Tim Kaine statement on EPA Clean Power Plan
Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on the United States’ final plan to reduce emissions of the carbon pollution responsible for climate change, which calls on U.S. power plants to generate 32% less carbon pollution by the year 2030 than they do today.
“The Clean Power Plan marks the biggest step the United States has ever taken to address the pollution responsible for climate change. The consensus is clear – from an overwhelming majority of scientists, to land-use planners in low-lying coastal regions like Hampton Roads, to the U.S. military, to His Holiness Pope Francis – all agree that climate change is real, it is driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, and we must do something about it.
“Virginia’s contribution to this effort will be a 37% reduction in its power plant pollution by 2030. I’m confident we can meet this goal because we already achieved almost this exact reduction between 2005 and 2012, without a Clean Power Plan. Last year, I wrote to the EPA after the proposal came out, arguing that state targets should give more credit to states like Virginia that reduced emissions before they were required to by law, as well as advocating inclusion of a sensible way to adjust the plan if there are unforeseen impacts on electric reliability. It appears that the EPA has acknowledged these suggestions by creating a “safety valve” to preempt undue impacts on reliability and by recognizing Virginia’s prior success by assigning it a target that is about 15% easier to meet than before.
“We must also ensure that Virginia’s traditional coal communities have a place in a cleaner energy future. I have sponsored legislation to ramp up the federal contribution to clean coal R&D and promoted career and technical education and workforce training programs so that these communities can be on the forefront of clean coal innovation while also diversifying their regional economies.
“I’ve never accepted the idea that we must choose between growing the economy and protecting the environment. Ensuring our energy production is cleaner tomorrow than today is good for our economy, as well as good for the planet. In 1962, President Kennedy asked us to go to the moon in seven years. We did it. In 2015, President Obama has asked us to generate a third less air pollution in fifteen years. We can do this.”
As Governor of Virginia, Kaine set a renewable electricity goal of 15% by 2025, expanded the use of lower-emitting natural gas and nuclear power, and issued the Commonwealth’s first comprehensive climate and clean energy plans. He also supported the construction of the state-of-the-art Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County, one of the most advanced new coal plants constructed in the United States. In the Senate, Kaine has been a leading voice on the need to address the impacts of climate change in Virginia, including sea level rise, and to protect communities and military installations from recurrent flooding.