by Bob Tate
February 4, 2020
Honorable Chair Sullivan:
I urge a yes vote on HB77.
My name is Bob Tate. I live in McLean and am honored to offer these remarks to you today. I am here speaking solely for myself as a resident of the Commonwealth and a proud, patriotic citizen of our United States of America. In our finest hours we have served as a beacon of liberty, progress and inspiration for the world. We can–and must–do so yet again.
With regard to climate change, the words of Albert Einstein in a different context apply today. Everything has changed…except our thinking.
In particular, what must change–and can, right here, today, if you in your wisdom so choose–is our political thinking about “what is possible.” Members of the Subcommittee, you alone–not *any* interested others–have the power, the authority, and with it the responsibility to act for the present and the future of our Commonwealth, our country, and our planet.
We can continue to kick the proverbial can down the road. We can temporize, equivocate and cower in the face of this challenge. Or we can liberate ourselves from self-imposed shackled thinking about what is “politically possible”, look posterity squarely in the eye, and act boldly and with conviction.
The global scientific community has told us what we must do. We did not know how we were going to land a human on the moon. We just did it. We committed the necessary resources and, together, through trial and error and the application of all that humans in our finest hours have proven capable of accomplishing, figured it out.
In that case, the survival of our planet was not at stake. It is now. We–including each of you– can choose to approach the climate change issue with the same mindset of commitment and determination to do not what is convenient, not what is easy, but what is hard, and what must be done. A good conscience will be our only sure reward.
To move to governing prose, as those most knowledgeable and forthcoming acknowledge, both HB77 and the Virginia Clean Economy Act feature strengths and shortcomings. My fervent hope is that Governor Northam will convene a special legislative session on this issue. To get it right we will need to draw from both bills. And we will need to hear from those, credentialed and uncredentialed, experts and ordinary citizens alike, with expertise, constructive suggestions and important cautionary notes to offer, in open public hearings held in all corners of the Commonwealth.
This is a problem which affects us all and will require the best thinking and efforts of all of us to address.
Surely we have the wherewithal, if we only demonstrate the will, to get this matter right. Crucial decisions rest in your hands. Today and in the days and weeks to come, may you find the wisdom and the courage to provide the leadership the Commonwealth, our country, and our planet so desperately need.
Thank you very much.
Very respectfully submitted,