Home Energy and Environment Cuccinelli Rolls Out Energy “Plan,” And Predictably It’s Horrendous

Cuccinelli Rolls Out Energy “Plan,” And Predictably It’s Horrendous


Ken Cuccinelli just rolled out his energy “plan” (using the word “plan” very loosely), and you could take time examining it if you want. Except that really, all you need to know is where his money comes from: $386,534 from coal mining/processing (including $10,000 from Don Blankenship’s now-defunct Massey Coal and $70,875 from Massey’s successor company, Alpha Natural Resources – for more on these companies, see Laurence Leamer on Coal Baron Donald Blankenship’s Downfall); $263,230 from electric utilities (overwhelmingly nuclear and coal-fired companies like Dominion); $91,160 from natural gas (including $44,750 from Cuccinelli’s buddies at Koch Industries); etc.

Given that torrent of money from the absolute dregs of the U.S. energy industry, combined with the fact that Ken Cuccinelli is a climate science denier (that alone should disqualify him from ever holding public office; not to mention his persecution of climate scientist Michael Mann!), you wouldn’t expect much from him on energy. And you’d be right. This plan is utterly godawful: “reduce excessive regulation” (translated as “let fossil fuel companies run amok, trashing the environment and endangering public health”), “responsibly explore our abundant offshore energy resources” (“drill baby drill!”); “prevent the government from picking winners and losers” (except for the “winners and losers” favored by Cuccinelli, the Koch brothers, the coal and oil companies, etc.); etc. Actually, I do agree with Cuccinelli on one thing: we should “move away from the wasteful and harmful use of ethanol.” Other than that, though…this is not just worthless, but actively and intentionally harmful.

Other than the disastrous environmental and public health consequences (see here for more on that subject) to Cuccinelli’s “never left the 1950s” energy policy, it also would be a disaster economically for Virginia. The fact is, Virginia’s comparative advantages economically speaking are not in fossil fuels, but in energy efficiency, offshore wind power, and advanced R&D into advanced forms of low-carbon/no-carbon energy sources. As Tim Kaine explained a few months ago, even for those (like Ken Cuccinelli) who don’t “believe” in climate science (and 97% of peer-reviewed scientific papers say it’s happening, it’s still common sense to move ahead aggressively with energy efficiency and clean energy. Unless, of course, opponents of clean energy prefer to ensure that our state and our country lose the race for the burgeoning, multi-trillion-dollar, world market for clean energy in the 21st century. That, apparently, is what Ken Cuccinelli prefers, while burning up the planet in the process. As for the rest of us, we’d be literally insane to go along with that.

  • Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director Glen Besa released the following statement in response:

    “Ken Cuccinelli’s energy scheme has been ripped straight out of the big polluters’ playbook – and that’s no surprise, given that big oil billionaires like the Koch Brothers have forked over tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign war chest.

    Whether it’s Cuccinelli’s plan to threaten Virginia’s precious beaches with dangerous oil drilling or to push dirty fuels that threaten our air and water, these are ideas only the oil and coal executives financing his campaign could love. To help them make a quick buck, Cuccinelli would even gut the EPA safeguards that keep poisonous toxins out of our atmosphere and away from our families.

    It’s time we looked beyond the 19th century Cuccinelli is living in to the clean energy solutions that can power our homes and businesses now while creating new Virginia jobs for years to come. That means focusing on a just transition to a clean energy economy across Virginia and especially in our coalfields, where we can build a prosperous future without sacrificing the health of our communities and our Commonwealth.”