Will Virginia's Governor Take More Action to Protect Environment?

May 15, 2017

Solar panels on a library in Arlington. Governor McAuliffe could take more steps to support renewable energy before he leaves office.
Credit Arlington County Environmental Services

As Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe faces his final few months in office, environmental groups are pushing him to take action on climate change. 


Environmental groups say Governor Terry McAuliife has taken positive steps on some environmental issues, like rejecting uranium mining and advocating solar energy. But there’s one campaign promise from 2013 that some say is unfulfilled — working against climate change.

 

“If Governor McAuliffe would set forth a strong cap on carbon pollution and help break down barriers to renewable energy development, then we can create tens of thousands of jobs in Virginia," sats Michael Town, executive director of Virginia League of Conservation Voters. "We can lower electric rates and we can do our part in combating climate change.”

 

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says the governor is likely to take some kind of action before he leaves office at the end of the year. 

 

“The only reason I think McAuliffe wouldn’t do something is if he just didn’t believe it would be good for economic development in Virginia, if he thought it might hurt job growth or hurt the economy or hurt job growth then I think he might be reluctant,” says Kidd. 

 

Any action from McAuliffe would have to be done through executive order, without help from the Republican-controlled General Assembly. A working group exploring that issue is expected to offer recommendations by the end of May.

 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association