Augusta Free Press

House Democrats critical of GOP on efforts to derail Clean Power Plan

Today, in a party-line vote, the Virginia House of Delegates passed House Bill 2, patroned by Delegate O’Quinn. The measure will require the General Assembly to give final approval to the plan developed by the Department of Environmental Quality to comply with the Clean Power Plan before the state plan is submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The action increases the risk that the EPA will impose its own plan on Virginia instead of Virginia stakeholders developing an approach unique to Virginia.

“With 2015 being the hottest year on record – and the Virginia coastline, home to vital military and economic assets, feeling the effects of climate change and sea level rise – now more than ever is the time to act on real legislation such as the Clean Power Plan. Inaction is a nonstarter,” said Delegate Alfonso Lopez (49th – Fairfax). “EPA’s Clean Power Plan gives Virginia an opportunity to reduce carbon pollution, mitigate the consequences of climate change, and grow our economy through investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. We need to develop a truly strong and unique Virginia plan to comply with the CPP. By delaying creation of a strong, unique Virginia compliance plan, as HB2 proposes, we significantly increase the risk that the EPA will impose its own federal compliance plan on us.”

“The Clean Power Plan is a great opportunity for Virginia – we ought to embrace it. It will create jobs, helping to diversify our New Virginia Economy. Virginia could create 6,800 jobs every year between now and 2030 and increase state gross domestic product by $286 million through investments in clean energy and energy efficiency resources,” said Delegate Rip Sullivan (48th – McLean). “Americans understand that clean energy is good for our economy, our health, our climate, and our national security. We are in the midst of an energy revolution – Virginia should be leading it. House Bill 2 will create road blocks for the Clean Power Plan, and stand in the way of the enormous and important opportunities that the Plan creates.”