Home Energy and Environment Alfonso Lopez: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Questionnaire

Alfonso Lopez: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Questionnaire

376
3
SHARE

(Very interesting, thanks for sharing this with Blue Virginia readers! – promoted by lowkell)

Today, Alfonso Lopez submitted his questionnaire to the Virginia League of Conservation Voters.

Please find below the break the entire questionnaire.

Here is one highlight:

Virginia should be a national leader in clean energy, period. With our brainpower in Northern Virginia, some of the best universities in the world, and easy access to the levers of power in Washington, Virginia should be America’s clean tech capitol. However, when compared to some of our neighbors (like Maryland), we have a lot of ground to make up when it comes to energy policy.

In order to fight the many consequences of global warming, we need to start with the low hanging fruit of policy initiatives – energy efficiency, retrofitting state and municipal buildings, giving homeowners access to home retrofits – and work our way up to a mandatory Renewable Energy Standard (RES) – 20% renewable electricity by 2025. But passing an RES isn’t enough – we have to make sure it’s a good RES.

Our RES has to be mandatory to unleash the power of the clean energy market. We also have to ensure that the definition of ‘renewable energy’ is really ‘clean energy’ like solar, wind, biomass, and hydrokinetics, not dirty energy like nuclear power or ‘clean coal’. After all, an RES is only as good as the renewable energy that goes into it.

If Governor McDonnell gets his way with his ‘All of the Above’ energy policy, we’ll continue to look to the past for our growing energy needs. Offshore drilling, mountaintop removal, and nuclear power are not the future. As Virginians, we must do better to ensure a clean energy future.

Most importantly, we cannot allow the ban on uranium mining to expire. If elected, protecting the uranium mining ban will be one of my top energy issues. The environmental implications and public health/cancer cluster dangers of uranium mining are too dire. (For more, please see my diary on Blue Virginia – http://www.bluevirginia.us/dia…

Finally, if elected, I will fight back against our Attorney General and his unconscionable attacks on the Clean Air Act, the EPA, and schoolyard bullying of Virginia academics and scientists.

 

I. Land Use and Transportation

VDOT’s long-range plan presumes unending increases in vehicle miles traveled and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per person, and fails to consider higher energy costs or the benefits of more efficient land use, better urban design and changes in market demand for housing, as ways in which VMT and highway needs can be reduced. Meanwhile, scattered developments approved by local governments continue to add yet more unaffordable project needs.

Do you support requiring VDOT, other state agencies, local governments and regional commissions to fundamentally reevaluate our long-range transportation and land use plans, developing demand reduction alternatives that could reduce the need for new highway infrastructure and the long-term cost to the taxpayers?

YES

The transportation package passed in the 2011 General Assembly session provided $4 billion for the state’s transportation system. The funding mechanism developed by the Governor favors new highway construction at the expense of bridge repair, secondary and urban streets, and transit. Yet, the state has $4.7 billion in deficient bridges, $1 billion in deficient interstate pavement, and has cut secondary and urban street funding to the bone. Gas prices are again very high, yet the state has traditionally allocated 14.7% of its transportation capital budget to transit and as little as 5 to 9% of transportation funds to the combined capital and operating costs of public transit

If elected, would you support a significant increase in funding for construction and operations of transit?

YES

Additionally, would you support a significant increase in funding for construction and operations of freight and passenger rail?

YES

If elected, would you support increasing the focus on bridge, road maintenance and transit maintenance, and request regular updates from VDOT on the state of repair of our road and transit systems?

YES

What sort of revenue source would you support to fill the gap needed for transportation funding?

Transportation is perennially the top issue for all of Northern Virginia – including the 49th district. Despite all the election year talk, our transportation problems persist. Richmond continues to fail to address the real problem: We need money to solve our transportation crisis.

The best way to address this issue is by raising the tax on gasoline. Virginia has a lower gas tax rate than all of our neighbors other than Kentucky. If I am elected to the House of Delegates, I will work to raise the gas tax to a level that is at least consistent with our neighboring states. This is the only way we can raise the necessary capital to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and provide dedicated funding to the critical transit systems that fuel our economy in Northern Virginia.

Given the severity of the transportation crisis in Virginia, I think we need to have all potential transportation policy options on the table. Once we raise the gas tax, we can explore further options for transit and transportation funding.

 

Many local governments are now facing fiscal strains for water, sewer, schools, roads and other public services due to earlier mistakes that resulted in over-planning and over-zoning in their communities -allocating too much land for scattered development. The resulting leapfrog growth has also added to the demands on the tight state budget.

Do you support Urban Development Areas, Secondary Street connectivity and traffic impact studies?

YES

Many officials have focused on the need for clean, renewable energy and for green buildings to reduce energy consumption and climate changing emissions. Yet, reducing energy consumption, dependency on foreign oil, and greenhouse gas emissions will also depend on reducing emissions from transportation and our patterns of land use. Transportation contributes one-third of our emissions and energy use, and is the fastest growing sector. Vehicle miles traveled have increased three times the rate of population in Virginia, as a result of our scattered development. Therefore, smart growth solutions such as directing growth to our cities and towns, to transit stations, and to mixed-use, walking/biking-friendly, redeveloped commercial corridors would not only absorb significant future growth, it would significantly reduce energy use from transportation and state infrastructure costs.

Do you support using transit and these land use solutions as part of your effort to fight climate change, reduce energy consumption and oil dependency, and save state infrastructure dollars?

YES

Federal and state funding for transportation projects is expected to be more limited in coming years. Given this, it is more important than ever to study a range of alternatives before allocating billions of dollars to major transportation projects. For example, composite solutions that include land use, transit, local road connections, and demand management can offer lower cost and more effective alternatives to a new multibillion dollar highway project. A proposed rail transit project would be more cost effective if tied to detailed plans for transit-oriented development. Yet, during the I-81 study, VDOT refused to study a multi-state rail alternative to address the 70 percent of trucks that are long-distance or to study alternatives to reduce local traffic on I-81. For the 95/395 HOT Lanes, VDOT sought and won a “categorical exclusion” meaning they did not have to study alternatives. For Dulles Rail Phase I, the transit station plans were not in place before the state made its multibillion-dollar funding decision.

Do you support requiring VDOT and VDRPT to study a range of alternatives including composite land use, transit and transit-oriented development, local road network, and demand management solutions when considering multi-billion highway and transit projects?

YES

Many important decisions, particularly those related to land use, occur on the local level. Increasingly corporations and other non-local interests who do not achieve their desired outcome by a Board of Supervisors or Council seek to override the decision at the state level via legislation. These often overly broad measures have created a wholesale chipping away of local control by Virginia’s counties, cities and towns. Legislative restraint on measures that would erode or eliminate local control over land use decisions has quickly become an important concern of citizens across the Commonwealth.

Do you support maintaining the current level of local land use authority?



YES

Comments on Land Use and Transportation issues:

The most important issue for Northern Virginia is transportation. The jurisdictions in the 49th district – Arlington and Fairfax – depend heavily on transit, both for transportation purposes and for the region’s economy. Solving the transportation crisis in Northern Virginia is important not only for environmental reasons, but also as a quality of life issue.

I believe that Arlington’s smart growth ethos should be used as a model for the state. In Arlington, we acknowledge that transportation policy isn’t just about moving cars it’s about moving people. We’re investing in a light rail system along the Columbia Pike corridor, the Main Street of the 49th district. We generate thousands of transit trips in the 49th district every day.

Transit use isn’t just a value in the 49th District it’s an everyday reality. As illustrated above, I believe raising the tax on gasoline is a means of providing more dedicated funding for transit and infrastructure.

II. Open Space

In 2007, the General Assembly provided funding for the first time to the Office of Farmland Preservation to assist local jurisdictions preserve working farms and forestland through the purchase of conservation easements. With Virginia continuing to be ranked among the top 10 states in the loss of farmland, this initial funding recognized that sustaining one of Virginia’s largest industries-agriculture-depends on conserving agriculture’s most basic input, productive farm and forestland. The General Assembly authorized $4.2 million to fund Purchase of Development Rights programs for 2006-2008, which was leveraged by $45M in federal, local, and private investment. The General Assembly has invested only $2.2M in 2009-2012, despite continued strong opportunities to leverage private, local and federal funds.

Will you support increased funding for the PDR program in Virginia?

YES

Virginia’s scenic open space, historic landscapes and battlefields, critical natural areas and working farm and forestland and farmland is rapidly disappearing. According to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Virginia’s rate of development is 11th highest nationally. It is estimated that as much land will be consumed by development in the next 40 years as has been developed over the last 400 years since Virginia’s founding. Governor McDonnell has set an ambitious goal to protect 400,000 acres during his term in office. However, there is much more to be done to protect all of Virginia’s important lands.

The protection of these precious resources will be accomplished not only through donation, but also through purchase of land and of conservation easements and development rights from willing sellers. Yet despite Virginia signing the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement, we lag far behind our neighbors in providing funding to protect scenic open space, historic properties, natural areas, and working farms and forests. It is estimated that Virginia needs to spend nearly $500 million to protect the remaining acres in the Bay watershed in order to meet our commitment, and the Bay watershed makes up only 60% of the state.

Will you support a dedicated revenue source for a significant increase in funding for open space protection?

YES

Virginia has a land preservation tax credit that is serving as a significant incentive for landowners to donate conservation easements to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and private land trusts.

Would you oppose attempts to weaken the land preservation tax credit?

YES

Comments on Open Space:

I live in Arlington County, an urban county of only 26 square miles. Thanks to foresight by local officials, we currently have nearly 150 public parks in the county. This commitment to open public space in Arlington and Fairfax is a value I will bring to Richmond if elected to the House of Delegates.

As an aide to Governor Tim Kaine, I was proud of the work the Administration did to preserve 400,000 acres of open space throughout the Commonwealth. This did more than protect land. The preservation of this open space assisted in protecting groundwater, helped the Commonwealth curb polluted runoff into our stream and rivers, and took us several steps closer to preventing pollution from entering the Chesapeake Bay.

As an environmental health activist at Physicians for Social Responsibility for much of the 1990s, I worked tirelessly on successful campaigns to pass the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 and to defend the improved EPA standards for ozone and particulate air pollution. I know that preserving open space only assists us in our efforts to ensure our communities have clean air, clean water, and safe drinking water.

As a father, I hope my son, Aaron Rafael, will be able to enjoy the state parks that I enjoyed in my childhood in Fairfax County. I promise to fight Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and protect public open space in the 49th District and throughout the Commonwealth.

III. Water Resources, Rivers, Chesapeake Bay

Through the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement, the Commonwealth committed to remove the Chesapeake Bay from the federal list of impaired waters. Current action by Virginia’s leaders to upgrade wastewater treatment plants and to work with farmers to reduce runoff is a significant step in the right direction. However we must continue to address nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in order to reach our pollution reduction goals. During the 2006 and 2007 General Assembly sessions, the legislature chose to fund the Chesapeake Bay cleanup with significant appropriations and bond authorization specifically for sewage treatment plant upgrades. In the 2008 and 2009 General Assembly sessions, $20 million was allocated each year to fund pollution reduction efforts from agricultural lands.

Would you support the increased appropriation of funds to meet the goals for cleaning up our rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay?

YES

Would you support a dedicated funding source that is not dependent on year-end surpluses to fund Chesapeake restoration?

YES

In late 2010, Virginia entered into a new agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce pollution entering the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries through a Total Maximum Daily Load. This pollution diet for our waterways has been developed to insure that Virginia has in place by 2025 all of the steps necessary to remove the Chesapeake Bay from the impaired waters list. 2017 will be a benchmark year to judge the progress being made in Virginia on attaining our water quality goals.

Virginia is currently revising its storm water regulations to better address the 2017 bay commitments. Do you support revised storm water regulations that afford improved protections for our local streams and waterways?

YES

If Virginia fails to meet our 2017 benchmarks, would you support revisiting the state watershed implementation plan and making pollution reduction techniques mandatory rather than voluntary as in the status quo?

YES

In addition to providing resources for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts, Virginia set a pollution cap for each river basin–a scientific limit for the amount of pollution allowed in the water. The intention of each cap is to remain firm and protect the Chesapeake Bay. To allow for continued economic growth but to remain within the limits of the pollution cap, a market-based nutrient trading program was developed.

Would you support the maintenance of pollution caps for Virginia’s rivers in the implementation of the nutrient trading program?

YES

Comments on Water Resources, Rivers, and Chesapeake Bay:

I believe that clean water is a right, not a privilege. The Four Mile Run watershed goes through the heart of the 49th district in South Arlington. However, the water in Four Mile Run is too polluted for children and pets to cool off in the creek during the summer.

This is not a situation that is unique to Arlington or Fairfax. As a state, Virginia must do a better job of protecting our waterways from pollution. Ensuring our waterways – including the Bay – are clean isn’t just about the environment. The Chesapeake Bay is an economic engine for Virginia – especially for the oyster and fishermen and women who rely on it. The recreational value of a clean Bay is tremendously important.

Like our transportation woes, water pollution via stormwater overflows is another sign of our aging infrastructure. We need a massive infusion of new money to repair and rebuild our aging stormwater management infrastructure.

I have a background working on these issues in the Clinton White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), as a U.S. Senate staffer, in Governor Kaine’s Administration, and as a Federal Advocate for the environmental community in the 1990’s.

• Working at CEQ I did research on federal facilities clean up and environmental justice issues – including the prevention of toxic chemical dumping in communities along the Mississippi river.

• As a staffer in the U.S. Senate, I served as the energy and environment advisor to a Democratic Senator and assisted in drafting the National Estuary Conservation Act (which was enacted into law). I also assisted in efforts to negotiate political solutions for state issues, including offshore waste and remediation of childhood cancer clusters (which were created as a direct result of unlawful toxic chemical dumping that entered the groundwater system).

• As the head of Congressional and Federal Affairs for Governor Kaine, I managed and negotiated all aspects of the Governor’s Southern Governors’ Association Chairman’s Initiative on Climate Change and Energy Independence in the Southern States. I assisted in negotiations with the Bush Administration’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) at the Department of Interior on offshore oil drilling. I worked with the Virginia Congressional Delegation to secure funding for Chesapeake Bay remediation efforts through innovative vehicles, including the recent FARM bill reauthorization, increased appropriations funding for Blue Plains, and increased EPA funding for (and stronger safeguards/standards for) Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and farm waste runoff remediation.

• As an environmental activist and Federal Advocate, I worked tirelessly on successful campaigns to pass the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 and to defend the improved EPA standards for ozone and particulate air pollution. While working at Physicians for Social Responsibility, I drafted the 1998 Children’s Environmental Health Report Card.

IV. Energy

With the federal government stalled on comprehensive energy and climate legislation, and some elected officials pushing to restrict Environmental Protection Agency enforcement of the Clean Air Act, it is incumbent upon the state to enact policies that clean our air and harness the potential for clean energy. Virginia has an opportunity to cast ourselves as a leader in the clean energy economy while creating more long-lasting, good-paying jobs. We must move forward creating the incentives and infrastructure that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency while also providing opportunities for education and training to help transform our economy and workforce to adapt to the clean energy jobs of the future.

Energy Efficiency: The 2009 General Assembly passed legislation that provides an incentive for investment in energy efficiency but did not establish a mandatory goal for energy efficiency. All experts agree that Energy Efficiency is the cheapest way to meet any growth in demand.

Will you support a mandatory energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) requiring 19% of Virginia’s energy needs by 2025 be met through increased energy efficiency programs? (as per recommendations in the 2008 ACEEE [American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy]report)

YES

Additionally, many of Virginia’s citizens live in homes that lack proper insulation, or are in need of being weatherized to reduce energy consumption. Home weatherization reduces costs for consumers on monthly utility bills while reducing overall demand for energy throughout the Commonwealth.

Will you support the creation of a dedicated funding source for home weatherization?

YES

Will you support maintaining in the Code of Virginia the existing incentives for utilities to invest in cost-effective energy efficiency programs?

YES

Renewable Energy: Virginia has tremendous resources for renewable energy. Experts have estimated that the development of offshore wind could easily meet 10% of our energy needs in the short-term, and that solar energy has the potential to meet up to 19% of our total energy needs. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth has not created a marketplace for these technologies while our neighboring states have moved aggressively forward with mandatory renewable portfolio standards and tax incentives for clean energy businesses.

Will you support legislation to increase Virginia’s RPS to at least 20% by 2020 and make it mandatory?

YES

Will you support legislation that directs the State Corporation Commission to consider the external public health costs, as well as the public benefits of fuel sources when considering utility power plant proposals?

YES

Aggressively developing Virginia’s offshore wind resources would create more than 10,000 career-length jobs over the next 20 years and provide clean, reliable energy at an affordable, stable price for years to come. In addition to improving our economic security without creating pollution, developing our domestic offshore wind resource would increase our national security by decreasing our reliance on foreign energy sources. Recently, however, the State Corporation Commission has rejected renewable energy projects for Investor-Owned Utilities.

If elected, would you support legislation directing the State Corporation Commission to approve utility-scale offshore wind projects?

YES

Additionally, would you support financial incentives for utilities to build utility-scale offshore wind farms, such as tax breaks or loan guarantees?

YES

Offshore Drilling: Oil and gas development from drilling off Virginia’s coast presents numerous risks to our coastal economy (tourism industry, commercial/recreational fishing), environment (our most fragile ecosystems and sensitive shoreline habitats that support such treasures as the blue crab, sea scallops, the bluefin tuna, and the endangered right whale), and to our national security (the US Navy and NASA have stated their objections).

Do you oppose efforts to open Virginia’s coasts to drilling for oil and natural gas?

YES

Uranium Mining: In 1982, Virginia established a ban on issuing uranium mining permits in Virginia. Today, foreign-backed interests are trying to lift that ban. While they are focused on a site called Coles Hill in Pittsylvania County, mining could be conducted statewide if the legislature votes to lift the ban.

Extracting uranium requires intensive use of water and chemicals, and leaves behind massive amounts of radioactive and toxic waste. Virginia is one of the worst places to store waste from uranium processing. The region’s wet weather makes mining and processing uranium and storing this waste a risky experiment that could contaminate drinking water for downstream communities. If the waste containment structure for the first site failed, drinking water for Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and much of North Carolina could be unsafe to drink for years.

In the 1980s, uranium leases were purchased on thousands of acres of land in Virginia including Fauquier, Orange, Culpeper and Madison counties. These deposits are upstream from public drinking water intake sources for Fairfax, Fredericksburg and Orange.

The company has indicated it will seek to lift the ban in 2012.

Do you support keeping the ban on uranium mining in VA?

YES

Four different uranium related studies are currently underway: one by the National Academy of Sciences, one by the City of Virginia Beach, one by the Chmura Economics and Analytics, and one by the Danville Regional Foundation.

Do you support providing sufficient time in 2012 for dissemination, public education, and discussion and feedback on all four studies, before any legislative action is considered?

YES

Comments on Energy:

Virginia should be a national leader in clean energy, period. With our brainpower in Northern Virginia, some of the best universities in the world, and easy access to the levers of power in Washington, Virginia should be America’s clean tech capitol. However, when compared to some of our neighbors (like Maryland), we have a lot of ground to make up when it comes to energy policy.

In order to fight the many consequences of global warming, we need to start with the low hanging fruit of policy initiatives – energy efficiency, retrofitting state and municipal buildings, giving homeowners access to home retrofits – and work our way up to a mandatory Renewable Energy Standard (RES) – 20% renewable electricity by 2025. But passing an RES isn’t enough – we have to make sure it’s a good RES.

Our RES has to be mandatory to unleash the power of the clean energy market. We also have to ensure that the definition of ‘renewable energy’ is really ‘clean energy’ like solar, wind, biomass, and hydrokinetics, not dirty energy like nuclear power or ‘clean coal’. After all, an RES is only as good as the renewable energy that goes into it.

If Governor McDonnell gets his way with his ‘All of the Above’ energy policy, we’ll continue to look to the past for our growing energy needs. Offshore drilling, mountaintop removal, and nuclear power are not the future. As Virginians, we must do better to ensure a clean energy future.

Most importantly, we cannot allow the ban on uranium mining to expire. If elected, protecting the uranium mining ban will be one of my top energy issues. The environmental implications and public health/cancer cluster dangers of uranium mining are too dire. (For more, please see my diary on Blue Virginia – http://www.bluevirginia.us/dia…

Finally, if elected, I will fight back against our Attorney General and his unconscionable attacks on the Clean Air Act, the EPA, and schoolyard bullying of Virginia academics and scientists.

V. Bipartisan Redistricing:

The divisive 2011 redistricting process has resulted in districts that do more to protect incumbents than provide a meaningful vote for citizens. Governor McDonnell’s commitment to a nonpartisan redistricting commission fell short without the binding authority to direct the General Assembly on line drawing.

Would you support legislation in the next session to create an ongoing, impartial, binding, citizen-led redistricting commission? (See SB 932 in 2011 or SB 626 in 2010)

YES

Comments on Bipartisan Redistricting:


Non-partisan redistricting is the key to a fair, representative government. Unfortunately, though Governor McDonnell campaigned on this issue, he proved this year that he disagrees. I find the 2011 Republican redistricting gerrymander to be an outrageous assault on good government. Good process leads to good policy and the process of the 2011 redistricting was horribly broken.

On a related note, I am strongly in favor of increased transparency in government. I believe that citizens have a right to know how their Delegates and State Senators vote on every issue. The 2009 decision by the House of Delegates to record lawmakers’ votes in subcommittee was a positive step. I also agreed with the decision to broadcast live streaming video of the House of Delegates daily floor session.

I also support legislation similar to Delegate Scott Surovell’s proposal to post or live stream the proceedings of all General Assembly Committees and Subcommittees. Considering the rapid growth of technology and the benefits that technology provides, it is imperative that Virginia government use new media to become even more accessible and transparent.

VI. Personal Commitment:



a. If elected, what three environmental issues will be a priority for you?


1. Making the ban on uranium mining in Virginia permanent

2. Making Virginia the Clean Energy capitol of the United States – increasing green jobs and green businesses – and creating a mandatory RES in Virginia (20% by 2025)

3. Improving transportation funding by increasing the Gas Tax and allocating a larger share of state funding to transit – this will also help us address issues surrounding our frequent violations of clean air/national ambient air quality standards for ozone and particulate matter, overall greenhouse gas emissions, and smart growth

b. What leadership initiatives will you undertake to advance the issues you listed in a?


1. I will commit to whip the Democratic and Progressive caucuses to Keep the Ban on uranium mining. I will commit to elevate the importance of this issue by speaking out on it publicly. I will also commit to raise money for candidates that commit to keep the ban.

2. I will advocate for the creation of a Clean Energy Caucus to help push for a clean energy future for Virginia – and increase opportunities for green jobs and businesses. I pledge to use my background in environmental policy to relentlessly advocate for a mandatory RES – the policy solution that will ignite the clean energy economy in Virginia.

3. We have not increased revenue for transportation and transit in Virginia since 1986 – during the Baliles Administration. On top of supporting a gas tax in Virginia that is at least consistent with our neighboring states, I will always try to educate my colleagues about the importance of these related issues. If we want to sustain and improve our economy we have to:

• Be able to maintain a solid, functioning (non-gridlocked) transportation/transit system

• Maintain our quality of life by ensuring we have a clean environment, clean water, and clean air – with far fewer poor air quality days.

c. What examples of environmental leadership can you cite from your past? Include legislative examples or organizational work.


I have been in the trenches on environment and energy policy for years – fighting for safer communities, coastal protection, energy efficiency, conservation, clean water, and remediation of toxic sites. I understand the impact that the environment has on human health and – as a father – I understand the peace of mind that parents want – knowing that their children and families are safe from environmental toxins.  

As the head of Congressional and Federal Affairs in the Kaine Administration (as mentioned above) I worked on numerous energy and environment issues for the Commonwealth, including Chesapeake Bay remediation, offshore drilling, climate change in the South, and land preservation/open space.  

While working as the White House Liaison at the U.S. General Services Administration under President Obama, I served as an Advisor to the Administrator and Chief of Staff on a wide range of issues including energy efficiency goals for the Federal government.

As an environmental non-profit activist and Federal Advocate, I worked tirelessly on successful campaigns to pass the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 and to defend the improved EPA standards for ozone and particulate air pollution. I also worked on raising the environmental health concerns of global climate change in Congress. While working at Physicians for Social Responsibility, I drafted the 1998 Children’s Environmental Health Report Card.

As a staffer in the U.S. Senate, I served as the energy and environment advisor to a Democratic Senator and assisted in drafting legislation including the Zero Tolerance for Repeat Polluters Act, the School Environment Protection Act, and the National Estuary Conservation Act (which was enacted into law). I also assisted in efforts to negotiate political solutions for state issues, including out-of-state garbage transport/disposal and remediation of childhood cancer clusters.

I earned a Certificate in Environmental Law at Tulane University Law School. Protecting the environment has been at the core of my career for nearly twenty years. If elected to the House of Delegates, I will be a tireless advocate for the environment and conservation issues.

  • truthteller

    Alfonso makes the case why he has the credentials and experience to lead on the environment now. He also is willing to take the fight to Cooch on his frivolous lawsuits to block the federal government and Virginia’s research universities from leading environmental change.  

  • JOlson

    I recently remodeled my home in South Arlington and specifically designed the roof with the goal of installing solar panels.  If we lived in Maryland, with the support Maryland provides to homeowners, it would be cost effective for us to install solar panels.  Unfortunately, due to the lack of support for renewable energy in Virginia, we are not able to install solar panels at this time.  Alfonso’s extensive background working on environmental issues makes him the best candidate to fight for clean energy policies.  After numerous conversations with him, I am confident that Alfonso will fight for the clean energy incentives that are needed by businesses and homeowners in Virginia in order to switch to more renewable energy sources.

  • Jason

    These thoughtful answers, coupled with Alfonso’s record and history of involvement in environmental issues, demonstrate why he is the clear choice for the environmental community.  As an environmental lawyer, I’m very much looking forward to having Alfonso as a champion for green issues in the General Assembly.