A Time for Bold Action in Richmond

Virginia’s 2018 legislative session begins on January 10. On January 7, I spoke at the Loudoun delegation’s legislative hearing in Leesburg, Virginia. Here is what I said.

President Obama said, “The climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it… and if we do not get this issue right, every other issue we deal with will be adversely affected.” Taking action on climate change is a moral imperative.

The Paris Climate Agreement sets a clear goal that must be pursued – to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century; and to achieve that goal, we must take action sooner rather than later. We must substitute clean electricity for fossil fuel use, decarbonize the power sector, and optimize the fossil fuel use that remains. Clean, renewable energy is the future and it represents an opportunity for Virginia to diversify our economy and create jobs on multiple levels.

Governor McAuliffe has taken significant executive action to set us on the right path to addressing climate change, but executive action is limited and, as we are learning, its progress is easily undone if the wrong people are elected.

Delegates, your new numbers in the house mean that we can press harder for legislative action to reshape Virginia’s energy sector and, in turn, spark economic growth. As you travel to Richmond, to do the good work, I ask you to support and fight for legislation like…

House Bill 33 which allows for consideration of carbon emissions and their impacts on health and welfare when approving electric generatng facilities,

or

House Bill 54 which establishes a tax credit for renewable energy property,

or

Senate Bill 10 which prohibits candidates from soliciting or accepting contributions from public service corporations, such as Dominion.

Lastly, I ask you to embrace and press for the goal of making Virginia’s electric power sector zero-carbon by mid-century by engaging in serious discussion and debate on changing our relationship with electric utilities and how they are regulated. Embrace the future – embrace clean, renewable distributed generation; embrace energy storage; embrace smart grids; embrace energy efficiency; and open the door fully for individual energy choice and independence and for a zero-carbon Virginia.

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