Leading members of Virginia’s environmental community today applauded Senator Donald McEachin’s energy efficiency legislation as a winning plan for Virginia. By creating energy efficiency standards for utilities, the legislation will create jobs and save families money on their energy bills while also reducing the demand for mountaintop removal coal mining and cutting pollution linked to global warming.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 6, 2010
Environmental Community Applauds Senator McEachin’s Jobs Plan
Energy efficiency legislation will save Virginians money, preserve the environment, reduce mountaintop removal coal mining
RICHMOND, VA (1/6/10)-Leading members of Virginia’s environmental community today applauded Senator Donald McEachin’s energy efficiency legislation as a winning plan for Virginia. By creating energy efficiency standards for utilities, the legislation will create jobs and save families money on their energy bills while also reducing the demand for mountaintop removal coal mining and cutting pollution linked to global warming.
The McEachin jobs bill would require Virginia utilities to reduce energy consumption 12% by 2022 by investing in readily-available energy-efficiency improvements. These investments will boost Virginia’s economy and create a demand for energy efficient construction, weatherizing schools and buildings, and performing energy audits on homes. According to the independent American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, the McEachin bill would create up to 10,000 new high-quality jobs in the state.
Senator McEachin introduced a similar bill, Senate Bill 1447, last legislative session, which received major public support.
Environmental groups praised the McEachin bill because it would enable Virginia to meet its energy needs without constructing new, expensive power plants like the 1500-megawatt plant proposed for the Hampton Roads area. Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s coal plant would be constructed in close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and would emit 118 pounds of mercury and 920 pounds of lead annually. The plant would also release 14.6 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, the main contributor to global warming. With over 3,000 miles of tidal shoreline, Virginia’s coasts from Alexandria to Norfolk are extremely vulnerable to increased storm surges and rising seas resulting from a warmer planet.
The bill would also reduce the demand for coal which, in turn, would cut down on the demand for mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal coal mining blasts the tops off mountains to expose the coal. The dirt and rubble are dumped in nearby valleys, burying miles of headwater streams and polluting downstream waterways. The practice devastates the environment and communities. Coal companies have already destroyed 67 Virginia mountains through mountaintop removal mining.
Senator McEachin’s jobs bill is supported by: Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light, Sierra Club, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Southern Environmental Law Center, Virginia Conservation Network, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light
Following are statements of support from environmental community members:
Chelsea Harnish of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network: “It’s easy to see why there’s such a groundswell of support for meaningful energy efficiency legislation. Efficiency is a win-win-win: It grows jobs, shrinks power bills, and cuts global warming pollution.”
Kathy Selvage of the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards: “Boosting the Commonwealth’s economy and leaving her beautiful mountains intact are both excellent choices for the benefit of our future generations. There are no negatives here.”
Glen Besa, Virginia Director for Sierra Club: “Investing in energy efficiency saves consumers money and creates jobs, just what we need to get our economy moving. There is no downside to this legislation.”
Tom Cormons, Virginia Director for Appalachian Voices: This legislation represents a win-win scenario for Virginia. With smart investments in efficiency, the state can avoid building costly and environmentally destructive traditional power plants and create thousands of permanent jobs.