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Oil Monsters Trump and Gillespie Are Coming to Virginia. Stand Up and Fight!

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by Ken Boddye

 Okay, that’s a smoke monster, but you get the point.

Yesterday we learned that the Trump Administration is preparing to withdraw us from the Paris Climate Accord. As David Axelrod told CNN, this is being done as a political move to keep campaign promises made to his base during last year’s election.

Couldn’t he have broken this one and instead kept the one about NOT cutting Medicaid?

Withdrawing from the agreement has more repercussions than the obvious. Yes, this marks an end to the U.S. being a leader on limiting carbon emissions, which puts us back on a collision course to not having a planet anymore. That’s bad enough. But it gets worse — it also creates a power vacuum among the nations still in the agreement; one that China is already seeking to fill. China has already begun a fundamental shift toward solar, and they’re plan could very well be to eventually start cornering the market on energy.

Just think about it: them having a strong position in the export of goods AND energy to other country. Thanks, Trump.

At the same time, Republican Candidate for Virginia Governor Ed Gillespie has been touting his own energy plan, which is basically as terrible as you’re imagining. Per his campaign website:

I will champion agriculture – Virginia’s first industry – and redouble efforts to expand exports and open new markets for Virginia products. I will fight back against onerous federal actions, rules and regulations that limit Virginia’s ability to safely utilize our bountiful natural resources. I will work with the Trump Administration and our Republican majorities in Congress to expand the production of safe, reliable and affordable energy in the Commonwealth, including the development of oil and natural gas reserves off our deep sea coast and stopping the regulatory assault on our coal sector.

Yes, you read the words “safe,” “oil,” and “coal” all in the same sentence. In 2017. After the BP oil spill, mine-related health epidemics, and pipeline problems we’ve had over the years. Offshore drilling is apparently a swell idea to Ed, and he’s hungry to work with Republicans in Congress to cut those pesky regulations. The ones that keep us from killing our planet further.

Earth-Oceans-Covered-in-Oil--73174.jpg
Not pictured: money you can eat, and fracked gas you can breathe.

This is yet another reason why our elections here in Virginia this year are so important, Kos readers.

The Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and all 100 House of Delegate (lower state house) seats are up for election this year. The next Governor and House of Delegates will have a massive role in deciding Virginia’s energy future as Trump continues to walk away from Climate Justice.

A surge of awakened Democrats with grassroots power is just what we need in order to counteract all of this, and ensure we get the right people in place on June 13th and November 7th.

A strong Democratic Governor backed up by a Democratic-dominated House of Delegates could set the tone for the next four years by:

  • Giving the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) the teeth it needs to properly enforce existing regulations here in the commonwealth.
  • Strengthening existing regulations and protections to make up for the weakening of the EPA. A few weeks ago, Governor McAuliffe signed an executive order to begin cutting carbon emissions in Virginia. We should be following his lead.
  • Moving away from the energy monopolies of Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power, which currently have a stranglehold over the commonwealth’s energy sector. This includes allowing for true community solar and opening the state up to companies like Tesla.
  • Banning fracking and offshore drilling outright, and standing against pipelines like the fracked-gas ones currently being constructed in the commonwealth.
  • Creating thousands of jobs by creating programs that retrofit infrastructure and public buildings with solar panels, wind turbines, and high efficiency windows and roofs.

Virginia has what it takes to  become a leader in energy independence, and shift toward a 100% renewable energy grid in a couple of decades. We just have to have the will to fight for that kind of progress. And it starts with you.

Virginia HD 51 – Ken Boddye
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  • On a related note, from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN):

    Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC Will Defy President Trump on Climate Policy

    Statement from Mike Tidwell, director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, on Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement:

    “THE BAD NEWS: President Trump today sealed his reputation as an economic and environmental wrecking ball with few rivals in US history. Locally, his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement threatens to reduce jobs and shrink our regional economy. It would do so by embracing fracking and a dying coal industry over the jobs-creating markets for wind and solar power. Trump has endangered our coastal military bases in Virginia with more sea-level rise. He has endangered DC citizens with more life-threatening urban heat waves. He has endangered Maryland agriculture with more erratic weather that harms everything from fruit trees to livestock.”

    “THE GOOD NEWS: President Trump CANNOT stop the growing local movement toward clean energy or the broader international effort to stabilize our global climate. Locally, states are moving faster toward clean energy than ever before because of Trump’s criminal rejection of climate science and sound policy. Virginia has just announced the state’s first-ever carbon cap on power plant pollution. DC is moving toward a citywide carbon fee that creatively cuts pollution while boosting individual incomes. And Maryland has just banned fracking while approving the country’s largest offshore wind farm. This robust state action cannot and will not be slowed by Trump’s federal rejection of climate truth and economic sanity. The citizens of Maryland, Virginia, and DC should rest assured that our states – along with progressive states across the country – will continue to grow our economies with clean energy while fulfilling our historic collective duty to help solve the climate crisis for our children and the rest of the world.”

  • Rep. Don Beyer on Trump’s “triumph of ignorance, nativism & pandering”

    https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4274/34873362202_1255dbe9b4_o.jpg

  • House Democratic Leaders On Climate Reject Trump’s Decision To Retreat From US Leadership, Withdraw From Paris Agreement

    June 1, 2017 (Washington, DC) – Reps. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and Don Beyer (D-VA), co-chairs of the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus, today denounced the decision by the Trump White House to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

    “Pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Change Accord is not leadership. It is an act of cowardice,” said Rep. Lowenthal (D-CA). “The Trump administration has a blatant disregard for the truth and is determined to turn the misleading claims and tired talking points of a handful of billionaires and their lobbyists into pro-polluter policy. Pulling out of the Paris Accord will have long lasting negative impacts on the health, safety, and prosperity of our families.”

    Departure from the Paris Agreement would make the United States one of only three nations not participating in the international plan to fight climate change. The others are Syria and Nicaragua.

    “Trump’s decision will be a self-inflicted wound on our allies’ trust in American leadership,” said Rep. Beyer (D-VA). “The Paris Agreement was a vision reflecting decisive action, hope, ingenuity, and the ideals with which we would define our country’s place in the world. Withdrawal from that agreement represents a triumph of ignorance, nativism, and political pandering, and the message it sends to other countries will be disastrous for the relationships which have built and sustained our prosperity.”

    The House Safe Climate Caucus was formed in 2009 to raise awareness both within Congress and with the public about the many ways climate change is affecting the world. It has 52 Members, including co-chairs Lowenthal and Beyer.