Business, health, civic leaders urge support for Clean Power Plan


Environment Virginia

Dear Governor McAuliffe,

Global warming is threatening the health and safety of our communities and our children. 2015 was the hottest year on record across the globe, and 2016 is likely to be even hotter. Sea levels are rising faster than anticipated. Extreme weather—including storms, droughts and wildfires—are growing more frequent and more severe and hotter weather means more smog. Global warming is happening now and it’s hitting at home.

We know that this warming is being fueled primarily by carbon pollution. To avert catastrophe, we need to reduce carbon emissions more than 80 percent by 2050 while accelerating our transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

Fortunately, we know what to do and we have the technology we need to get the job done. From improved energy efficiency to generating electricity from the sun, wind, tides, and heat of the earth, we have the tools at our fingertips to dramatically reduce our carbon pollution. Already in the United States, wind energy generates enough zero emission electricity each year to power 17 million homes, and an American home or business goes solar every two minutes.

That is why we support the Clean Power Plan, which sets the first-ever federal limits on global warming pollution from power plants and encourages states to look towards clean energy solutions. The plan is the centerpiece of President Obama’s strategy to reduce the threat of climate change, and a key element of our pledge to the nations of the world as part of the Paris Climate Agreement. When fully implemented the Clean Power Plan will cut carbon pollution from power plants 32 percent by 2030.

Unfortunately, polluters and their allies in Congress and in the states are attacking the Clean Power Plan.

For the sake of our environment, health and economy, we urge you to defend the Clean Power Plan and oppose any efforts to weaken or repeal it.

Here in Virginia, we have been moving forward and preparing to implement the Clean Power Plan. We urge you to drive continued progress and to prepare to submit a formal plan to EPA as soon as the Supreme Court lifts the stay it has imposed on the policy.

Virginia should meet the goals of the Clean Power Plan by focusing exclusively on energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy. Ultimately, preventing the worst impacts of global warming will require much deeper cuts in dangerous carbon pollution. We should use our resources wisely and invest in truly clean energy, not in dirty infrastructure that we will have to retire before its useful lifetime is up. In particular, building gas-fired power plants is a dangerous distraction from the direction we need to go to actually tackle climate change. Not only does burning gas produce carbon pollution, but the gas itself is a dangerous warming pollutant.

Finally, we urge you to recognize that the Clean Power Plan sets out a floor for action, not a ceiling. Please develop a compliance plan that aims to exceed the minimum requirement and helps to lead the country and the world towards the deeper cuts in carbon pollution that we know are needed.

Acting on climate will help protect our children and our future. I urge you to please do everything in your power to cut dangerous carbon pollution and steer our state on a more sustainable course.