As you can see from the following video of a vote in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee earlier today, politics in general – and Virginia politics specifically – really does make strange bedfellows at times. In this case, we’re talking about SB94 by Sen. Barbara Favola (D), which:
States that the Commonwealth Energy Policy shall include (i) establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction standards across all sectors of Virginia’s economy that target net zero carbon emissions by mid-century; (ii) enacting mandatory clean energy standards and overall strategies for reaching zero carbon in the electric power sector by 2040; (iii) incorporating requirements for technical, policy, and economic analyses and assessments that identify pathways to zero carbon that maximize Virginia’s economic development and create quality jobs; and (iv) minimizing the negative impacts of climate change and the energy transition on disadvantaged communities and prioritizing investment in these areas. The measure requires the Virginia Energy Plan to be prepared in consultation with a stakeholder group that includes representatives of consumer and environmental organizations. The measure also requires that the Virginia Energy Plan identify actions over a 10-year period consistent with the goal of the Commonwealth Energy Policy to achieve, no later than 2050, a net-zero carbon energy economy for all sectors, including electricity, transportation, building, and industrial sectors.
As you can see in the following video, the bill passed 12-2, with all Democrats voting yes, and only right-wing Republicans Mark Obenshain and Steve Newman voting no. That’s not particularly strange, but the rest of it is…interesting, let’s just say.
For instance, check out former Del. Greg Habeeb, a conservative Republican who is now working as a lobbyist (naturally – this is Virginia, after all!) for, among others, the Solar Energy Industry Association – Maryland DC Va, the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, First Solar Inc and Advanced Energy Economy. In that capacity, Habeeb is now lobbying for clean energy legislation, such as Sen. Favola’s SB94 and the Virginia Clean Economy Act. So that certainly falls into the “strange bedfellows” category.
As does the fact that the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Dominion Energy also have both come out in support of SB94, as has the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. I mean, how many times do you see those forces lined up on the same side of an energy bill? Are the times a-changing in Virginia? Or, to be more cynical about it, is this a bill that these “strange bedfellow” groups can all support because, perhaps, it doesn’t do a heck of a lot and/or have any “teeth” to it? I’m kind of leaning towards the latter explanation…how about you?