The Honorable Terry McAuliffe                                                                    January 18, 2016
Governor of Virginia
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Re: An Open Letter to Governor McAuliffe on Clean Energy, Climate Change and Virginia’s
Implementation of the Clean Power Plan

Dear Governor McAuliffe:

In August 2015, the U.S. EPA adopted a “Clean Power Plan” that sets specific goals for the Commonwealth of Virginia and all other states for reducing carbon pollution. With rising seas and extreme weather constituting a growing public health and economic threat to our state and nation, the purpose of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Virginia’s power plants in a way that is fair, flexible and cost-effective.

If implemented correctly, the CPP presents a historic opportunity to reduce the Commonwealth’s carbon footprint, fight climate change and leave a better planet for our children—all while strengthening our economy, creating new business opportunities and saving money for families. Virginians will also see significant health benefits, preventing premature deaths, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and thousands of days lost from school or work due to decreased air pollution as a result of the Clean Power Plan.

In direct conflict with this, Dominion Resources has embraced a compliance approach that, if implemented, means the company would increase – not decrease – harmful carbon emissions from its Virginia power plants. The company wants Virginia to implement the CPP in a way that would not apply to new fossil fuel power plants in Virginia. This would allow Dominion to continue its massive expansion of gas-fired generation at the expense of investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Dominion’s plan is fundamentally contrary to the intent and spirit of the President’s Clean Power Plan and the interests of Virginia residents. Dominion Power does not have the authority to decide how to implement the Clean Power Plan in Virginia. By law, that decision falls exclusively to you, our chief executive.

Despite the rhetoric of fossil fuel industries and their political allies, the history of environmental regulation in the U.S. shows that reducing pollution does not hamper economic growth, but in fact spurs innovation and investment. Indeed, the renewable energy sector represents one of the fastest growing segments of our nation’s economy, with growth rates for wind and solar energy consistently in the double digits. As you recognized when you announced plans for the Commonwealth to buy 110 megawatts of solar, these technologies are good for our health, good for taxpayers and good for business.

Virginia can and should reduce its total carbon pollution from power plants at least 30% by the year 2030, by applying the same emissions limit to all plants (existing and new) and increasing our use of energy efficiency and renewable energy. With this strategy, Virginia’s Clean Power Plan will reduce electricity bills and grow our economy, while helping to meet our obligation to future generations.

Never in history has a Virginia governor had greater authority, greater responsibility and a greater opportunity to combat harmful carbon pollution. Numerous polls and surveys show that a majority of your constituents support a swift and meaningful transition to cleaner sources of energy. We implore you to deliver to the people of Virginia a Clean Power Plan that lowers carbon pollution and ensures the health and safety of Virginians for generations to come.

Thank you for your time and leadership in this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Walters, Co-Moderator
350 Central Virginia

Natalie Pien, Chair
350 Loudoun

Victoria Bragunier, Policy Director
Alliance for a Progressive Virginia

Katie Huffling, Director of Programs
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

Hannah Wiegard, Virginia Campaign Coordinator
Appalachian Voices

Ashleigh Shackelford, Community Organizer
Black Action Now

Mike Tidwell, Executive Director
Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Gregory T Haugan, Sr. PhD, Group Leader
Citizens Climate Lobby, Northern Neck Chapter

Dr. William Nelson, Group Leader
Citizens Climate Lobby, Richmond Chapter

Laura Dansby, Steering Committee Chair
Cathy Strickler, Founder
Climate Action Alliance of the Valley

Rita Frost, Campaign Organizer
Dogwood Alliance

Dave Redding, Director
EcoVillage Charlottesville

Rees Shearer, Chair
Energizing Renewable Growth in Holston Valley (eNRG)

Sarah Bucci, State Director
Environment Virginia

Eric Goplerud, Executive Director
Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions

Dave Redding, Board Member
Food not Bombs

Heidi Dhivya Berthoud, Secretary
Friends of Buckingham

Olga Torres, President
Hampton Roads Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

David Redding, Director
Healthy Food Coalition

Liz Havstad, Director of Operations and Strategic Growth
Hip Hop Caucus

Joelle Novey, Director
Interfaith Power and Light (DC. MD. NoVA)

Kaye Tice, President
League of Women Voters South Hampton Roads

Terra Pascarosa Duff, Manager of Field Operations
Moms Clean Air Force

Freeda Cathcart, Chair
Mothers Against Pipelines

Freeda Cathcart, Chair
Mothers Against Uranium Mining

Quan Williams, Policy Associate
New Virginia Majority

Richard Gajarsky, Partner
Old Dominion Energy Services

David S Redding, Director
Open Source Recycling

Pat Okerlund, Community Organizer
Organizing for Action (OFA), Hampton Roads

Elizabeth K. Williams, MD

Mark E. Hanson, President
Renewable Energy Electric Vehicle Association (REEVA)

Anthony Smith, CEO
Secure Futures, LLC

Dr. Erica Holloman, Program Coordinator
Southeast CARE Coalition

Edmond Marroni, Sowers of Justice Leadership Team
Sowers of Justice in Hampton Roads

Billy Weitzenfeld, Executive Director
The Association of Energy Conservation Professionals

Glenn R. Short, Group Leader
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, Unitarian Universalist, ForEverGreen

Natalie Pien, Chair
Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun Green Team

Madeline Smith, President
University of Richmond Greeks Going Green

Michael James-Deramo, President
VCU Environmental Coalition

Glen Besa, Director
Virginia Chapter Sierra Club

Jessica Greene, Climate Organizer
Virginia Conservation Network

The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Barton, General Minister
Virginia Council of Churches

Kendyl Crawford, Board Chair
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light

Ladelle McWhorter, Chairperson
Virginia Organizing

Aaron Sutch, Program Director
Virginia Solar United Neighborhoods (VA SUN)

Rabib Hasan, Coalition Chair
Virginia Student Environmental Coalition

Claire Wyatt, Statewide Organizer
Virginia Student Power Network

Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome, Director of Federal Policy
We Act for Environmental Justice

Skip Stiles, Executive Director
Wetlands Watch

Misty Boos, Director
Wild Virginia

Cc: The Honorable Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade
The Honorable Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security
The Honorable Molly Ward, Secretary of Natural Resources

This letter was initiated by the Virginia Sierra Club.

Photo credit: Shenandoah National Park

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