According to Appalachian Voices: “More than 210,000 Virginians have spoken and they want the commonwealth to lead the new energy economy. Many of them are in Richmond this morning to urge legislators to grow Virginia’s economy, improve public health and address the cause of climate change by supporting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.” (note: most photos courtesy of the VA Sierra Club)
Faith-Based, Public Health, Student and Environmental Groups Gather to Demand Climate Action
RICHMOND, VA – Today, over 200 Virginians from across the state gathered at the State Capitol to support government action to reduce carbon pollution, the leading cause of climate disruption and demand action to dramatically scale up clean energy in the Commonwealth. Residents came from Hampton Roads, Williamsburg, Richmond, Blacksburg, Arlington and Manassas.
The rally followed a Joint Legislative Meeting of the Virginia House and Senate Commerce and Labor Committees on the Clean Power Plan. Supporters packed the hearing, carrying “Clean Energy Now” signs, and several made themselves heard during the public comment session before joining the crowd on the Capitol grounds, noting the economic benefits of clean energy as well as the urgency of addressing climate change.
The rally included a Mom’s Clean Air Force “Play-in” featuring parachute games and coloring activities, and a moment of silence for those affected by climate disruption followed by a “moment of noise” to sound the alarm on climate and demand action.
Speakers included: Senator A. Donald McEachin, Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman; Clark Mercer, Chief of Staff to Lieutenant Governor Northam; Freeda Cathcart, Legislative Chair, General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Virginia – Blue Ridge Region; and Michael James-Deramo, Vice President of the VCU Environmental Coalition and representative of the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition.
“A comprehensive Clean Energy Plan will reap rewards for our families, for our communities and for the health and well-being of our Commonwealth,” said Senator McEachin. “We are very fortunate that instituting a Clean Energy Plan to help the environment will have the added benefit of saving citizens’ money and creating jobs. Altogether, it’s a win-win for Virginians.”
“Lieutenant Governor Northam supports the Clean Power Plan, and is pleased that the EPA’s goals allow Virginia the flexibility we need to develop a customized plan that will keep our energy affordable and reliable, while ensuring our children have clean air to breathe,” said Clark Mercer, Northam’s Chief of Staff.
“It’s time we started expanding opportunity and stopped shrinking the middle class by providing Virginians access to good-paying jobs while protecting our land for future generations,” said Cathcart, of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Virginia – Blue Ridge Region. “We must stop subsidizing harmful practices that contribute to extreme weather while destroying people’s livelihoods and start supporting clean energy jobs.”
Co-sponsoring organizations included: 350 Loudoun, Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Environment Virginia, Moms’ Clean Air Force, Mothers Against Pipelines, Preserve Floyd, Trinity Family Life Center, VCU Environmental Coalition, Virginia Conservation Network, Virginia Organizing, Virginia Sierra Club, Virginia Student Environmental Coalition and the William & Mary Environmental Coalition.