CAAV’s Chair on the Paris Agreement for “1on1”

1on1: What it means as Biden rejoins climate agreement

Climate Action Alliance of the Valley Chair Jo Anne St. Clair spoke with Bob Corso on January 21, 2021, for WHSV’s 1on1 about the importance of President Biden’s action to have the United States rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. Watch the interview here.

2021 Legislation That Needs Your Support

Dear Climate Friend:

As you know, the Virginia General Assembly is now in session.  

CAAV’s Legislation and Elections committee has identified climate-friendly bills that, if enacted, would make a difference.  Below is a very brief summary of each one.

Please contact your Delegate and Senator, and urge them to support these bills.  And please act quickly.  The GA is moving rapidly through a great many bills.  If you need the name and contact information for your Delegate and/or Senator, click here:

https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/

Clean Transportation Bills

HB 1965–the Clean Cars bill.  Allows State Air Pollution Control Board to establish ZEV (zero emissions vehicles) mandate beginning with 2025 vehicles

1) Environmental benefits – 48% of VA’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) come from the transportation sector. More LEV and ZEV vehicles will help reduce this pollution. 

2) More ZEV options – Currently many dealerships in VA do not offer ZEVs because they do not want to or because they cannot get them. This law would be a signal to the manufacturers that VA is serious about ZEVs and they will send more ZEVs to VA to be sold.

3) Support the growing clean energy economy – More ZEVs on the road means VA will need to build more EV charging stations and hire more EV technicians, generating good-paying jobs for Virginians. 

4) Increase demand for clean electricity – as more ZEVs are deployed, consumer awareness of the source of their electricity will grow, and consumers will want the utilities to provide them with cleaner electricity.

5) Long lead time – the 2025 implementation gives dealerships ample time to prepare for this transition.

HB 1979 EV Rebate bill

1) A state rebate of $2500 will reduce the upfront cost of a new or used EV.

2) This rebate will provide an additional $2,000 to low income Virginians, promoting equity.

3) Cash on the hood rebate reduces the final purchase or lease price of the EV.

Utility Reform Bills

Background

Virginians currently pay the sixth highest energy bills in the country, bills that for more than 75% of Virginia households are considered unaffordable by federal standards. Too many Virginians are desperate for economic relief, particularly when it comes to paying monthly bills.  Prioritizing the passage of consumer protection legislation to ensure Virginians are not overcharged by their energy providers should be a major goal of Virginia’s legislators.

With a rate case coming up later in 2021 for Virginia’s largest energy provider, this issue could not be more urgent. If the General Assembly does not act this session to protect consumers and restore oversight authority to regulators, Virginians are poised to lose out on the over $500 million they’ve been overcharged by Dominion Energy since 2017 and, even worse, may continue to be forced to pay bills that are much higher than they should be moving forward. These bills— HB 2160, HB 2200, HB 2049, HB 1984, HB 1914, and HB 1835—will provide much greater balance between utility and customer interests than now exists under Virginia’s “regulated utility mode.”

Why These Bills Matter

  • Virginians pay the 6th highest energy bills in the country, bills unaffordable for 75% of Virginia households based on federal energy burden standards.
  • Dominion Energy has overcharged customers by at least $502 million since 2017. Virginians deserve this money back.
  • Dominion Energy customers have already seen their bills increase by more than 25% in the last decade, and these bills are projected to rise even more as costs for Grid Modernization Act, Clean Economy Act, etc. are added to customers’ bills. Virginians urgently need rate relief.

Bill Specifics

HB 2160 Preventing Utilities from Keeping Customer Overcharges as Unmerited Profit Bonuses

Chief Patron: Delegate Kathy Tran; Chief Co-Patron: Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg

As regulated utility monopolies benefit from no competition, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) is tasked with establishing their fair – but not unlimited – authorized profit margin. However, Virginia is the only state in the country whose legal code mandates that specific utilities – Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power (APCo) – receive profit bonuses tacked onto this authorized profit margin. These bonuses are not tied to performance, but rather are granted to the utilities as a reward for overcharging their customers. This bill removes provisions that allow utilities to keep customer overcharges as bonuses and instead restores SCC authority to fully refund 100% of overcharges back to customers.  The Bill:

1. Eliminates provision that allows utilities to keep a bonus profit of 0.7% above their authorized profit, or return on equity (ROE).

a. Under current law, Dominion and APCo get an automatic profit bonus of 0.7% tacked onto whatever profit margin the SCC sets.

b. Virginia is the only state in the country with a mandatory “earnings band” or “earnings collar” like this written into law.

c. Unless changed, this provision would allow Dominion to keep $136 million of customer overcharges (based on overcharges determined in the 2020 SCC Annual Report).

2. Eliminates provision that allows Dominion to pocket an additional 30% of customer overcharges above the 0.7% earnings collar.

a. Under current law, if a utility’s revenue exceeds the 0.7% profit bonus, they are further allowed to keep 30% of customer overcharges as a bonus.

b. Unless changed, this provision would allow Dominion to keep $110 million of customer overcharges (based on overcharges determined in the 2020 SCC Annual Report).  Eliminating these two provisions will prevent Dominion from pocketing $246 million of the $502.7 million it has overcharged Virginians since 2017.

HB 2200 Restoring SCC Authority to Balance the Interest of Utilities and Ratepayers

Chief Patron: Delegate Jay Jones; Chief Co-Patron: Delegate Lee Ware

This ratepayer protection bill makes minor changes to Virginia’s code aimed at restoring State Corporation Commission (SCC) discretion over certain accounting and ratemaking functions that are currently mandated in law to the utility’s benefit.  The Bill:

1. Changes “shall” to “may” in key sections of Virginia’s code.

a. This bill takes specific sections of the code that dictate that the State Corporation

Commission (SCC) shall follow pro-utility provisions and changes it so that the SCC may follow them, if the SCC decides such action benefits customers.

b. This leaves the majority of Virginia’s utility-friendly code provisions intact but gives the SCC discretion over whether these provisions should be implemented during a rate case.

2. Allows the SCC to balance utility and ratepayer interests.

a. Utilities retain ability to recover all costs and their full authorized profit, but the SCC regains authority to determine the time period over which the utilities recover those costs.

b. SCC will be able to (i) prevent utilities from overcharging ratepayers in the future and (ii) order refunds for past overcharges.

3. Restores full SCC discretionary authority over:

a. The length of the recovery period for certain large-scale utility costs (storm expenses, metering retirements, etc.).

b. The cost recovery mechanism utilities can use for large-scale infrastructure projects.

c. Setting utility rates and authorized profit (ROE) moving forward.

d. Issuing full refunds to customers when they have been overcharged by their utility.

HB 2049 Eliminating Roadblocks for Electricity Rate Cuts

Chief Patron: Delegate Dan Helmer; Chief Co-Patrons: Delegate Sally Hudson, Delegate Suhas Subramanyam

This bill allows the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to set future electricity rates that fairly balance

ratepayer and utility interests by eliminating roadblocks currently preventing the SCC from ordering rate reductions.  The Bill:

1. Eliminates $50 million cap in rate reductions.

a. Under current law, the SCC is prevented from lowering rates by more than $50 million, only for Dominion Energy, regardless of whether analysis justifies a much larger rate cut.

b. In recent years, Dominion has overcharged Virginians by more than $300 million/year.

2. Allows SCC to set forward-going rates based on forward-going costs.

a. The SCC is legally barred from reducing Dominion Energy’s electricity rates in the future unless Dominion has been required to pay refunds for overcharges in the past.

b. In practice, this has allowed Dominion to dodge rate reductions by writing off large past expenses in a single year to eliminate refunds, thus preventing the SCC from lowering rates solely based on non-recurring past expenses.

3. Restores SCC authority to determine the recovery period for large costs.

a. Allows the SCC to consider ratepayer and shareholder interests when establishing appropriate cost recovery periods for large expenses like storm damage and metering retirements.

b. This eliminates a key accounting gimmick utilities can use to unfairly keep future rates higher than they should be.

c. This bill brings the rest of Virginia’s code in line with the General Assembly’s decision last year to restore SCC authority over cost recovery periods for retiring generation facilities.

4. Ensures the SCC can set rates as low as possible while still ensuring the utilities can recover their full cost of service and authorized profit but not so high as to continue overcharging customers.

HB 1984 Electric utilities; triennial review proceeding by SCC, fair rates of return. 

Chief Patron:  Sally Hudson, Dan Helmer (chief co-patron), Suhas Subramanyam (chief co-patron),  Dawn Adams, Lee Carter, Carrie Coyner, Patrick Hope, Jay Jones, Mark Keam, Kaye Kory, Sam Rasoul, Ibraheem Samirah, Shelly Simonds, Lee Ware

The Bill:

1. Enables utilities to build new infrastructure projects and guarantees that the utilities can recover the full cost of those projects – plus a guaranteed profit – through either base rates or rate adjustment clauses (RACs).

2. Rolls back a third, yet-untested cost recovery mechanism, the Customer Credit Reinvestment

Offset (CCRO).

a. CCROs are designed to allow utilities to instantaneously recover all of the costs for large infrastructure projects by using customer overcharges to instantly pay themselves back for new investments.

b. This is a departure from normal capital investing, where utilities recover their costs over time.

3. Allows the SCC to issue refunds when customers are overcharged.

a. Removing the CCRO mechanism is crucial to guaranteeing customer refunds because CCROs allow a utility to keep the money it has overcharged customers to pay itself back for capital investments.

b. Without this change, customers could lose the over $500 million they have been overcharged by Dominion Energy since 2017 (2020 SCC Annual Report).

4. Increases the SCC’s ability to lower energy prices moving forward.

a. The SCC is legally only allowed to lower a utility’s future rates if it finds that the utility was overcharging its customers in the past.

b. Because CCROs allow utilities to “disappear” past overcharges, if all of a utility’s overearnings are used up by CCROs, then the SCC cannot lower future rates.

c. This is true even though CCROs are all one-off, non-recurring costs.

HB 1914 Electric Utilities Period Costs

Patrons––Helmer, Cole, J.G., Hudson, Subramanyam, Bourne, Coyner, Davis, Hope and Lopez

The Bill:

Requires the Commission to conduct a review for a Phase II Utility in 2021, utilizing the four successive 12-month test periods beginning January 1, 2017, and ending December 31, 2020, with subsequent reviews on a triennial basis utilizing the three successive 12-month test periods ending December 31 immediately preceding the year in which such review proceeding is conducted.

HB 1835 Electric utilities; rate reductions.  

Chief Patron Suhas Subramanyam; Alfonso Lopez

The Bill

  • Eliminates provisions that limit any rate reduction ordered by the SCC in the first triennial review of Dominion Energy Virginia after January 1, 2021, to $50 million in annual revenues.
  • Provides that in any triennial review, regardless of whether (1) the Commission has ordered bill credits, (2) the utility earned above its authorized rate of return during the test period under review, or (3) the utility has made a request regarding any customer credit reinvestment offsets, the Commission may order any rate reduction it deems necessary and appropriate unless it finds that the resulting rates will not provide the utility with the opportunity to (i) fully recover its costs of providing its services and (ii) earn not less than a fair combined rate of return on its generation and distribution services.

HB 1994, patron Chris Runion

This bill extends the small agricultural generator benefits to businesses that sell Virginia agricultural products, businesses like wineries, breweries, distilleries, and farm markets.  Originally, only farmers growing crops and raising farm animals were eligible for small agricultural generator benefits.

This post is being updated as CAAV L&E members offer input.

1st Annual Harrisonburg “Green Friday”

Please join us to beautify downtown Harrisonburg. Rain or Shine. Touchless check-in. Families welcome. We will be set up outside Pale Fire Brewery, 217 N. Liberty St. We will provide trash bags, safety vests and guidance on where to go. Participants should wear masks, social distance, dress appropriately with proper footwear and protective gloves. Bring your own snacks and water. Prize drawings at info table.

CO-SPONSORS: Earth Day Every Day of Harrisonburg VA and Climate Action Alliance of the Valley

Facebook event page here.


Event photo by Cathy Strickler

Click on the image above for a video compilation from the event on Earth Day Every Day Harrisonburg’s Facebook page. Video credit: Andy Sams


1st Annual Harrisonburg “Green Friday” in the News

Green Is The New Black: Environmentalist Groups Swap Consumerist Tradition For Eco-Friendly ‘Green Friday’
By Kathleen Shaw, November 25, 2020
Daily News-Record


Environmental group hosts 1st annual “Green Friday” event in Harrisonburg
By Cayley Urenko, November 26, 2020
WHSV-TV3

“HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – We all know that Thanksgiving follows Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but an environmental organization is hosting its first annual “Green Friday” event on Nov. 27 in downtown Harrisonburg.”

One Minute for Earth Video Series

BLUESTONE COMMUNICATIONS
Jamison Crenshaw
crenshjn [at] dukes [dot] jmu [dot] edu
804-316-4971

EARTH DAY EVERY DAY AND CLIMATE ACTION ALLIANCE OF THE VALLEY TO PRESENT EDUCATIONAL VIDEO SERIES BEFORE ELECTION DAY

One Minute for Earth video series event will invite diverse speakers to share their stories of environmental care.

HARRISONBURG, Va.—One Minute for Earth-Giving the Planet a Voice on November 3rd is a collaboration hosted by Earth Day Every Day of Harrisonburg (EDED) and Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV) to share local citizen perspectives on issues related to the environment.

The video series, held through EDED’s Facebook page, allows community members to view videos from speakers and contribute their own personal “One Minute for Earth” video. EDED encourages anyone interested in speaking in their own video to reach out to EDED using the contact information at the end of the release.

Karen Ryder Lee, a member of both EDED and CAAV, proposed the project to the two groups. A volunteer team spearheaded the project with a goal of collaborating with a diverse group of more than 40 speakers from the community.

“We want to mobilize eco-minded people to register and vote,” says Lee. “By presenting down-to-earth people everyone can identify with, telling their stories of environment care and its impact on their candidate evaluation, we know we can encourage the valley to vote for the issues they care about.”

“The campaign is on its way to exceeding hopes,” adds Lee. “We expected the community speakers to touch as many as 2,000 people in presenting the case for electing pro-environment leaders into office across all levels. As of October 13, there have been 7,800 views for the 27 videos posted to date.”

Each speaker’s video offers quick access to a page with links to the official election information one needs, all in one place, for Augusta, Rockingham, Page and Shenandoah County areas. Links to the candidates’ sites are given so that voters can easily research their environmental platforms.

“The mission of the campaign,” EDED founder Elly Swecker says, “is to remind viewers why environmental issues are so important, encourage them to educate themselves about the candidates, and vote for those who make environment and climate change a priority.”

Some of the speakers sharing videos through the series include: Georgi Tomisato (farmer and president of Shenandoah Green based in Augusta County), Clymer and Kurtz (a Harrisonburg-based songwriting and performing duo) and Scottie Pendleton (physicist and faculty member at JMU).

Earth Day Every Day of Harrisonburg is a nonprofit environmental organization with the goal of reducing plastic waste in the Harrisonburg, VA community. Founder Elly Swecker began the initiative in 2019 in an effort to educate individuals about environmental sustainability practices and empower them by providing practical events and resources.

Contact: ellyswecker@gmail.com or 540-810-1929

EDED Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/EarthDayEveryDayHarrisonburg/

CAAV is a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting climate change mitigation in the Shenandoah Valley. For more information on CAAV, visit: https://climateactionallianceofthevalley.org/caav-mission-vision-and-goals-statements/

###


One Minute for the Earth in the News

Activists Team Up To Put Climate Awareness On The Ballot
By Calvin Pynn, October 30, 2020
WMRA

“Climate activist groups in the Shenandoah Valley have teamed up for a project collecting video testimonials. It’s an effort to urge voters to consider the environment as they vote in this election season. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.”

With success from video series, environmental coalition looks to future activism
By Sukainah Abid-Kons, November 24, 2020
Harrisonburg’s The Citizen

“A Harrisonburg-based coalition that focused on environmental issues during this fall’s political campaigns is now harnessing momentum from its “One Minute for Earth” video campaign and is shifting its focus to future activism. “

The Color of Money and Your Utility Bill: What Is and What Can Be

Watch the archived presentation of Harrison Wallace’s talk on October 28, 2020, posted to the Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club Facebook videos page. Thanks to Jonathan Stewart!


Wednesday, October 28, 2020 | 7PM

A Zoom presentation by Harrison Wallace, Director of Programs for the Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund; formerly Virginia Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network; and a JMU graduate.

Hosted by the Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club and the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley

People with limited money pay a bigger part of their incomes for electricity than those with bigger incomes.  Why is this and what can be done about it?  This environmental justice issue affects many people in very difficult ways.  Listen in and learn what we can do here in the valley and in Virginia.

Harrison Wallace, a native of Waynesboro and a JMU graduate, lobbied in Richmond several years for Chesapeake Climate Action Network and is now the Director of Programs for CCEEF – Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund.  He brings passion and knowledge to this important topic.

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://jmu-edu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMoc-2opzsvH9zv-m7qTXnDy9dh0ONMaZdz

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Letter to Mark Herring & Next Steps

Earlier this month, CAAV signed onto a letter to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring:

Dear Attorney General Herring,

Thank you for standing up to protect our Commonwealth from the current administration’s attempts to erode our democracy and pollute our environment. In July you filed a lawsuit to challenge the current administration’s undermining of the Clean Water Act. Now we need you to protect Virginia’s water and endangered species at risk within our borders by considering taking the following actions:

● Suing the Trump administration for rolling back the protections Congress passed in the Endangered Species Act.

● Providing guidance to the State Water Control Board to add the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) update to their September 24 meeting agenda. The board needs to address MVP’s pollution of Virginia waterways that provide habitat for endangered fish. It is the board’s responsibility to enforce the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act regulations.

See the complete letter as a pdf here.


Freeda Cathcart, Leader for the Gas And Pipeline Coalition, who helped organize this effort sent this follow-up on September 21, 2020:

“Thank you for signing onto the letter for AG Mark Herring. Thirty-three organizations signed the letter, representing over 335,000 people! 

It’s already bringing results! I received confirmation today that it has been forwarded to the State Water Control Board. Previously the staff at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality had ignored repeated requests for information about MVP’s continuing pollution of the waterways that are the habitat for endangered fish to be forwarded to the board. 

The next step is an easy one thanks to Mothers Out Front’s portal for individuals to be able to send an email directly to the State Water Control BoardIt only takes a couple of minutes and people can add to or change the suggested text. Please use this social media post to encourage others to sign and share. 

Working together we will defeat the Mountain Valley Pipeline while protecting our water and endangered species!”

From Mother Out Front – Roanoke and New River Valley:

It’s easy to send an email to the State Water Control Board to demand they protect our water and endangered fish from MVP’s continuing pollution. Just click on this link to a portal that will generate one for you:
http://va.mothersoutfront.org/tell_virginia_department_of_environmental_quality_to_protect_our_water_and_public_health

Action and Elections in Virginia: What Would Rachel Carson Do?

Watch Bob Musil of the Rachel Carson Council’s presentation from September 17 on YouTube by clicking the image above. You can also find it on Facebook here. Thanks to the Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club’s Jonathan Stewart for facilitating this event and making the recording available!


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Online from 7 PM – 8 PM

Hosted by the Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club and the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley

Robert K. Musil, PhD, MPH, President and CEO of the Rachel Carson Council, will join us to talk about Organizing, Advocacy and Elections, and how it is related to the work at the Rachel Carson Council.

All welcome! See below for registration information.

You can learn more about Bob Musil here:
https://rachelcarsoncouncil.org/about-rcc/about-president-robert-k-musil/

And you can learn more about how his work relates to the legacy of Rachel Carson here:
https://rachelcarsoncouncil.org/presidents-message/

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0qdu-rrzwuHtOlgdQlepQvYLACZ7iNIhFw

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


In addition to having served as President of the Rachel Carson Council since 2014, “Dr. Musil is also a Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, School of Public Affairs, American University, where he teaches about climate change and American environmental politics. He also has been a Visiting Scholar at the Churches’ Center for Theology and Public Policy, Wesley Theological Seminary, where he taught about religious responses to global warming and security threats.

From 1992-2006, Dr. Musil was the longest-serving Executive Director and CEO of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), winner of the 1985 Nobel Prize for Peace. During his tenure, he nearly tripled PSR’s membership, budget, and staff.” – Rachel Carson Council website, about Robert Musil

The Rachel Carson Council works to build strong links between traditional environmental organizing, national advocacy, and the climate justice movement, which has led the effort to underscore that communities and countries exploited through racial and economic inequality are the most vulnerable to climate change. The Rachel Carson Council also aims to support and join the mobilization of communities most affected by climate change and to work to reduce income inequality by advocating for the creation of jobs in clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and energy efficiency.” – Rachel Carson Council website, Our Work


Share the Facebook event page here!

“One Earth” Book Donations

Kathleen Shaw of the Daily News-Record covered this project for the September 29, 2020, issue: CAAV Donating Books To Motivate Change  


CAAV Chair Jo Anne St. Clair at right with a Vine & Fig volunteer and one of the first recipients of a CAAV donated book to inspire young people of all backgrounds to become environmental leaders, on August 5, 2020. Photo by Cathy Strickler.

Black, indigenous and people of color take center stage in a new environmental project by the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV). Cathy Strickler, founder of CAAV, has been intrigued by the potential impact of an award-winning book released in April 2020, for ages 12 and up, titled One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet by conservation biologist Anuradha Rao. By gifting copies of the book, she hopes that CAAV can reach young people who are choosing what their own path will be.

One Earth: People of Color Protecting our Planet … profiles Black, Indigenous and People of Color who live and work as environmental defenders. Through their individual stories, the book shows that the intersection of environment and ethnicity is an asset to achieving environmental goals. The twenty short biographies introduce readers to diverse activists from all around the world, who are of many ages and ethnicities. From saving ancient trees on the West Coast of Canada, to protecting the Irrawaddy dolphins of India, to uncovering racial inequalities in the food system in the United States, these environmental heroes are celebrated by author and biologist Anuradha Rao, who outlines how they went from being kids who cared about the environment to community leaders in their field. One Earth is full of environmental role models waiting to be found.”

The seed money for the project comes from donations to CAAV’s anti-pipeline campaign. That effort created a large metal sculpture, The Defenders, which was installed at multiple sites adjacent to the proposed path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to amplify the voices defending lives, land, health, clean water and clean air from fossil fuel expansion. Jo Anne St. Clair, chair of CAAV and Karen Lee, who helped implement The Defenders’ project, agree with Cathy: “It is appropriate that seed money for future defenders comes from The Defenders’ campaign.”

Jo Anne and Cathy brought a dozen of these books to Vine & Fig in Harrisonburg’s north end on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, in support of New Community Project’s recently launched Rocktown Sprouts. Developed to teach local youth about nurturing land, water and their health through growing plants and composting organic discards, the One Earth books will find an attentive and receptive audience through this program.

Other copies of Anuradha Rao’s One Earth: People of Color Protecting our Planet will hopefully find good homes through local middle and high schools and/or other young people’s learning and service organizations.

Books purchased with the remainder of The Defenders funds were donated to Vine & Fig to distribute to educators and young people working to protect and enrich our community and world. Jo Anne presented two books to volunteers who have been tending the gardens and taking food to Waterman Elementary School and Our Community Place. She presented a third book to a JMU student organizer who will be working with Vine & Fig this fall.Cathy Strickler, August 5, 2020

– Karen Lee and Adrie Voors

Jo Anne gives Vine & Fig volunteers copies of One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet on August 5. Photo by Cathy Strickler.

George Hirschmann

GeorgeHirschmannGeorge Hirschmann (I) is retired from working at WHSV television station as their Chief Meteorologist. He is running for reelection to the Harrisonburg City Council after first being elected in 2016. According to a WHSV news report, “if re-elected, he will continue to focus on elderly and homeless needs in the city and the needs of teachers and schools,” among other goals. Find more about Mr. Hirschmann on his City Council webpage.

See his response to CAAV’s Questionnaire below the list of questions:

1) Do you support the 50×25 campaign?

2) How would you implement the 3 goals of the 50×25 campaign?

3) What would you do to increase or facilitate the adoption of renewable energies or solar in City and School buildings?

4) How would you prioritize city and state resources for addressing environmental justice concerns, specifically energy efficiency for low income housing?

5) What do you think about recycling?

6) Is there anything Harrisonburg can do to reduce transportation emissions, the largest sector of climate change emissions in VA and the United States?

I believe in science and the fact that humans have an effect on the environment. As your Councilman I support recycling, the efforts the Harrisonburg Electric Commission is making for solar, and I support improving connectivity within the city for waking and bicycle use. We must continue to clean Blacks Run and the Shenandoah River. I believe we should continue working with JMU and innovators at the University to combat pollution and Climate Change. Rain barrels have popped up across the city which has helped with saving water and sustainable gardening. 

During my four years on council I am proud of my Independent record and ability to work with all groups in the city to make Harrisonburg a more inclusive community with equity for all. Please visit my website for more information and contact me directly. Please remember social distancing and to wear a mask to protect our vulnerable community members. 

It is an honor to serve you and the people of Harrisonburg,

Councilman George Hirschmann 

Kathleen Kelley

KathleenKelleyKathleen Kelley (R) is a medical doctor practicing integrative and alternative medicine who is running for Harrisonburg City Council. According to an article in the Daily News-Record, she would like to help “make the city ‘crisis-proof'” by expanding business and education opportunities in the city, among other goals. Find out more about her campaign at the Kelley4Council website and Facebook page.

CAAV has made multiple attempts to receive responses to the questionnaire from Kathleen Kelley in hopes of discovering and sharing her opinions on these issues. As of the start of voting on September 18, she has declined to answer the questionnaire.