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Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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Video: Rep. Donald McEachin Questions BOEM at Virginia Public Meeting on...

Great work by Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA04) as usual - do NOT allow oil drilling off Virginia's coast under any circumstances. McEachin Questioned BOEM at...

Governor-Elect Ralph Northam Requests Virginia Exemption from Trump Administration’s Offshore Drilling...

Smart move by Gov-elect Ralph Northam. Governor-Elect Ralph Northam Requests Virginia Exemption from Trump Administration’s Offshore Drilling Plan RICHMOND — In a letter to U.S. Secretary of...

Thursday News: “We’re at a Crossroads in Our Democracy”; McAuliffe Went...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, January 11. Zinke Says Florida Got Offshore Drilling Exemption...

VA Sierra Club: “Trump’s reckless plan for a drilling ‘do over’...

From the Virginia Sierra Club: Trump Administration Releases Plan to Recklessly Expand Drilling off Atlantic Coast Today, Donald Trump’s Department of the Interior (DOI) released a...

Great News if You Care About Protecting Virginia’s Coast, Stopping Runaway...

The following statements from Rep. Gerry Connolly and Lt. Governor Ralph Northam both praise Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's announcement this morning that the Atlantic...

Video: Hillary Clinton Says She Will Oppose Offshore Oil Drilling Off...

I'm glad to hear this, as an oil spill in the Arctic would be a catastrophe, and an oil spill off Virginia's coast could...

Tell the Feds: No Atlantic Offshore Drilling

NoAtlanticDrillingStickerThe federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has proposed a draft plan for Atlantic offshore drilling that includes drilling off the Virginia coast.  Next week they are holding two Open House meetings in/near Virginia to which the public is encouraged to attend, learn more and ask questions.

DC Meeting:
Mon., Feb. 9, 2:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Embassy Suites Washington DC - Convention Center, 900 10th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

Norfolk VA Meeting:
Wed., Feb. 11, 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Sheraton Norfolk Waterside, 777 Waterside Drive, Norfolk, VA 23505

Click here to RSVP to either meeting.

BOEM has also opened up a public comment period (deadline March 30) on its oil and gas development plan.  Click here to send them a message saying "No" to Atlantic drilling.


What has changed since the 2010 Gulf oil disaster that would now allow the Atlantic to be opened up for offshore drilling? Answer on the flip...

Your 2015 Legislative Session Cheat Sheet, Part 2: Fossil Fuels

My last post covered clean energy bills introduced into the 2015 legislative session, which began last week and ends at the end of February. Time to hustle on to the oil, gas, and coal bills.

Coal subsidies
Coal companies claim to be victims of a "war on coal," but for nearly two decades they've been conducting a war on Virginia taxpayers. Virginia's tax code offers so many preferences that a 2012 study concluded the coal industry costs Virginia more than it gives back. Among other preferences, two different subsidies in the Code have allowed coal companies to siphon off tens of millions of dollars annually from the General Fund since 1996.

The subsidies come with nominal sunset dates, currently January 1, 2017. Over nearly twenty years, no matter how fat or lean the state's financial condition, the legislature has repeatedly passed extensions, and they are being asked to do so again this year. HB 1879 (Kilgore) and SB 741 (Carrico) would extend the giveaway out to 2022.

(According to VPAP.org, Delegate Kilgore, chairman of the Commerce and Labor Committee, gets a check for $10,000 every year from coal giant Alpha Natural Resources. Alpha also gives ten grand a year to Senator Carrico, who just happens to sit on Senate Finance, which will hear the bill. I mention these facts only in passing. It would be cynical to suggest a connection.)

Supporters of the subsidies seem to believe coal companies need the inducement to blow up our mountains and dump waste into stream valleys. And they maintain this is a good thing for the people of Southwest Virginia, who can enjoy gainful employment by participating in the destruction of their communities.

The coal companies certainly do benefit from this arrangement, but coal jobs have declined to less than 5,000 total in Virginia today, and it's clear to everyone that Southwest Virginia needs to diversify its economy or face a future of poverty and high unemployment. The coal subsidies suck up money that could be spent on new jobs and a better-educated workforce.  

McAuliffe becomes latest Democrat to support offshore drilling for oil and...

Cross-posted from that great revenue generator Richmond Progressive Examiner.

I won't be diplomatic about Democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe's change of face regarding offshore oil drilling. In an about face that dovetailed both U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and Mark Warner's (Virginia) bill to overturn the federal hold on offshore drilling in coastal waters, McAuliffe expressed support for offshore drilling for oil.

Previously, McAuliffe expressed his support for exploratory drilling for natural gas, not oil. With his Democratic pals pushing to throw more oil and natural gas rigs into America's coastal waters, McAuliffe has adjudged that the political winds are ripe for a political change of face and a stab in the back to environmentally conscious Virginians who so ardently backed his candidacy.

"Terry believes we need to support coal workers, both through increased exports throughout the world, and workforce training to ensure that displaced workers can find new careers," McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin said. "The fact is, we need an all of the above energy policy that focuses on increasing renewable energy like wind and solar while supporting existing Virginia industries."

Support coal workers, WTF?! I have a bitter pill I'd like the coal industry and its employees to swallow: your time is up, so get over it and find jobs elsewhere.

“All of the Above”: Most Meaningless Slogan Ever

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

We elect politicians to make decisions.  When they refuse to take a stand, it's our job to hold them accountable.  

Yet somehow that rule seems to have a huge loophole when it comes to energy.  Because the one thing politicians across the spectrum seem to agree on is the need for an "all of the above" energy policy.  And we allow them to get away with this cop-out.  

"All of the above" is not a policy, it is the absence of a policy.  Have you ever heard of an "all of the above" foreign policy?  Maybe an "all of the above" economic policy?    How about an "all of the above" policy on abortion?  Such things sound absurd because they are.

Granted, politics and government often leave us with policies that incorporate opposing positions, once we've ground through the process of give-and-take. But rarely does anyone start with an "all of the above" position.  It's where you may end up after you've tried to protect your ground while giving away as little of your positions, and your soul, as you can.  If you start with "all of the above" as your position, you're pretty much guaranteed to get nothing.  

Remember that famous quote from Martin Luther King? "I have a dream...of an 'all of the above' civil rights policy where we simultaneously protect and deny the rights of all Americans."  Me neither.  

Why is energy treated differently?