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Tuesday News: Colbert, Stewart on “Sociopath” Trump; Gillespie Goes “Full Trumpist,”...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, October 10. ‘What the f*ck is wrong with this...

AG Mark Herring Tells EPA to Retract Pruitt’s Erroneous and Inappropriate...

Good work by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. And no, far-right-wing Republican John Adams would not be on the right side on this -...

Video: Extreme VA GOP Nominee for Attorney General Wishes We Had...

For anyone who still thinks that the Virginia GOP's nominee for Attorney General, John Adams, is not an extremist, check out this video (h/t...

Basic change in utility business and regulation is inevitable: Advanced energy...

Cross posted from Power for the People VA Photo credit: Sierra Club Occasionally I ask other people to write for this blog, not merely because I...

Battles over climate and coal go unresolved, but Virginians still paying...

by Ivy Main; cross posted from Power for the People VA Students rally for climate action in Alexandria, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Sierra Club. Virginia’s 2016...

Why does Dominion Power support EPA’s Clean Power Plan?

by Ivy Main; cross posted from Power for the People VA When utility giant Dominion Resources Inc. filed a brief in support of the federal...

Dominion Files Brief in Favor of EPA Clean Power Plan

Here at Blue Virginia, we never hesitate to blast Dominion, or the politicians they keep in their air-conditioned kennels, for all these folks do...

The Death of Scalia as Biblical Morality Tale from a 1950s...

When I was a kid, growing up in the 1950s, I loved the religious spectaculars one could see at the movie theaters—films like The...

McAuliffe touts gas and nuclear, says it’s not his job to...

McAuliffe touts gas and nuclear, says it's not his job to worry about risks

A forum on climate change held last Wednesday in Richmond was supposed to be about moving to clean energy, but it sometimes seemed to be more of a platform for Governor Terry McAuliffe to tout plans for more natural gas and nuclear energy in the Commonwealth. It wasn't that he neglected energy efficiency, wind and solar-he had plenty of good things to say about these, and even a few initiatives to boast of. It was just that they paled against the backdrop of massive new natural gas and nuclear projects, to which he seems even more firmly committed.

The event was a conference called "The Next Frontier of Climate Change," organized by The New Republic magazine and the College of William and Mary. Moderator Jeffrey Ball of Stanford University shaped the conference as a series of interviews, beginning with Governor McAuliffe.

Ball started out asking about the politics of climate change, which gave McAuliffe a chance to reiterate his convictions that climate change is real, that we can see it happening today in Hampton Roads, and that part of meeting the challenge involves supporting the kind of 21st century technologies that will also make Virginia an exciting and attractive place to live. That includes offshore wind and solar.

But McAuliffe also made it clear he sees everything through the lens of economic growth, and his top priority is attracting new business to fill the gap left by shrinking federal spending in the state. "When I ran for governor," he explained, "I tried to put everything in an economic issue: what is good for the Commonwealth, how do you grow and diversify. I preside over a commonwealth that, we are the number one recipient of Department of Defense dollars, number one. Now, that's great when they're spending, but when they're cutting like they're cutting today, it has a dramatic impact."

He is also persuaded that renewable energy, even with all its job benefits, won't get him as much economic growth as cheaper fossil energy can, and his friends at Dominion Resources and its subsidiary, Dominion Virginia Power, have convinced him that means backing their plans for natural gas and nuclear.  

Tiny Virginia subcommittee tasked with deciding future of bills related to...

The EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan could reshape Virginia's energy future for the next fifteen years, and possibly permanently. If the state takes advantage of this opportunity, it will reduce carbon pollution, improve human health, save money for consumers, drive job creation in the fast-growing technology sector, and make our grid stronger and more secure.

If the state doesn't act, EPA will design its own plan for Virginia, ensuring reduced carbon emissions but without the flexibility the state would have by doing it for itself.

This presents a conundrum for Virginia's General Assembly, which is not known for embracing federal environmental regulations. The usual skepticism was on display on November 19, when the Senate and House Commerce and Labor Committees met in a joint session to take up the Clean Power Plan-or more precisely, to give utilities and the State Corporation Commission staff the chance to attack it.

At the conclusion of that meeting, the two Republican committee chairs, Senator John Watkins and Delegate Terry Kilgore, named three members of each committee-two Republicans and one Democrat from each chamber-to a special subcommittee tasked with deciding what kind of legislative action the General Assembly should take in response to the Clean Power Plan. Kilgore also named himself to the subcommittee, which now will take up any bills that Virginia legislators introduce related to the Plan.

This subcommittee has now scheduled its first meeting for December 17 at 1:00 p.m. in Senate Room A of the General Assembly building in Richmond. By law, all committee meetings are open to the public.

According to General Assembly procedure, before anyone else in the entire legislature can consider a bill, it will have to pass muster with these men. So who are these hugely important people, and what is the likelihood that they will seize this historic opportunity to make Virginia a leader in clean energy?