Virginia Leaders Voice Support for Clean Power Plan

Media Contacts
Sarah Bucci

Environment Virginia

RICHMOND, VAFollowing the finalization of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan today, six Virginia elected officials, health professionals and business and faith leaders, including Senator Donald McEachin and Delegate Alfonso Lopez, voiced their support for the EPA’s plan to combat climate change at a tele-press conference, and called on Virginia’s local, state, and national leaders to do the same.

The Clean Power Plan sets the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants and encourages investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. By cutting back CO2 levels, the Clean Power Plan helps reduce the greenhouse gases to blame for climate change, which threatens Virginia’s coastal communities and the health of our most vulnerable citizens. Speakers on today’s call discussed how the plan positively impacts Virginia’s economy and public health.

“The Clean Power Plan is good for Virginia and Virginians,” said Senator Donald McEachin. “This is an important opportunity to mitigate the effects of climate change and address sea level rise, while creating jobs and economic growth for the Commonwealth.”

“Implementing the Clean Power Plan is an important opportunity for the Commonwealth of Virginia to address the impacts of climate change while growing our economy, creating a more sustainable energy future, and preserving our environment for future generations,” said Delegate Alfonso Lopez. “We should embrace this opportunity.”

“With investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, Virginia can move towards compliance with this rule, while spurring job growth, attracting and retaining businesses, and protecting our local economies,” said Matt Ruscio, Program and Policy Officer at Secure Futures, a solar development company headquartered in Staunton, VA.

Other participants on the call included: Gilda Niknezhad, a Nurse Practitioner and Norfolk resident impacted by climate change, Marisa Vertrees, a parishioner at St. Ann Roman Catholic Church in Arlington, and Alexei Laushkin, the Vice President of the Evangelical Environmental Network.

“We treasure our coastal community and the thought of losing it is not acceptable but neither is living here with increase risk of damage to life and property. The Clean Power Plan is a step in right direction toward mitigating the long term effects of climate change,” said Gilda Niknezhad.

“As a Catholic, I feel a great moral responsibility to care for Creation, and to take care not to pollute the earth that we were given,” said Marisa Vertrees. These new rules help us to decrease the 7.8 million tons of CO2 that Virginia alone puts into the atmosphere, putting us on the way to limiting and reversing the global climate change that is already affecting people and species around the world.”

“Pro-Life Christians are particularly concerned about the impact of pollution on the unborn and children’s health. Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ talked about the need to build a culture that is capable of dealing with significant moral challenges like climate change,” said Alexei Laushkin, Vice President of the Evangelical Environmental Network. “The President’s announcement on the Clean Power Plan is a historic step in that direction. As people of faith we know issues of pollution require all of us to work together towards a culture of life.”

“Today’s action is thanks to all the Virginians, together with millions of Americans, who called for strong climate action,” concluded Sarah Bucci, Director of Environment Virginia. “Virginians have only to gain from these new carbon pollution standards, which were designed with flexibility for states to develop individual plans that play to our existing economic strengths and unique circumstances. With support from Virginia’s leaders, and backing from the public, we can ensure our children and grandchildren live healthier and safer lives in a cleaner and more productive economy.”