providing emergency relief, or 14 days from the initial declaration of emergency, whichever is less.

Implementation and discontinuance of the transportation related provisions authorized above shall be disseminated by the publication of administrative notice to all affected and interested parties. I hereby delegate to the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, after consultation with other affected Cabinet Secretaries, the authority to implement and disseminate this Order as set forth in § 2.2-104 of the Code of Virginia.

H. Authorization of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services to grant a temporary waiver of the maximum vapor pressure prescribed in regulation 2 VAC 5-425 et seq., and to prescribe a vapor pressure limit the Commissioner deems reasonable. The temporary waiver shall remain in effect until emergency relief is no longer necessary, as determined by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

I. Authorization of appropriate oversight boards, commissions, and agencies to waive and/or ease building code restrictions, permitting requirements, and to allow for emergency demolition, hazardous waste disposal, debris removal, emergency landfill sitting, and other operations and activities necessary to address immediate health and safety needs without regard to time-consuming procedures or formalities and without regard to application or permit fees or royalties. All appropriate executive branch agencies are to exercise their discretion to the extent allowed by law to address any pending deadlines or expirations affected by or attributable to this emergency event.

J. I hereby authorize the heads of executive branch agencies, acting when appropriate on behalf of their regulatory boards, to waive any state requirements or regulation for which the federal government has issued a waiver of the corresponding federal or state regulation based on the impact of events related to this situation.

K. Activation of the statutory provisions in § 59.1-525 et seq. of the Code of Virginia related to price gouging.

L. Authorization of a maximum of $250,000 in state sum sufficient funds for state and local government’s mission assignments authorized and coordinated through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management that are allowable as defined by The Stafford Act. 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. This funding is also available for state response and recovery operations and incident documentation.

M. Implementation by public agencies under my supervision and control of their emergency assignments as directed in the COVEOP without regard to normal procedures pertaining to performance of public work, entering into contracts, incurring of obligations or other logistical and support measures of the Emergency Services and Disaster Laws, as provided in § 44-146.28(b) of the Code of Virginia. Section 44-146.24 of the Code of Virginia also applies to the disaster activities of state agencies.

N. During this declared emergency, any person who holds a license, certificate, or other permit issued by any U.S. territory, state, or political subdivision thereof, evidencing the meeting of qualifications for professional, mechanical, or other skills, the person, without compensation other than reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses, may render aid involving that skill in the Commonwealth during a disaster, and such person shall not be liable for negligently causing the death of, or injury to, any person or for the loss of, or damage to, the property of any person resulting from such service as set forth in Code of Virginia § 44-146.23(C). Additionally, members and personnel of volunteer, professional, auxiliary, and reserve groups identified and tasked by the State Coordinator of Emergency Management for specific disaster-related mission assignments as representatives of the Commonwealth engaged in emergency services activities within the meaning of the immunity provisions of §§ 44-146.23(a) and (f) of the Code of Virginia, in the performance of their specific disaster-related mission assignments.

Effective Date of this Executive Order

This Executive Order shall be effective March 2, 2018, and shall remain in full force and in effect until June 2, 2018, unless sooner amended or rescinded by further executive order. Termination of the Executive Order is not intended to terminate any federal type benefits granted or to be granted due to injury or death as a result of service under this Executive Order.