Advertising


Blog Roll
Who's My Legislator?

Virginia Blogs
All Things Education
Augusta Free Press
Bacon's Rebellion
Crew of 42
DemRulz
Dixie Pig
Greater Greater Washington
Loudoun Progress
Moonhowlings
Ox Road South Blog
Pilot on Politics" blog
Power for the People
Richmonder
Richmond Sunlight
RVA Politics
Shad Plank
Vivian Paige
Waldo Jaquith


Find more about Weather in Arlington, VA
Click for weather forecast
Search




Advanced Search


Energy and Environment

Letter: Virginia Environmental Groups Urge EPA Not to Count Forests as Fuel

by: lowkell

Tue Apr 21, 2015 at 13:53:48 PM EDT

The following letter (bolding added by me) from Virginia environmental groups was sent in February, but it remains highly relevant, as the EPA's Clean Power Plan nears its one-year comment period. It's also highly relevant - and important - if you care about Virginia's forests, not to mention the clean water, air, habitat, recreational opportunities, tourism dollars, etc. that depend on those forests. Finally, note that on May 4, from 7 to 8:30 pm at Arlington Central Library, there will be a presentation entitled, "Burning Trees for Electricity:  How EPA's Clean Power Plan Puts Forests at Risk in Virginia and Across the Nation," spnosored by  Michelle's Earth Foundation, the Partnership for Policy Integrity, the Sierra Club Great Falls Group and the Sierra Club Mt. Vernon Group. It sounds like it's well worth checking out.
February 25, 2015

Gina McCarthy
Administrator
Office of the Administrator 1101A
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

We are a group of environmental organizations located in Virginia. We support the Clean Power Plan and believe it has significant potential to reduce power sector emissions in our state, in particular through the expansion of zero-emissions renewable energy and energy efficiency. However, we are extremely concerned that if EPA treats biomass as carbon neutral under the final Clean Power Plan, it will openly invite Dominion Virginia Power, the dominant utility in Virginia, to burn wood from forests to help meet its emission reduction obligations under the Plan.

As EPA knows, wood is the fuel of choice for biomass power plants because it contains more energy and is more plentiful than other forms of biomass. Therefore, labeling biomass as emitting zero carbon would amount to a policy that promotes forest-cutting to reduce carbon emissions. Such a policy would contradict a growing body of science, including peer-reviewed studies in leading journals, commissioned by the state of Massachusetts. This research has shown that biomass power actually increases emissions relative to fossil fuels, and that it takes several decades for new forest growth to re-sequester the carbon released when forests are cut for fuel. In addition, these studies show that burning forestry residues, the fuel Dominion claims to burn, also increases carbon emissions and that it takes years to decades before such emissions are offset.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 755 words in story)

SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive Sees Fossil Fuels Becoming the "Alternative" Source of Energy

by: lowkell

Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 17:41:42 PM EDT

Cross posted from Scaling Green, and recommended reading for all Virginia legislators, members of the State Corporation Commission, Dominion Power executives, etc. Enjoy! :)

We wrote recently about new polling, produced for Clean Edge and SolarCity, that found enormous support among Americans for clean energy.  For instance, by a nearly unanimous 87%-7% margin, Americans said that renewable energy is important to America's future. Also, by a 74%-12% margin, U.S. homeowners "back the continuation of federal tax incentives that support the growth of solar and wind." Americans strongly oppose, by a 61%-24% margin, efforts by electric utilities aimed at "being able to charge an additional fee for solar powered homes and businesses." Finally, asked which energy sources they view as "most important to America's energy future," solar power came out on top (50% of homeowners agreed), with wind power second (42%), and energy efficiency (25) also in the top four. In contrast, fossil fuels like coal (8%) and oil (17%) scored near the bottom.

Today, Clean Edge and SolarCity held a webinar on these poll results, with some fascinating insights provided by Lyndon Rive of SolarCity, Ron Pernick of Clean Edge, and pollster John Zogby.  A few that jumped out at us include the following.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 491 words in story)

Dominion's gamble on gas looks risky for ratepayers

by: ivymain

Fri Apr 17, 2015 at 16:37:14 PM EDT

Dominion Resources and its regulated subsidiary, Dominion Virginia Power, are gambling big on natural gas. But while the utility giant will be a winner if gas prices stay low over the next 20 years, the risk of losing this bet is very real-and the risk is being borne disproportionately by Virginia consumers.

Ever since the shale gas boom sent natural gas prices into a tailspin beginning in 2008, Dominion has increasingly been putting its chips into gas. Its Virginia subsidiary just completed a 1,329 megawatt (MW) natural gas plant in Warren County, began construction last year on a 1,358 MW gas plant in Brunswick County, and last month announced plans for a 1,600 MW plant in Greenville County, to be operational in 2019. Virginia ratepayers will foot the bill for construction costs, plus the cost of operating and fueling these mammoth plants for decades to come.

But while Virginians tend to think of Dominion as an electricity provider, its bigger business line is in natural gas transmission and storage. According to the Dominion website, its subsidiary Dominion Transmission, Inc. maintains 7,800 miles of pipeline in six states and operates what it says is one of the largest underground natural gas storage facilities. Another subsidiary operates 1,500 miles of pipeline in South Carolina and Georgia. The company is moving aggressively to add and upgrade compressor stations and build additional pipeline capacity in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

It is also angling to add a massive 42-inch diameter, 550-mile gas pipeline to run from West Virginia through Virginia to the coast in North Carolina. Promising a vast new supply of cheap fracked gas for industrial users, Dominion has won the support of lawmakers like Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe while galvanizing opposition from landowners and environmentalists.

Meanwhile, Dominion has another game afoot, with plans to begin exporting liquefied natural gas from its Cove Point, Maryland facility. Upgrading the facility will cost the company $3.8 billion, and running the liquefaction facility will require 240 MW of power (using more natural gas). Natural gas is so much more expensive in foreign markets that Dominion considers the gamble worthwhile, even as it cites a U.S. Energy Information Administration study for the proposition that little or no natural gas would be exported if the U.S. price "increases much above current expectations."

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 934 words in story)

Video: UMW Students Forcibly Removed & Arrested During Peaceful Sit-In for Fossil Fuel Divestment

by: lowkell

Fri Apr 17, 2015 at 12:37:47 PM EDT

From the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN):

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - A 21-day, peaceful student sit-in for fossil fuel divestment at the University of Mary Washington was forcibly ended Wednesday night after university officials called in the state police to evict the students. Over 20 students with the group Divest UMW were forcibly removed from an administrative office, and two students and one community member were arrested and charged with trespassing. Video of the arrests is available from a Free Lance-Star reporter who was on the scene.

The Divest UMW sit-in began three weeks ago after the university's Board of Visitors rejected-without any deliberation or discussion-students' simple proposal to establish a subcommittee to study the issue of divesting their endowment from fossil fuels.

Today, the university's Board of Visitors will formally meet on campus for the first time since the student sit-in began, and students are holding a march and "Rally for Student Voice" in response starting at 3:00 p.m. (Follow @DivestUMW on Twitter for updates.)

As reported by the Free Lance-Star, board members appeared divided on the issue during a meeting held on campus yesterday to discuss approval of minutes from the March meeting in which Rector Holly Cuellar dismissed the students' proposal. Member Carlos del Toro reportedly said, "I, as one member of this board, think additional recommendations should be made considering divestment. I believe there needs to be further discussion. I believe I am not alone in this opinion."

Drew Gallagher, Campus Organizer at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, had the following statement in response to the forcible eviction and arrest of students:

"We're disappointed that University of Mary Washington officials resorted to calling in the state police to end a 21-day, peaceful sit-in for fossil fuel divestment. These students have shown remarkable leadership in their fight to remove morally unacceptable investments in the fossil fuel industry from their university's endowment. We need this same leadership from school officials and the Board of Visitors. Restricting free speech and assembly will not solve the climate crisis. We urge UMW officials to drop the charges against their students, and work with them for climate solutions."

"Students from across the country understand the severity of the climate crisis, and are leading the way in demanding solutions. So far, over 20 colleges and universities across the country have stood with students and pledged to divest from the fossil fuel companies wrecking their future. University of Mary Washington administrators are facing growing protests because, like those at Harvard, Tulane, the University of Colorado, Yale, and Swarthmore, they have so far stood on the wrong side of history. By ignoring the voices of their students on fossil fuel divestment, University of Mary Washington officials are failing to heed the warnings of scientists-including those on their own campus."

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

Breaking: UMW Threatens Police Action Against Students Demanding Fossil Fuel Divestment

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 15, 2015 at 17:37:56 PM EDT

Click on the image to "embiggen." As for UMW, how about they just divest from planet-killing fossil fuels instead of acting like a bunch of goons towards their own students, especially when those students are on the right side of history?
Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Sierra Club Protests VA Chamber's "Orwellian-named 'Energy and Sustainability' Conference"

by: lowkell

Tue Apr 14, 2015 at 13:13:05 PM EDT

From the Virginia Sierra Club -- good work, keep it up!
Dominion Resources doesn't just pollute our air, water, and climate. The company pollutes our politics too. And it's not acting alone. Dominion is a member/ supporter of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as are two other big Virginia coal-burning carbon polluters- Appalachian Power (AEP) and the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC). ODEC is complicit through its participation in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

On Tuesday, April 14 we demonstrated against Dominion and its ALEC partners outside the VA Chamber of Commerce's Orwellian-named "Energy and Sustainability" Conference. A conference panel discussion on the EPA Clean Power Plan included representatives from ALEC supporters Dominion, AEP and ODEC and no clean energy representatives. When coal-burning ALEC supporters dominate a conference on sustainability, it's time for the people to stand up and say "enough."

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

As sea level rise accelerates, buying shorefront property becomes a game of musical chairs

by: ivymain

Sat Apr 11, 2015 at 16:27:08 PM EDT

Thank God for climate change deniers. They may eventually be the only buyers for shorefront real estate.

Sea level rise may not cause widespread flooding until later in this century or into the next one, but real estate deals involve long timelines: the useful life of a new house or a commercial building can be at least fifty years, while an infrastructure project might last a hundred years or more.

And of course, it's one thing to lose your house, and another to lose the ground beneath it. Sea level rise means low-lying real estate now comes with an expiration date.

So smart buyers-and landowners-have to consider not just today's flood maps, but also ones that haven't been drawn yet. If a rising sea will threaten property some decades from now, it will depreciate over time, like a car. At some point only chumps and climate deniers will buy.

Head-in-the-sand posturing still dominates the headlines, like Florida Governor Rick Scott's alleged ban on the use of the term "climate change," or the North Carolina legislature's silly (and costly) attempt to legislate sea level rise out of existence. Now the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hopes to force states to get serious about climate change by requiring states to do a better job planning for natural disasters caused in part by global warming. FEMA's goal is to save money through better planning, but conservatives have attacked the requirement as politically motivated.

Meanwhile, however, many states and localities have already begun using sea level rise forecasting in their planning. The projections will help land use planners determine not just where to allow growth, but also where to defend existing development against the incursion of the sea, and where the wiser course is to retreat. And of course, the studies should inform the decisions of anyone thinking of buying property on the coast.

Two recent studies provide a picture of sea level rise in Virginia. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) issued its report in January 2013, titled Recurrent Flooding Study for Tidewater Virginia. Building on that study and others, on March 10 of this year the Sierra Club released Sea Level Rise: What Should Virginia Plan For?

Both studies agree on some pretty sobering numbers. By the end of this century, the sea level in Norfolk, Virginia, is projected to be 3.6-5 feet above the level in 1992. By that point, the sea will be rising more than half a foot per decade. The numbers are higher for Virginia than for many states, in part because the land around Hampton Roads is also sinking at a rate of about one foot per century.

Although Hampton Roads gets most of the media attention, sea level rise threatens the entire Virginia coastline and the tidal portions of rivers, including the Potomac River all the way up to Alexandria and Washington, D.C. A whole lot of people should be consulting topographic maps before they make their next real estate decision.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 482 words in story)

Video: Staunton/Augusta County Virginia Middle School Kids Rap Against Atlantic Coast Pipeline

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 09, 2015 at 19:12:29 PM EDT

This is great, courtesy of the Augusta County Alliance and the All Pain, No Gain Campaign. The video has a group of really cool middle school kids in the Staunton/Augusta County, Virginia area speaking out against Dominion's proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The area these kids live in would be heavily impacted by the pipeline, and the kids were hearing a lot about it on the news. The topic also came up in their sixth-grade U.S. history class during a conversation about things going on in their community. They have attended pipeline-related events, and even spoke recently at the Augusta County Board of Supervisors' public hearing about the impacts of the pipeline.

The kids decided that they wanted to learn more about the issue, so they contacted the Shomo family, whose century-old farm has about a mile of the proposed pipeline route running it. Three generations of the family (with a fourth already helping out!) currently operate the farm. These middle schoolers wanted to learn more about the pipeline's impact on farms in Augusta County. Ultimately the kids wanted to get involved and took the initiative to perform a "rap" song about the pipeline. They also have some smart things to say, including that "this pipeline is a very bad idea....we need clean water to drink...if it does burst, then it will be a disaster...our drinking water could be contaminated...it's something that needs to be reconsidered, because it doesn't really benefit us at all."

All true: this pipeline is a really bad idea, especially considering that alternatives already exist. First and foremost, that means energy efficiency, the cheapest form of energy by far (that you never have to produce in the first place). Second, it means solar power, both distributed and "utility scale," both of which have seen their costs plummet in recent years, to the point that utility-scale solar in particular is competitive in many parts of the country with new fossil-fuel power plants. Finally, it means wind power, both onshore and offshore, which in Virginia is more than sufficient to power the entire state, particularly combined with energy efficiency and solar. Frankly, until ALL three of those things - energy efficiency, solar and wind - have been maxed out, there is no excuse whatsoever to be building new fossil fuel infrastructure. No matter what lame excuses we hear from Dominion Power and its bought-and-paid-for political pals.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

New Report: Implementing EPA Clean Power Plan Can Be Job Creator for Virginia

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 09, 2015 at 10:42:46 AM EDT

Eliminating Electricity Imports at Same Time Would Double Job Gains

 

Mix of new temporary construction and permanent jobs would peak at 5,700 under basic scenario, but reach 12,600 jobs if investments also aim to keep utility spending in the state  a number nearly equal to employment in Virginias commercial construction sector.

 

[Richmond, VA, and Washington, D.C.] – A new report analyzing scenarios for Virginia’s compliance with the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions from the electric power sector shows that the Commonwealth could create thousands of permanent and temporary jobs by making investments to diversify its power sources with renewable energy, energy efficiency, and natural gas generating plants – and more than double the new jobs if the state pursued a long-sought goal of eliminating electricity imports from out of state.

 

The new report, Assessing Virginias Energy Future: Employment Impacts of Clean Power Plan Compliance Scenarios, was prepared by Meister Consultants Group for the Advanced Energy Economy Institute and the Virginia Advanced Energy Industries Coalition. The full report is available for download at http://info.aee.net/virginia-energy-future.

 

“This analysis shows the job creating value of putting advanced energy technologies to work in Virginia under the Clean Power Plan,” said Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy, a national business group, and the AEE Institute, its nonprofit educational affiliate. “Deploying these technologies in Virginia to also reduce imports creates even more jobs while keeping precious energy dollars in state supporting economic growth. This report should be a road map for Virginia’s energy future.” 

 

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 802 words in story)

Everyone Hates Coal. Pandering To It Is Stupid Politics.

by: TheGreenMiles

Wed Apr 08, 2015 at 15:43:37 PM EDT

Political reporters paint investments in clean energy as a pander to a narrow segment of the Democratic base, while pledges to continue investment in coal are framed as smart plays to shoring up the moderate middle. And of course you have to support corn ethanol or you'll lose the entire center of the country!

But take a look at this new poll of homeowners by Zogby Analytics for Clean Edge and Solar City. It's solar and wind that are broadly popular, while coal and biofuels have only fringe support - and keep in mind this question allowed people to name their top three.

Meanwhile, for all the talk of the popularity of fracked gas, it finished a distant third to clean energy.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

NRDC: Clean Power Plan "offers serious benefits for low- and fixed-income households in particular"

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 08, 2015 at 13:43:14 PM EDT

We already know that Virginians overwelmingly support cutting carbon pollution while increasing emphasis on energy efficiency and clean power solutions like solar and wind. We also know that Virginians support doing this for strong reasons: environmental protection, job creation, lower power costs and increased freedom from reliance on monopoly utilities, to name just a few. Now, NRDC is out with a new report, "Bridging the Clean Energy Divide: Affordable Clean Energy Solutions
for Today and Tomorrow," which adds two more powerful arguments for clean energy to the list: economic fairness and social justice. As the report explains:
...we must consider the disproportionate health impacts of dirty, coal fired power generation on low-income communities and people of color. According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), people of color and low-income families are more likely to live in close proximity to the coal plants that generate most of our electricity. People of color make up 36 percent of the U.S. population, but 39 percent of those who live within three miles of a coal-fired power plant. Coal plants that are located in urban areas are overwhelmingly sited in communities of color. While 56 percent of white Americans live within 30 miles of a power plant, 68 percent of African Americans do. African Americans frequent the emergency room for asthma attacks three times as often as white Americans do.
In stark contrast, clean energy choices will disproprotionately benefit low-income Virginians, people on fixed incomes, etc. A few highlights from the report illustrate why that's the case.
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 470 words in story)

"Frank Wagner is Dominion's Man! He Obstructs the Clean Power Plan!"

by: zhjarjou

Thu Apr 02, 2015 at 17:43:09 PM EDT

 
Today the Sierra Club held a demonstration at a fundraiser for Senator Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach. "Frank Wagner is Dominion's Man! He Obstructs the Clean Power Plan" and "Frank Wagner Takes Dirty Money! While the seas are rising and that's not funny!" were just a few of the chants launched at the Senator and those attending his fundraiser at the Westin Hotel in Virginia Beach. Frank Wagner has been named by the Sierra Club as the #1 obstructionist to climate action in the General Assembly, and for good reason.

This year's General Assembly session was, as always, an exciting whirlwind of discussion, debate, and decision and it was not without its theatrics. Climate change mitigation was a hot topic in Richmond and not for the reasons you may think.  There is a strong and vocal cadre of General Assembly members who are opposed to reasonable policies to address climate change. The most outspoken of these opponents is Sen. Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach who, shockingly, represents residents of Hampton Roads. One would think that supporting action on climate change would be a no brainer for someone representing people living in the region 2nd only to New Orleans when it comes to being vulnerable to sea level rise from climate change. But Sen. Wagner seems to be putting his purse before the people as he's taken nearly $50,000 in campaign contributions and gifts from Dominion Virginia Power, the state's largest and most dominant utility, over his General Assembly career. Add that to the $43,643 in campaign contributions since 2009 from Virginia based Alpha Natural Resources, one of the largest coal companies in the country, and you can start to see where his loyalties lie. There is no denying that Sen. Frank Wagner is very cozy, too cozy, with the fossil fuel industry, the industry that has put literally billions of dollars into fighting common sense actions to address climate change and transition our energy mix to more clean and renewable energy.

The efforts to obstruct and attack initiatives that support climate action were on display multiple times in the General Assembly this year. These attacks were focused on the EPA's Clean Power Plan (CPP), a flexible and common sense approach to reducing carbon emission from our nation's power plants, and also the first EVER federal action to address climate change. The plan sets a state by state goal for emission reduction and then leaves it up to the states to implement a plan to achieve those goals that fits best for each state .  Sen. Wagner himself proposed three pieces of legislation that were aimed at either outright obstructing action on climate change or at least slowing it down.

First SB 1349, aka "the Dominion rate freeze bill" didn't specifically target the EPA rule but to justify the bill Senator Wagner repeated claims by Dominion that the rule was unfair to Virginia and could result in electricity bill increases of 30% or more. EPA estimates and an independent analysis by the ICF consulting group found that the Clean Power Plan would actually reduce customers' bills if investments were made in efficiency.  A recent report by PJM, the organization that operates the regional electrical grid also confirmed that, contrary to Dominion's and Wagner's claims, the Clean Power Plan could reduce electricity bills. But this bill basically allows Dominion to overcharge its customers and there is no way for us to know about it. A very telling side note to go along with this; when it became public knowledge that Senator Wagner also owned stock in Dominion, he sold his shares during the legislative session.  

Another bill introduced by Sen. Wagner was SB 1202, which failed, would have infringed on the authority of the Governor and other state agencies to develop a state implementation plan to comply with the EPA rule and in essence reduce Virginia's carbon emissions. Finally SJ 273, which actually passed, calls for an unnecessary study of alleged errors by the EPA in assessing the health benefits of the Clean Power Plan, basically just another way for Wagner and his fossil fuel buddies to continue the narrative that the EPA rule is bad, bad, bad.

Sen. Wagner's blatant disregard for the needs of his constituents is shameful and should not stand and the same goes for Dominion Virginia Power's extreme influence on governance in Virginia. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Dominion made $1.4 million in Virginia political campaign contributions in 2012 and 2013. That's just one year's worth of donations, and I promise you they didn't just start donating to politicians last year! This kind of corporate cronyism must be addressed and gotten rid of if we are to continue to have a free and just society. The Sierra Club, along with other organization throughout the state, are starting to take Dominion and their politicians to task. They've started a new campaign called "The People V.S. Dominion" and will be held the demonstration in Virginia Beach Towne Center to call out Sen. Wagner's climate obstructionism at a fundraiser on Thursday. For more information about the campaign or the demonstration go to www.VASierraclub.org or contact the author.  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Sierra Club Names Senator Frank Wagner #1 Obstructionist on Climate Change

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 02, 2015 at 15:14:13 PM EDT

From the Virginia Sierra Club:
Group Protests outside Wagner Fundraiser

Demonstrators with the Sierra Club picketed outside an event for Senator Frank Wagner on Thursday at Town Center in Virginia Beach to protest the Senator's opposition to EPA rules to regulate carbon pollution from coal and gas fired electricity power plants.  

"Senator Wagner is the #1 obstructionist in the Virginia General Assembly to measures to address climate change," said Glen Besa, Director of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter. "No one wasted more of the legislature's time than Senator Wagner attacking the EPA on behalf of polluters like Dominion and coal companies like Alpha Natural Resources.  When you represent an area as vulnerable to sea level rise as Hampton Roads, that's just irresponsible."  

Dominion Virginia Power has been one of the largest political contributors to Senator Wagner over the years. Since 2004 he has received $43,100 in campaign contributions from Dominion.  Senator Wagner also received $43,643 in campaign contributions since 2009 from Virginia based Alpha Natural Resources, one of the largest coal companies in the country.

"We think all this fossil fuel money may be clouding his judgment,"said Besa, 'and he has forgotten who he represents."

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 281 words in story)

Koch Brothers/Fossil Fuel-Funded Big Liars Strike Again, This Time on Virginia & Clean Power Plan

by: lowkell

Thu Apr 02, 2015 at 13:50:07 PM EDT

Here we go again with the ALEC/Koch brothers/fossil fuel big lie machine. Yesterday, I saw this trash ("EPA carbon plan will kill 38,000 Virginia jobs, report says") in something called "VirginiaWatchdog.org," pushing this Big Lie "report" by something called the "Thomas Jefferson Institute."  For more on that Orwellian organization, see here:
The Thomas Jefferson Institute is a libertarian/right-wing think tank committed to "free markets, limited government and individual responsibility."  It is funded heavily by the Roe Foundation, a South Carolina-based which provides "financial support to free-market policy groups across the country" and which gives out its annual Roe Award to the likes of Grover Norquist and to others from right-wing groups like the Independence Institute (proud global warming deniers), the Reason Foundation (for years, global warming deniers who received funding from ExxonMobil), and the big-time global warming deniers at the Heartland Institute. Sensing a pattern here?
As for the Koch-Funded Franklin Center "Watchdogs" Infiltrate State Capitols. As for the Franklin Center, all you really need to know is this:
In June 2012 the Franklin Center teamed up with the Heritage Foundation to host the first annual Breitbart Awards dinner.[33] The awards honored the life and work of the late Andrew Breitbart who "pioneered a new media revolution that transformed journalism and the political landscape."
Yes, seriously, they held a dinner to honor the far-far-far-right-wing Andrew Breitbart. Just to refresh your memory of the ever-charming Breitbart, note that "In the hours immediately following Senator Ted Kennedy's death, Breitbart called Kennedy a 'villain', a 'duplicitous bastard', a 'prick' and 'a special pile of human excrement'." Oh, and if that's not enough, one more thing you should know about the Franklin Center is this:
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 301 words in story)

NRDC: Clean Energy Best Way Virginia Can Fight Climate Change, Exceed Clean Power Plan Targets

by: lowkell

Wed Apr 01, 2015 at 16:45:54 PM EDT

New NRDC Issue Brief: Clean Energy Best Way Virginia Can Fight Dangerous Climate Change and Beat EPA Emissions Targets by 20 Percent

LEXINGTON, VA (Wednesday, April 1, 2015) — With climate change already damaging Virginia’s economy, endangering citizens’ health, and threatening coastal cities, a new issue brief shows that if the Old Dominion were to meet its already existing voluntary energy goals, the state would actually beat the carbon emission targets in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan by 20 percent.

The brief also shows Virginia has a tremendous economic opportunity in fighting climate change, which could create 5,600 new jobs in 2020 alone by crafting a strong state plan to meet new federal carbon pollution standards that invests in clean energy, expands energy efficiency, and develops a cleaner, 21st century economy.

“Virginians can’t wait any longer to combat climate change, which is polluting our air and endangering our health,” said Walton Shepherd, Staff Attorney at NRDC. “We can create a new Virginia economy simply by cutting our carbon pollution. It’s time we create new jobs, protect our children’s health, and curb climate change by increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 568 words in story)

"A Dangerous Inheritance" Demonstrates Urgency of Clean Power Plan, Cutting CO2 Emissions Fast

by: sbucci

Tue Mar 31, 2015 at 15:27:44 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

By Sarah Bucci

Young adults in Virginia are experiencing hotter temperatures and more intense storms than their predecessors did in the 1970's, according to a new report by Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center.

This report comes out as NASA scientists announced, just this month, that this year's Arctic sea ice cap was the smallest it has ever been in recorded history and that the first two months of 2015 were the warmest such period ever. This new report, Dangerous Inheritance, examines climate changes at the local level, through the eyes of five different generations of Virginians.

Millennials in Virginia, like me, came of age in a climate 1.2 degrees hotter than did their Baby Boomer parents in the 1970's. That means for young adults living in the commonwealth, hotter temperatures more extreme weather events and rising seas have become more frequent and common. Researchers found similar increases in temperatures and extreme weather across the country. In every state, young adults today are experiencing warmer average temperatures than young adults in the Baby Boomer generation. The biggest rain and snowstorms produce 10 percent more rainfall in 2011 than they did in 1948.

These impacts are real and only getting worse. Joining Environment Virginia in releasing this report today, two Hampton Roads residence spoke to their personal experiences. John Deuel, an independent contractor and long-time Norfolk resident spoke about the combination of rising seas and more precipitation leading to flooding in his neighborhood. And Alden Cleanthes, a Chesapeake resident with a 3-year old son and a "Supermom" with non-profit Moms Clean Air Force spoke about the need to protect public health.

Nobody wants to leave the next generation to inherit an even more dangerous climate, so we must take action. We can start by finalizing and implementing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which would cut carbon pollution at least 36 percent in Virginia and 30 percent nationwide by the end of the next decade.

To ensure that the Clean Power Plan is approved and put into place, we need to Senators Kaine and Warner to stand up for the plan in Washington, D.C. Thankfully, they did just that last week when they voted against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's attacks on the Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Senate. We applaud them for this action. And, here in Virginia, we need Governor Terry McAuliffe to stand behind the plan and maximize its potential to unleash clean energy jobs in the commonwealth.

Sarah Bucci is the campaign director with Environment Virginia, a state-wide, citizen-funded advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier Virginia. She can be contacted at sbucci@environmentvirginia.org. For more information visit Environment Virginia.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

"A Dangerous Inheritance" Demonstrates Urgency of Clean Power Plan, Cutting CO2 Emissions Fast

by: sbucci

Tue Mar 31, 2015 at 15:27:44 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

By Sarah Bucci

Young adults in Virginia are experiencing hotter temperatures and more intense storms than their predecessors did in the 1970's, according to a new report by Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center.

This report comes out as NASA scientists announced, just this month, that this year's Arctic sea ice cap was the smallest it has ever been in recorded history and that the first two months of 2015 were the warmest such period ever. This new report, Dangerous Inheritance, examines climate changes at the local level, through the eyes of five different generations of Virginians.

Millennials in Virginia, like me, came of age in a climate 1.2 degrees hotter than did their Baby Boomer parents in the 1970's. That means for young adults living in the commonwealth, hotter temperatures more extreme weather events and rising seas have become more frequent and common. Researchers found similar increases in temperatures and extreme weather across the country. In every state, young adults today are experiencing warmer average temperatures than young adults in the Baby Boomer generation. The biggest rain and snowstorms produce 10 percent more rainfall in 2011 than they did in 1948.

These impacts are real and only getting worse. Joining Environment Virginia in releasing this report today, two Hampton Roads residence spoke to their personal experiences. John Deuel, an independent contractor and long-time Norfolk resident spoke about the combination of rising seas and more precipitation leading to flooding in his neighborhood. And Alden Cleanthes, a Chesapeake resident with a 3-year old son and a "Supermom" with non-profit Moms Clean Air Force spoke about the need to protect public health.

Nobody wants to leave the next generation to inherit an even more dangerous climate, so we must take action. We can start by finalizing and implementing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which would cut carbon pollution at least 36 percent in Virginia and 30 percent nationwide by the end of the next decade.

To ensure that the Clean Power Plan is approved and put into place, we need to Senators Kaine and Warner to stand up for the plan in Washington, D.C. Thankfully, they did just that last week when they voted against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's attacks on the Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Senate. We applaud them for this action. And, here in Virginia, we need Governor Terry McAuliffe to stand behind the plan and maximize its potential to unleash clean energy jobs in the commonwealth.

Sarah Bucci is the campaign director with Environment Virginia, a state-wide, citizen-funded advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier Virginia. She can be contacted at sbucci@environmentvirginia.org. For more information visit Environment Virginia.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Free Nelson Informs Governor McAulliffe of the Error of his Comments

by: pontoon

Tue Mar 31, 2015 at 10:35:08 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

Written by Free Nelson Organizer, Marilyn Shifflett

During a March 26 radio interview with Governor McAuliffe in Richmond, a caller asked a question regarding the proposed route for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The Governor did not answer the question, but did offer the following remark. "Nelson County - I think it's our smallest population county in Virginia." He went on to reaffirm his support for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), citing (supposed) cheap energy and jobs.

Governor McAuliffe's remark was totally inaccurate. Depending on the source, Nelson is ranked as the 23rd or 24th smallest county by population in Virginia. Why did he make this remark? Does he view Nelson as tiny and insignificant regarding its number of voters? Is this why he has answered citizen concerns about the ACP with stacks of form letters? Or, is it that he views the nearly 14,000 lives that could be placed at risk by a high-pressure, 42" pipeline as an acceptable number? Was the population of counties like Highland, Nelson, & Buckingham the determining factor behind Dominion's path for the ACP?

And isn't this acknowledgment of something on Dominion's part? Are they acknowledging safety risks they've previously denied to the press? Structures per mile determine the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) classification of natural gas pipelines. The path chosen by Dominion for the ACP will make it a Class 1 location pipeline. This means little to no regulation by federal authorities (the US Department of Transportation in this case). It also means that they will not be required to install expensive, automatic shut-off valves, while the manual valves will be set miles and miles apart.

These are a few facts about Nelson County that Governor McAuliffe did not quote. The US Geological Survey (USGS) and the VA Department of Emergency Management designate Nelson County as "moderate incidence," "high risk" for flooding and debris flows (slides). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has called Nelson an orographic lift zone which traps storms within our mountains and tends to drop heavy rainfalls. The VA Deptartment of Emergency Management also specifically recommends against "energy pipelines" in these areas.

Our governor is well aware of these reports, but has yet to publicly acknowledge their existence. We believe there are nearly 14,000 good reasons to ask him why.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

"Dear Fellow Supporter of Arlington's Environmental Program..."

by: lowkell

Sun Mar 29, 2015 at 14:04:58 PM EDT

From Arlington County Clerk of the Court Paul Ferguson:

Dear Fellow Supporter of Arlington’s Environmental Programs,

We have a serious issue! I need your help!    Arlington County is recognized as a regional and national leader for its environmental programs. Unfortunately, there is a proposal that cuts 2.5 staff positions (1/3 of the program!) from Arlington’s Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE).   

The cuts would eliminate (1) the Arlington Green Home Choice Program which assists homeowners with energy efficient renovations and construction; 2) development of Arlington’s District Energy Program; and (3) outreach and education to reduce emissions through individual behavior change.  

AIRE was funded in 2007 by instituting a utility tax that is partially or fully rebated if energy usage is minimal.  In 2007, the County Board unanimously stated that the funds from the utility tax would go directly to the AIRE initiative.  The money from the existing utility tax is sufficient to continue funding the initiative and avoid the proposed cuts.
 
Only Jay Fisette and Walter Tejada were on the Board in 2007 when the AIRE initiative started.    Jay has led efforts to expand the initiative – resulting in the adoption of the Community Energy Plan with broad community support. Economic competitiveness is a key goal of the plan.  

I am told that the issue is “under the radar” and that the Board has received only a “few” emails opposing the proposed cuts. I urge you to email the County Board Members individually and explain why the AIRE initiative is important to you.  The email can be short, opposing the proposed cut of the 2.5 staff, and should be received ASAP.  The AIRE initiative empowers Arlington residents and businesses to do their part to reduce emissions and fight Global Warming while saving money. Let the Board know that Arlington values this program!

Email addresses for County Board Members are below.  Thank you in advance for taking the time to voice your opinion.

Paul Ferguson
Former County Board Chairman

Mary Hynes     mhynes@arlingtonva.us
Libby Garvey    lgarvey@arlingtonva.us
John Vihstadt   Jvihstadt@arlingtonva.us
Walter Tejada   wtejada@arlingtonva.us
Jay Fisette         jfisette@arlingtonva.us 
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Bill "ALEC" Howell Signs ALEC Letter to Google Blaming Climate Activists for ALEC's Own Craziness

by: lowkell

Sat Mar 28, 2015 at 16:22:01 PM EDT

From House Minority Leader David Toscano:

Dear Friend,

Last year, under pressure from tens of thousands of their users, Google decided to drop their support of the extreme right-wing organization ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).  The reasoning was based on ALEC's denial that climate change exists - Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said:  “Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place.  And so we should not be aligned with such people — they’re just, they’re just literally lying.” (1)

Of course, you and I know that ALEC has been "literally lying" about a lot more then climate change!  In response to Google's decision, 234 right-wing Republican legislators signed a letter to Google attempting to shift blame to climate activists.  If you read the letter, you'll notice that 7th on the list of 234 names is none other then our Speaker, Bill Howell. (2)  And ALEC constantly uses the Virginia House of Delegates as testing ground for the next round of conservative initiatives.  We must stop this.

I need your help to make sure we make significant gains this November.  We have a crucial reporting deadline Tuesdaynight at midnight.  Can you please make whatever contribution you can today to help us fight back against Speaker Howell and the right-wing Republican caucus this year.  Your contribution, be it $10, $100 or $1,000, is going to go straight to beating Republicans this November, and I think we can all agree, that's a good deal.

Lets win!

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 64 words in story)
Next >>
Menu

Make a New Account

Username:

Password:



Forget your username or password?


Advertising



FOLLOW BLUE VIRGINIA on SOCIAL MEDIA


Donate to Blue Virginia

About
The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

P.S. You can contact us at lowell@raisingkaine.com and you can subscribe to Lowell's Twitter feed here. If you'd like to subscribe to Miles Grant's Twitter feed, click here. For Teacherken, click here. For Kindler, click here.

P.P.S. To see the Blue Virginia archive, please click here. To see the Raising Kaine archive, please click here. To see the Blue Commonwealth archive, please click here.



RSS Feed

Subscribe to Blue Virginia - Front Page


Powered by: SoapBlox