Virginia announces move to tackle carbon pollution at the state level

By taking action at the state level, Virginia aims to find climate change solutions, in particular by focusing on cutting the carbon pollution generated by burning fossil fuels for power. (© Jackson Smith)

Today Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe took a decisive step forward to fight climate change and to show the nation that, despite key environmental protections being undermined at the federal level, Virginia is moving forward.

“The Governor is showing Virginia and America what true leadership looks like. Climate change poses the single greatest environmental threat the world has ever known. This bold action demonstrates that when Washington fumbles and falls, with the right leadership, the states can lead,” said SELC attorney Will Cleveland. “Hopefully Governor McAuliffe’s actions today will inspire policymakers in other states to follow a similar course.”

McAuliffe’s directive tackles reducing carbon emissions by ordering the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to write regulations cutting carbon pollution from the power sector. This is the strongest move yet from a southern state to push back on the recent attempts to rollback the Clean Power Plan.

This decision, as well as several pieces of legislation in the 2017 General Assembly session focused on renewable energy, are outgrowths of a panel commissioned by the governor and consulted by SELC. The group is charged with identifying opportunities for progress toward climate change solutions in Virginia.

SELC remains committed to ensuring that renewable energy is made affordable and easily accessible to all and that elected officials across the South continue to do the right thing for citizens, the region, the nation, and the global community.

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