Businesses urge McAuliffe to strengthen Virginia clean energy economy

earthToday, more than 100 Virginia business owners, civic officials and health professionals called on Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other state leaders to implement a strong plan to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan sets the first ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants within the United States.

The businesses emphasized the importance of reducing carbon pollution for Virginia’s economy, families and small businesses.

“As the threat of climate change becomes more apparent and more dangerous, cutting carbon pollution and fighting climate change are so critical to protecting coastal businesses, real estate, and investment,” Sheryl Crawley, the owner of C&C Real Estate Property Management LLC. in Hampton, said. “The business community is calling on Governor McAuliffe to take action and implement a strong Clean Power Plan.”

Finalized in August 2015, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan sets targets for states to reduce carbon pollution from U.S. power plants.

“The Clean Power Plan is the largest step the U.S. has ever taken to tackle global warming, and gives Virginia the chance to join with the states and local governments that have been leading the way on clean energy,” Sarah Bucci, State Director of Environment Virginia, said. “We support Governor McAuliffe’s plans for Virginia to take the necessary steps to cut dangerous pollution and along with over 100 businesses, health professionals and civic leaders urge support for a plan that spurs the development of energy efficiency, wind and solar power that protects our health and communities.”

Once fully implemented, the clean air standards will reduce carbon pollution by 32 percent from the 2005 levels.

“Fighting climate change is a business opportunity,” Robyn Chandler, owner of Cary St. Café, an award winning green-certified restaurant in Richmond, said. “A plan designed for Virginia’s economy will create jobs, encourage investment and manufacturing and drive the innovation that makes Virginia a great place to do business.”

Governor McAuliffe has estimated that nearly 40 thousand energy efficiency jobs can be created here in Virginia. Additionally, 10 thousand offshore wind jobs and 14 thousand solar power generation jobs are possible with a focus on clean energy. In 2014 alone, clean energy created roughly $3.9 billion dollars in revenue in Virginia.

Steve Goodwin, a Richmond based attorney and owner of the Law Offices of Steven D. Goodwin, spoke on the steps small businesses are taking to combat climate change and boost the state’s economy. “For our state, the economic benefits to climate action are clear,” Goodwin said. “Our economy and our small businesses depend on a strong state plan to comply with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.”

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