Thanks to Dominion Energy’s corrupt control of the Virginia General Assembly – and yes, sadly, it’s both Republicans like Terry Kilgore, Frank Wagner and many others and ALSO “Dominion Dems” like Dick $a$law – of course we can’t have nice things (when it comes to energy and environmental policy) in the Commonwealth. For instance, this last session, the Dominion-occupied legislature completely and MASSIVELY failed when it comes to clean energy. Among other things, Dominion and its lackeys trashed:
- A freer and more open market for renewable energy at all levels, including unrestricted use of third-party financing for renewable energy, an end to punitive standby charges and arbitrary limits on customer solar, and new opportunities for local governments to install solar cost-effectively.
- A mandate for utilities to achieve real energy efficiency results, not just to throw their customers’ money at programs.
- An energy efficiency revolving fund to offer no-interest loans to local governments, public schools and public institutions of higher learning.
- The right to choose an electricity supplier for renewable energy, instead of being restricted to more expensive and less desirable utility offerings (if available at all).
- Tax credits for solar on landfills, brownfields and economic opportunity zones.
- Rebates for low and moderate-income Virginians who install solar.
- A new revenue source for spending on climate adaptation efforts, energy efficiency programs, and coalfields transition, made possible by the auctioning of carbon allowances to power plants as part of joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; half the lowered carbon emissions would have been achieved through installing wind and solar.
- Movement towards an eventual phase-out of fossil fuels.
- Stronger assurance that customers won’t be overcharged for the use of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline or other fracked-gas pipelines owned by utility affiliates.
In sum, Dominion and its bought-and-paid for legislature are severely harming Virginia’s environment and its citizens, every single day. They’re also ensuring that Virginia fall further and further behind other states (and countries) in the race to seize the enormous, multi-trillion-dollar, 21st-century economic opportunity offered by clean energy scaling. For instance, check out the latest from New Mexico, where both the governor’s mansion and the legislature are controlled by Democrats.
The New Mexico House of Representatives passed the Energy Transition Act Tuesday afternoon, sending the carbon-free electricity bill to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Her opinions on it are known: she campaigned on raising the share of renewable energy, and endorsed the ETA in a recent column…
…Once signed, the legislation will commit the state to achieving zero-carbon electricity from public utilities by 2045. The bill also imposes interim renewable energy targets of 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2040.
The Senate passed the bill last week, 32-9. The House passed it 43-22.
The legislation would enter New Mexico into the company of Hawaii, California and Washington, D.C., which have committed to eliminating carbon emissions from their grids. A dozen other states have proposed similar goals.
In stark contrast, here in Virginia, we were forced to suffer through a disgraceful, dishonest campaign of disinformation and outright lies regarding Del. Sam Rasoul’s well-intentioned-but-politically-doomed HB1635 (“Fossil fuel projects moratorium; clean energy mandates”). Particularly heinous in their unhinged lies were Del. Tim Hugo (R-Dominion, Fossil Fuel Industry), Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Coal, Dominion) and House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Head of the Entire Crazy GOP Caucus). It’s important to stress, over and over again, that there’s literally Z-E-R-O truth to the bullshit these right-wing nuts and fossil fuel industry puppets were spewing out, that their horror stories on energy policy (or on the ERA, or on gun violence prevention legislation, or on abortion, or on voting rights, or on anything really) are *completely* fabricated, and that they all need to be voted out of office, if at all possible, or at least sent to minority status, where they can do a lot less damage.
Taking back the Virginia General Assembly – that’s our job for November 2019, and we’d better not take our eyes off the ball. In short, we have ONE job, let’s get it done!