National Leaders Letter to Governor McAuliffe on Climate, Energy

Released by: Environment Virginia

March 31, 2016

Dear Governor McAuliffe,

As directors of some of America’s largest environmental organizations, we want to thank you for your continued strong support of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). As you know, this federal administrative action is designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants nationwide by roughly 30 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. Like you, we believe this rule will triumph against eventual court challenges and outlive the current Supreme Court stay.

We are writing you now simply to ask that you play a strong role in the actual implementation of this federal rule. Specifically, Governor, we are asking that you commit now to a Virginia "State Implementation Plan" under the CPP that will result in a net, aggregate reduction in CO2 emissions from Virginia power plants, covering both new and existing facilities.

We understand that energy policy can be a complex matter in any state, and that the CPP itself can be viewed as a complex rule. But what we are asking for now is a simple and clear commitment:  Make sure that whatever your state plan includes, the overall outcome is a real and total reduction in harmful CO2.

The good news is that -- under this federal rule -- you have the power to make this commitment. Final say over the structure of the Virginia implementation plan is yours alone. By committing to a net, aggregate reduction in CO2 pollution from new and existing plants, you will ensure that the Commonwealth will play a measurable role in the national effort to combat global warming. In the process, you’ll create thousands of new jobs and generate billions of dollars in new economic activity in Virginia thanks to resulting investments in energy efficiency and clean power.

Thank you for your steadfast leadership, Governor. Thank you for considering the moral appeal of Pope Francis who has asked all leaders worldwide to maximize their efforts to avoid the calamity of rapid climate change. And thank you for your specific role in implementing a strong state plan under the President’s Clean Power Plan.

Sincerely,

Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club

Daniel A. Lashof, Chief Operating Officer, NextGen Climate America, Inc.

May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org

Margie Alt, Executive Director, Environment America

Kierán Suckling, Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity

Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters

Catherine Thomasson, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility