Ralph Northam unveils environmental policy platform

ralph northamRalph Northam unveiled on Thursday his environmental policy platform and his pledge to fight Donald Trump’s attempts to weaken environmental protections and make Virginia a leader in state-driven conservation solutions.

His plan includes:

 

  • Fighting climate change and sea level rise by ensuring Virginia meets the standards put forth in the Clean Power Plan, increasing resiliency in Hampton Roads, and opposing drilling off Virginia’s coast.

  • Build on Chesapeake Bay Restoration Progress by sticking with its Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution diet, and increasing oyster, wetland, and shoreline restoration projects.

  • Remove barriers to the development and use of clean energy by encouraging competition and energy choice while facilitating decentralized generation and building electric and clean vehicle infrastructure.

 

    • Give vulnerable communities a voice by forming an environmental justice task force to address environmental threats in vulnerable communities, particularly in the areas of urban air quality, energy infrastructure siting, and drinking water.

 

  • Get a full accounting of the costs and environmental impact of coal ash sites before permits are issued for their closure.

 

  • Oppose lifting the 35 year ban on uranium mining

  • Allow localities to regulate or oppose fracking

  • Ensure a thorough and environmentally responsible permitting processes for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipeline projects as permitted under state and federal law.

  • Create interagency coordination to pick up the slack for a weakened Environmental Protection Agency via a “Conservation Cabinet” led by the Secretary of Natural Resources.

Of the plan, Northam said:

“I grew up on the Eastern Shore, with the Chesapeake Bay as my backyard, and one of the reasons I got into politics was to restore its health and beauty. With Trump’s dangerous cuts, we need to be ever vigilant in Virginia about standing up to the threat of polluting our waters. This plan represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring our natural resources and landscape can be enjoyed for generations to come, and continue to provide economic benefits to the communities where they are located. I’m proud to present this vision for a healthy and vibrant Virginia, and as governor, I will be committed to protecting it.”