The Virginia General Assembly session just wrapped up and your legislators have headed back to their districts. Here’s a run down on what happened in the last 46 days:
These bills had our full support and passed this session:
HB 2191 and SB 975 Patroned by Delegate Adam Ebbin and Senator Mary Margaret Whipple:
You have heard from us frequently throughout session about this legislation, which establishes a voluntary solar resource development fund. Through this fund, Virginia homeowners can apply for low-interest loans to put solar PV or solar thermal on their rooftops. This fund will help homeowners with the upfront costs associated with these installations while creating jobs in the clean energy sector in the Commonwealth. Anyone can contribute to this fund once the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy creates it later this year.
HB 1686 Patroned by Delegate David Toscano:
This legislation will promote distributed solar generation by setting up a pilot program for utility-owned facilities. It also allows utilities to create a tariff to encourage citizens to own distributed solar generation.
HB 2389 Patroned by Delegate Albert Pollard:
The Virginia Resource Authority (VRA) provides cost-effective financing to Virginia municipalities for various projects. HB 2389 allows the VRA to add more renewable energy projects to its list of projects it can already finance for municipalities.
HJ 605 Patroned by Delegate John Cosgrove:
This resolution expresses the support of the General Assembly for 3,000 MW of offshore wind production off our coast, as well as, the establishment of a National Offshore Wind Technology Center in Hampton Roads.
We opposed the following bills, which failed this session:
HB 1397 and HB 1398 Patroned by Delegate Robert Marshall
Both of these bills would have exempted Virginia from any federal cap and trade regulations if they were to pass Congress. HB 1397 would have exempted new buildings from federal energy efficiency standards while HB 1398 would defer EPA regulation of carbon dioxide emissions in Virginia. HB 1397 failed to report from a Senate subcommittee of Commerce and Labor while HB 1398 failed to report from the full House Courts and Justice committee.
HB 1438 Patroned by Delegate Mark Cole
This legislation would have exempted all goods produced or manufactured within the Commonwealth from federal regulations. This bill, if passed, would have allowed coal mined in Virginia to be exempt from clean air and water standards. HB 1438 failed to report from a Senate subcommittee of Commerce and Labor.
HB 2470 Patroned by Delegate James Morefield
This legislation would have prohibited the State Air Pollution Control Board and the Department of Environmental Quality from taking any action to restrict carbon dioxide emissions and would void the enforcement of EPA standards within the Commonwealth. HB 2470 failed to report from the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions.
Bills we supported that failed and bills we opposed that passed this session:
HB 2123 and SB 1025 Patroned by Delegate Poindexter and Senator Puckett
Big Coal flexed its muscle at the General Assembly this session by getting these bills passed into law, which will create a loophole allowing mountaintop removal projects to bypass EPA water quality standards.
SB 814 Patroned by Senator Donald McEachin
We worked with Senator McEachin on this bill to prohibit drilling off our coast in Virginia. Offshore drilling is a real threat to Virginia and the people who rely on the coast for their livelihood. The Obama Administration has placed a temporary ban on offshore drilling this ban is not permanent. This legislation would have placed further restrictions on offshore drilling making it nearly impossible to practice off our coast. This bill failed to report out of Senate Commerce and Labor.
SB 907 Patroned by Senator Donald McEachin
This bill would have established a set rate structure for all investor owned utilities in Virginia to encourage energy efficiency. This rate structure, known as inclining block rates, would have charged higher rates for consumption exceeding a certain amount per billing period. This bill failed to report out of Senate Commerce and Labor.