To State Senators Emmett Hanger and Mark Obenshain, and Delegates Tony Wilt and Steve Landis, as signed by participants of a presentation by Virginia Conservation Network’s Policy and Campaigns Manager Chelsea Harnish at Ruby’s on April 8, 2014, concerning the recent General Assembly session.
Many states in the mid-Atlantic region have enacted legislation to require a percentage of electricity sold in the state to be generated from renewable sources, i.e. Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards. Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania all have legislation requiring the generation of 15 to 25 percent of electricity from renewable resources in the next decade.
Not only are Virginia’s Renewable Portfolio Standards weak but they are merely voluntary. In 2012 Dominion Virginia Power generated 552,033 MWh from renewable sources, out of a total of 64,600,000 MWh sold. That’s about 0.8%, none of it from wind or solar.
We call on you, our elected representatives, to join the states around us in bidding farewell to the fossil fuel economy that is destroying Earth’s ecosystems. We call on you to put Virginia on the path of progress toward a renewable energy economy that will generate jobs, stimulate innovation and research, create new industries, and restore ecosystem health.
We call on you to enact real and credible Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards in the next session of the Virginia General Assembly.
On behalf of the CAAV Steering Committee and the Citizens signing the following pages,
In response to Democratic Senators’ March 10, 2014, all night session to stir up climate change action, CAAV’s Legislation and Election committee prepared the following letter to Senator Tim Kaine. It was displayed and available for signatures by the attendees of CAAV’s March 18 letter writing workshop with Pete Bsumek. Find Senator Kaine’s presentation to the Senate Climate Action Task Force’s overnight meeting here.
Senator Tim Kaine
388 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington , D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Kaine:
We listened carefully and were encouraged by your remarks at the recent all-night Senate event on March 10. Your understanding of climate issues and energy challenges was correct and to the point. You stated there is no conflict between the economy and the environment and that, in fact, the path to the new economy lies in environmental innovation. Win! Win! We agree!
There is another important arrow in our quiver in the fight against climate change and that is putting a price on carbon. Experts agree that it is the most cost effective and efficient way to reduce carbon emissions. The carbon price discussion draft released in March of 2013 by Waxman, Whitehouse, Blumenauer and Schatz provides an excellent starting point but needs strengthening.
1. The tax or fee should be applied upstream on carbon-based fuels at the first point of sale. Sale of permits should not be allowed because that leaves open the possibility of switching to a cap and trade system, which creates complexity and non-transparency.
2. The carbon tax legislation must include border adjustment tariffs to prevent American businesses from being placed at a competitive disadvantage. Countries without similar carbon prices would have a tariff imposed, along with refunds to U.S. businesses exporting to those countries, in order to create a level playing field. Also this would help encourage the carbon pricing to spread world-wide.
3. The tax should start at $35 per ton and increase at an annual rate of 8% per year. (The original numbers put forward by the task force were too weak).
4. All revenue generated from the tax should be divided equally among individuals in the U.S. and returned as a monthly or annual payment. This protects low and middle income consumers and makes the bill truly revenue neutral. (There are many other ideas out there on this point including a portion going to R and D and subsidies for renewables).
5. There must be bipartisan support!
We look to you and Senator Warner to provide leadership not only for Virginia but for the entire Nation on this climate crisis. Thank you for stepping out and into the light last week and becoming a “climate hero”. We’re right here behind you, supporting you in any way we can with the political will for a livable world.
For the CAAV Steering Committee and the Citizens signing the following page,
Leslie Grady Jr, Ph.D.
Chairman CAAV Steering Committee
This letter was available for signing at the CAAV booth at the International Festival in Harrisonburg on September 28, 2013.
Dear Senators Warner and Kaine:
We at Climate Alliance of the Valley have watched your recent YouTube video titled – Bill to Expand Offshore Energy Leases- and are responding to your invitation for citizen input. Although this would not take effect until 2020, we feel it is misdirected in light of the science explaining the chemistry and physics of climate disruption.
This plan may have been justified when the former Senators Warner and Webb first introduced this but we are better informed now. We know now that to help protect future Virginians it is imperative that we leave all fossil fuels deep in the earth and not put them in the atmosphere to cause excessive heating of our beautiful blue-green ball, with the only known existence of life as we know it.
If you have read the science, and we feel both of you at least understand what is happening, there is no other choice than trying to get off of our fossil fuel addiction. You have both sponsored and supported some very important energy legislation. It is really difficult for the alcoholic not to take that next drink. It is time now to take the next step. Put a Price on Carbon.
It is easy to understand where you are coming from politically in this video and we would like to see you re-elected unless someone else is more willing to step up and support legislation to preserve life as we know it.
If you have read the science and know the facts, how can you do other than step forward and put some kind of price on carbon. What will your children or grandchildren say in 20-30 yrs if you don’t do what you can now?
We are supporting some form of Fee and Dividend (S-332, Saunders-Boxer Bill or several house bills etc). Citizens Climate Lobby has done a lot of work on this. We feel it is the only kind of bill that has a chance of passing and will do the job of reducing our carbon usage. We know all the arguments against this pushed by the fossil fuel industry and we know what is going to happen if we don’t soon get started. Therefore, we are asking you both to become leaders in trying to stop us from destroying ourselves.