• From the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN):

    Clean Power Plan Gives Va. Win-Win Way to Tackle Coastal Flooding While Saving Consumers Money

    By joining proven regional system, Va. can cut emissions efficiently and generate $200 million annually to invest in solutions

    RICHMOND, Va.-Today the Obama administration issued the first nationwide rules for cutting carbon emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act. The “Clean Power Plan” standard represents the most significant federal action yet to tackle climate change, which is driving the sea-level rise already routinely flooding Virginia’s coastal communities. The final rules allow states to work together to develop regional compliance plans to reduce carbon dioxide pollution through 2030, and provide incentives to states who choose this option.

    The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, joining a wide range of advocates across the state, believes that the best path forward for Virginia to meet the new federal standard is to join an existing nine-state pollution reduction system called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

    By incentivizing investments in energy efficiency, the RGGI program is proven to save consumers money. By capping carbon pollution and requiring power plants to buy emissions permits, the market-based RGGI system would send much-needed funds back to Virginia. Virginia would receive about $200 million annually through 2030 to reinvest in solutions, such as flooding adaptation projects, energy efficiency, and job training.

    Dawone Robinson, Virginia Policy Director at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, had the following statement in response:

    “Virginia has a win-win solution at its fingertips. Joining the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is the smartest path forward for Virginia to lower emissions, while creating jobs and generating resources to invest in solutions. Over the past three years, RGGI has saved consumers $460 million, generated $1.3 billion in net economic value, and created 14,200 new jobs, all while reducing carbon pollution faster than the rest of the nation. Virginians currently pay some of the highest average electric bills in the country, primarily because we lag far behind on energy efficiency, a problem that RGGI resources would help solve.

    “Notably, RGGI is the only plan on the table to jump-start a shared solution to sea-level rise in Virginia. Our coast needs a massive, coordinated investment to protect citizens, critical infrastructure, economic assets, and the world’s largest naval base from flooding that’s here now and getting worse. Bipartisan legislation that would move Virginia into the RGGI system — a bill called the Virginia Coastal Protection Act — would help Virginia meet the requirements of the Clean Power Plan while creating the state’s first dedicated funding stream for flooding adaptation projects, which would also be a major job creator.

    “The General Assembly has a huge opportunity to maximize the benefits of the Clean Power Plan by passing the Virginia Coastal Protection Act in 2016 and moving Virginia into RGGI.”

    Background: The Virginia Coastal Protection Act is a bipartisan solution introduced in the 2015 General Assembly by Senator Donald McEachin of Richmond and Delegate Ron Villanueva of Virginia Beach. In 2015, the bill gained broad and high-profile support, including from the cities of Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, the Virginia Chapter of the American Association of Pediatrics, the Virginia Housing Coalition, and statewide environmental groups. The bill would join Virginia into RGGI and create the Commonwealth Resilience Fund to reinvest the funds generated into statewide climate solutions. A full half of the funds would help localities pay for flooding adaptation measures, while additional funds would support energy efficiency and clean energy programs statewide, as well as economic development in Southwest Virginia.

  • “Climate change is the existential crisis of our time. President Obama’s Clean Power Plan will combat this threat to our health, safety, and security of the generations who will inherit our environmental legacy,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “Millions of American families depend on us to take the necessary steps to clean up our air and water. The Clean Power Plan is a smart and effective first step to limit carbon emissions from power plants, drive our transition to a zero-carbon renewable energy future, and make aggressive investments in clean energy technologies.”

    The Clean Power Plan aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from American power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

    Beyer continued: “We cannot continue to ignore our responsibility to address the dangers from climate change. The U. S. must commit to our role as an international leader on climate as we head toward talks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December. The Clean Power Plan is a powerful example to show the world our serious commitment to act on climate change.”

  • I agree, this is an excellent plan, but now President Obama needs to take the next steps – stop Arctic oil drilling and rethink the entire, misgudied “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

    CREDO: This carbon rule won’t offset President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy

    In response to the Obama administration’s release of the final carbon rule for existing power plants, CREDO Action Senior Campaign Manager Elijah Zarlin released the following statement:

    “Reductions in carbon pollution are much needed, but it’s hard to get too excited about this rule the same week that the president allows Shell to tempt fate in the Arctic. We have also now learned that this already too-weak rule is going to take another two years to kick in. President Obama has cleared the very low bar of the most climate pollution reductions of any president in history – but in context of the progress that is needed, it’s hard to view this as especially ambitious.”

    The need to stop burning dirty fossil fuels and transition to clean sources of energy couldn’t be greater. But in the context of President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, which has increased the domestic production of fossil fuels, it is simply too weak and too late in starting.

    If this rule is President Obama’s signature achievement on climate change then his administration has missed a major opportunity to show real leadership on climate.”

    Last year CREDO activists submitted more than 80,000 public comments that specifically urged the EPA to strengthen the emission reductions and not further delay implementation beyond 2020.

  • From Environment Virginia:


    RICHMOND, VA – Following the finalization of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan today, six Virginia elected officials, health professionals and business and faith leaders, including Senator Donald McEachin and Delegate Alfonso Lopez, voiced their support for the EPA’s plan to combat climate change at a tele-press conference, and called on Virginia’s local, state, and national leaders to do the same.

    The Clean Power Plan sets the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants and encourages investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. By cutting back CO2 levels, the Clean Power Plan helps reduce the greenhouse gases to blame for climate change, which threatens Virginia’s coastal communities and the health of our most vulnerable citizens. Speakers on today’s call discussed how the plan positively impacts Virginia’s economy and public health.

    “The CPP is good for Virginia and Virginians,” said Senator Donald McEachin. “This is an important opportunity to mitigate the effects of climate change and address sea level rise, while creating jobs and economic growth for the Commonwealth.”

    “Implementing the Clean Power Plan is an important opportunity for the Commonwealth of Virginia to address the impacts of climate change while growing our economy, creating a more sustainable energy future, and preserving our environment for future generations,” said Delegate Alfonso Lopez. “We should embrace this opportunity.”

    “With investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, Virginia can move towards compliance with this rule, while spurring job growth, attracting and retaining businesses, and protecting our local economies,” said Matt Ruscio, Program and Policy Officer at Secure Futures, a solar development company headquartered in Staunton, VA.

    Other participants on the call included: Gilda Niknezhad, a Nurse Practitioner and Norfolk resident impacted by climate change, Marisa Vertrees, a parisioner at St. Ann Roman Catholic Church in Arlington, and Alexei Laushkin, the Vice President of the Evangelical Environmental Network.

    “We treasure our coastal community and the thought of losing it is not acceptable but neither is living here with increase risk of damage to life and property. The Clean Power Plan is a step in right direction toward mitigating the long term effects of climate change,” said Gilda Niknezhad.

    “As a Catholic, I feel a great moral responsibility to care for Creation, and to take care not to pollute the earth that we were given,” said Marisa Vertrees. These new rules help us to decrease the 7.8 million tons of CO2 that Virginia alone puts into the atmosphere, putting us on the way to limiting and reversing the global climate change that is already affecting people and species around the world.”

    “Pro-Life Christians are particularly concerned about the impact of pollution on the unborn and children’s health. Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ talked about the need to build a culture that is capable of dealing with significant moral challenges like climate change,” said Alexei Laushkin, Vice President of the Evangelical Environmental Network. “The President’s announcement on the Clean Power Plan is a historic step in that direction. As people of faith we know issues of pollution require all of us to work together towards a culture of life.”

    “Today’s action is thanks to all the Virginians, together with millions of Americans, who called for strong climate action,” concluded Sarah Bucci, Director of Environment Virginia. “Virginians have only to gain from these new carbon pollution standards, which were designed with flexibility for states to develop individual plans that play to our existing economic strengths and unique circumstances. With support from Virginia’s leaders, and backing from the public, we can ensure our children and grandchildren live healthier and safer lives in a cleaner and more productive economy.”

  • Governor McAuliffe Statement on Environmental Protection Agency’s Final Clean Power Plan Rule

    RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s release of its final Clean Power Plan rule, which seeks to combat climate change by curbing carbon emissions from existing power plants:

    “I applaud the Obama Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for focusing on the important issue of curtailing carbon emissions. Based on an initial review, it appears that EPA made positive changes to address concerns my administration and I expressed repeatedly about ensuring equity and flexibility for Virginia in developing this final rule. As we conduct a detailed analysis, I look forward to working with stakeholders to accomplish the objectives of reducing carbon emissions, creating the next generation of clean energy jobs and building the new Virginia economy.”

  • The regulations released by the EPA today are part of an ambitious national policy to dramatically reduce carbon pollution from power plants and mitigate climate change, the effects of which are already being realized in Hampton Roads and pose a serious threat to the Commonwealth. The goals set by the Clean Power Plan for Virginia are not only feasible but have the potential to improve public health and create tens of thousands of clean energy jobs while reducing pollution. Virginia is already well on its way towards meeting the goals of our state plan, and as your Lieutenant Governor I am actively involved in numerous statewide initiatives to increase energy efficiency and to develop off-shore wind solutions, both of which should be a part of ensuring that Virginia surpasses these goals and becomes a national leader on clean energy.


    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on the United States’ final plan to reduce emissions of the carbon pollution responsible for climate change, which calls on U.S. power plants to generate 32% less carbon pollution by the year 2030 than they do today:

    “The Clean Power Plan marks the biggest step the United States has ever taken to address the pollution responsible for climate change. The consensus is clear – from an overwhelming majority of scientists, to land-use planners in low-lying coastal regions like Hampton Roads, to the U.S. military, to His Holiness Pope Francis – all agree that climate change is real, it is driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, and we must do something about it.

    “Virginia’s contribution to this effort will be a 37% reduction in its power plant pollution by 2030.  I’m confident we can meet this goal because we already achieved almost this exact reduction between 2005 and 2012, without a Clean Power Plan.  Last year, I wrote to the EPA after the proposal came out, arguing that state targets should give more credit to states like Virginia that reduced emissions before they were required to by law, as well as advocating inclusion of a sensible way to adjust the plan if there are unforeseen impacts on electric reliability. It appears that the EPA has acknowledged these suggestions by creating a “safety valve” to preempt undue impacts on reliability and by recognizing Virginia’s prior success by assigning it a target that is about 15% easier to meet than before.

    “We must also ensure that Virginia’s traditional coal communities have a place in a cleaner energy future.  I have sponsored legislation to ramp up the federal contribution to clean coal R&D and promoted career and technical education and workforce training programs so that these communities can be on the forefront of clean coal innovation while also diversifying their regional economies.

    “I’ve never accepted the idea that we must choose between growing the economy and protecting the environment. Ensuring our energy production is cleaner tomorrow than today is good for our economy, as well as good for the planet. In 1962, President Kennedy asked us to go to the moon in seven years.  We did it.  In 2015, President Obama has asked us to generate a third less air pollution in fifteen years.  We can do this.”

    As Governor of Virginia, Kaine set a renewable electricity goal of 15% by 2025, expanded the use of lower-emitting natural gas and nuclear power, and issued the Commonwealth’s first comprehensive climate and clean energy plans. He also supported the construction of the state-of-the-art Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County, one of the most advanced new coal plants constructed in the United States. In the Senate, Kaine has been a leading voice on the need to address the impacts of climate change in Virginia, including sea level rise, and to protect communities and military installations from recurrent flooding.

  • “Today marks a major step forward in efforts to combat the effects of global climate change.  

    “Upon initial review, it appears that several of our concerns about the potential impacts on Virginia that were in the draft rule have been addressed in these final rules. This is a complex and ambitious plan which deserves thorough study, given Virginia’s economic diversity and variety of energy sources, and I look forward to hearing views from stakeholders across the Commonwealth regarding the steps the Administration put forward today.

    “It is appropriate that the U.S. is leading in efforts to address carbon pollution, and I am hopeful that we will be able to work with our international partners to agree to global reductions in carbon emissions later this year.”