Activists, lawmakers rally for Green New Deal

environment climate changeDozens of Virginia activists, legislators, and community leaders rallied Tuesday in support of a Green New Deal for Virginia.

Building off of new momentum on Capitol Hill for action from Congress and from the states, Virginia activists discussed their own version of the Green New Deal in the Commonwealth, in the form of a House Resolution that was recently introduced in the Virginia General Assembly.

Momentum for a Green New Deal at the national level has reached a fever pitch, with overwhelming bipartisan support for the idea across the country. Del. Sam Rasoul (D-11) recently introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal Virginia, which promotes a “just transition” to a 100% clean energy economy with large-scale investments in efficiency and jobs. Never before has such a sweeping vision been put forward to address climate, energy, and equity in the Virginia legislature.

“Virginia has the opportunity to become a leader in renewable energy and transition away from fossil fuels,” said Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-31). “As a mother, I know this is the most important work we must do in order to fight climate change and protect the planet for all of our children and grandchildren.”

“We at the CCAN Action Fund are fighting for an equitable energy future where dirty fossil fuels are phased out and Virginia is powered by 100% clean energy. It’s time for the people of Virginia to write the rules, not energy monopolies like Dominion,” said Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director of the CCAN Action Fund.

“You cannot separate social, economic, and environmental justice issues,” said Rasoul. “Virginia has the opportunity to make major strides in eliminating poverty and ensuring prosperity in the Commonwealth by creating tens of thousands of good paying jobs in clean energy.”

The “Green New Deal Virginia” coalition, spearheaded by Rasoul and Guzman with several advocacy organizations, aims to put Virginia on a just transition to 100% clean energy. The members of the coalition include the Sunrise Movement, NAACP Virginia State Conference, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, Virginia Organizing Project, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and a host of additional intersectional organizations.

“The VSC NAACP is proud to be a part of the Green New Deal Virginia. Communities of color historically have had disproportionately less access to jobs and wealth creation opportunities in the energy sector and polluting facilities are far too often sited in communities of color,” said President Kevin Chandler, VSC NAACP, when the coalition was first announced. “We are pleased that the plan includes a sharp focus on eliminating poverty in Virginia by promoting large investments in renewable energy, tens of thousands of high paying green jobs, clean air and water and local-scale agriculture.”

This coalition is breaking down silos around economic, environmental, and social justice issues which impact our Commonwealth and seeks to be the most diverse coalition for justice in Virginia.

Policy themes of the Virginia Green New Deal include:

  • A rapid 100% renewables plan that leaves no workers or communities behind

  • Direct large investments & job-training programs in renewables, building an energy efficient

  • smart-grid, residential and commercial energy efficiency, and more

  • Clean water and air for all Virginians

  • Investments in local-scale agriculture in communities across Virginia

Common Goals:

  • Tens of thousands of high paying green jobs which would require strong enforcement of labor, workplace safety, wage standard, and the right to unionize

  • Investing in and supporting farmers to expand sustainable locally sourced agriculture

  • Transform Virginia towards clean energy self-sufficiency

  • Creating a Commonwealth that provides for an equal opportunity for all communities to have clean air, water, and green energy

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