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McAuliffe releases plan to address climate change, secure Virginia’s clean energy future by 2035

Terry McAuliffe
Terry McAuliffe

Terry McAuliffe is back at it with bold plans, the latest promising to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2035, aligning Virginia with President Biden’s climate goals.

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats to the future of our Commonwealth and our communities, yet Republicans continue to deny its impact, putting Virginians’ lives and futures at risk,” said McAuliffe, the former governor running for a second go at it in 2021. “Securing our clean energy future is critical to securing our future, and I promise you that Virginia will lead the nation in tackling climate change and transitioning to clean energy.

“We’re going to get Virginia to 100 percent clean energy by 2035 by partnering with President Biden and investing critical federal dollars, secure our vital coastal communities like Hampton Roads, tackle inequities and environmental racism, and build a brighter future for all Virginians,” McAuliffe said.

Under the plan, a McAuliffe administration would leverage federal funds to invest in sea-level rise solutions that protect communities and national security interests in coastal Virginia. McAuliffe also pledges to try to secure federal funds to conduct a full coastal study to identify the risks and needs in the region to prepare for emergencies, develop climate resilient shelters and make comprehensive disaster plans.

McAuliffe would also work to restore Virginia’s aquatic ecosystems and increase funding for innovative projects like Hampton Roads’ Sustainable Water Infrastructure for Tomorrow program, which is projected to save the region $2 billion.

“We know that climate change and pollution burdens communities of color the most with disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards, extreme heat and pollutants — and these communities are less prepared to adapt to a changing climate and its destructive impacts,” Virginia Beach Del. Alex Askew said.

“Virginia needs bold, proven leadership that can bring us out of this climate crisis and into a stronger, more equitable future. That’s why I’m so proud to support Terry and his plan.  During his administration, Terry aggressively pursued and secured a $120 million grant to mitigate flooding in two predominantly Black communities in Hampton Roads. He’s done it before, and I know he will fight for our communities again as Virginia’s next governor.”

The McAuliffe plan would focus on equitably increasing access to clean forms of energy and transportation through expanded Power Purchase Agreements for rooftop solar and significant investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Additionally, the plan would modernize Virginia’s electric grid to create efficiencies, quickly identify outages so that power can be restored quickly after disruptions, and provide long-term cost savings for residents.

“The threat of climate change to Hampton Roads is growing more serious by the day, and each day we fail to act, our residents suffer. We need strong leadership from the highest levels of government to tackle this crisis, and I know Terry will work tirelessly to get this done,” Newport News Del. Shelly Simonds said. “Terry championed these issues when he was governor and boldly pursued policies to protect Virginia’s coast against the effects of climate change, even when Republicans fought against his efforts. I know Terry will protect coastal Virginians in cities like Hampton Roads whose future depends on it, and he will lead our transition to a 100 percent clean energy future and the good jobs that come with it.”

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press