In Virginia, our communities are on the front lines of three major fossil fuel threats:
- Pipelines: Fossil fuel companies want to build two major new fracked-gas pipelines across the state.
- Coal ash: The state’s largest utility, Dominion Power, is rushing forward with a “pollute in place” coal ash disposal plan, despite testing that shows toxic heavy metals are already leaching into waterways.
- Flooding: Coastal communities and military bases face increasingly dangerous flooding — and inundation within this century — due to rising sea levels driven by global warming.
Governor McAuliffe ran for office on a platform of climate action and environmental protection. On each of these issues, Governor McAuliffe has the power to make a difference. Yet, so far, the Governor is failing to put the welfare of Virginians over the profits of polluters.
Governor McAuliffe has been a cheerleader for the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines for fracked gas, which would together trigger nearly twice as much climate pollution as all existing power plants in Virginia combined. His Department of Environmental Quality has continued to rubber-stamp coal ash disposal permits that would virtually guarantee further contamination of major rivers and nearby drinking sources with toxic heavy metals. And Governor McAuliffe has remained silent when it comes to the biggest proposed state-level solution to protect our coast from rising seas.
Citizens have delivered thousands of petitions, made hundreds of calls, rallied in 99-degree heat, and picketed in front of the Governor’s offices. Together, we’ve called on Governor McAuliffe and his administration to reject reckless pipeline and coal ash permits, and champion solutions for 100% renewable energy and flooding adaptation. In October 2016, 23 Virginians peacefully blocked the gate to Governor McAuliffe’s mansion, and were arrested, demanding real leadership.
It’s time for Governor McAuliffe to put people before polluters, and Virginians will keep holding him accountable. Find information and resources below to learn more and take action.
Here’s what Gov. McAuliffe can and must do:
Pipelines: Gov. McAuliffe’s administration can make the determination that proposed fracked-gas pipelines violate the Clean Water Act.
The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) would each impact hundreds of waterways and wetlands, endangering drinking water and sensitive ecological terrain. The State of Virginia has the clear authority to grant or deny the Water Quality Certification that each pipeline needs under section 401 of the Clean Water Act. Governor McAuliffe and his Department of Environmental Quality must exercise it.
Governor McAuliffe’s Department of Environmental Quality must conduct a hard and thorough project-specific review of each pipeline, and reject permits that threaten the drinking water and waterways on which Virginians depend.
See our “No New Pipelines” campaign page to get involved.
Coal Ash: Gov. McAuliffe’s administration can require Dominion to move toxic coal ash away from waterways.
Dominion wants the McAuliffe administration to sign off on a “cap in place” approach that would involve burying the toxic ash in unlined pits next to rivers where it could continue to pollute rivers and drinking water supplies for years to come.
Instead, Gov. McAuliffe’s Department of Environmental Quality should immediately require Dominion to move the waste to modern, lined landfills in a way that permanently protects water resources, just as the Carolinas and Georgia are requiring utilities to do.
More information: Fact sheet on Dominion’s toxic coal ash plans.
Coastal Flooding: Gov. McAuliffe can champion state-based solutions to protect Virginia’s coast from rising seas.
Governor McAuliffe can and must endorse and champion the bipartisan Virginia Coastal Protection Act, or an equally robust plan for mobilizing dedicated state funding for adaptation solutions. By adding Virginia to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a proven regional carbon cap system, the legislation would generate more than $250 million per year in new, dedicated state revenue to support statewide flooding resiliency efforts.
More over, the latest climate math shows that investments in new fossil fuels must stop now in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. Climate leadership requires championing 100% renewable energy solutions — not massive pipelines that will only worsen dangerous flooding.
See our “Safe Coast Virginia” campaign page for more information on what’s at stake.
Pledge to resist the Atlantic Coast & Mountain Valley Pipelines: Sign the “Pipeline Pledge of Resistance” to take a stand against fracked gas and for clean water, property rights and a safe climate.
Report card: Grading the Governor: Gov. McAuliffe is Close to Failing on Key Energy and Climate Issues (April 2016)
Open letter to Gov. McAuliffe from over 70 groups and leaders: A New Vision for Energy Justice, Democratic Renewal, and Healthy Communities in Virginia (June 15, 2016)
March on the Mansion: 600 Virginians ‘March on the Mansion’ to Tell Gov. McAuliffe: Put People Over Polluters on Pipelines, Coal Ash, and Climate Action (July 23, 2016)
3-Day Picket: Virginians Launch Three-day Picket Line Outside of Gov. McAuliffe’s Richmond Offices (Oct. 3, 2016)
Letter to McAuliffe from Virginian war veteran, pastor, landowner, student, nurse, and more: Eight Virginians on the front lines of Gov. McAuliffe’s support for dirty energy share how his policies are harming them.
Poll: Virginia Voters Oppose Gov. McAuliffe on Fracked-Gas Pipelines, Coal Ash Disposal (Sept. 21, 2016)
Civil disobedience: 23 Citizens Arrested at Virginia Governor’s Mansion to Stop Pipelines, Protect Water (Oct. 5, 2016)