RICHMOND, VA — The oldest deliberative body in the Western Hemisphere made a new kind of history today. With climate change impacts growing worldwide and scientists saying we’re almost out of time, the Virginia General Assembly leaped into national leadership on climate policy with passage of the “Virginia Clean Economy Act” (SB 851). Now, Governor Northam has cemented Virginia’s place in climate history after signing the bill into law.
Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director of the CCAN Action Fund, stated:
“With Governor Northam’s signature, Virginia has officially codified bold climate action. The Virginia Clean Economy Act sends a clear message to polluters in Virginia and possibly beyond: investments in fossil fuels are not only immoral, they are uneconomical. Now, with the passage of this historic legislation, we have the opportunity to bring thousands of Virginians to work in a new energy economy that will clean up our air and improve public health.
“We would like to thank Governor Northam and our legislative champions, Senator Jennifer McClellan and Delegate Rip Sullivan, for listening to scientists and taking truly groundbreaking steps toward climate stability. They have proven that even in a southern coal state, climate progress is not only possible, it is inevitable.
“While we are excited to play a part in the beginning of a new era of climate progress in the Commonwealth, we do not see this bill as the culmination of our work. We at the CCAN Action Fund will continue to fight for equitable decarbonization in all sectors of our economy and to stand up against reckless fracked gas boondoggles like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”
The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) was the top legislative priority of CCAN Action Fund. The bill passed with a bi-partisan majorities in the House of Delegates (51-45) and the Senate (22-17). It passed thanks to the committed leadership of dozens of legislators, especially chief patron Rip Sullivan (D-Fairfax) in the House and Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) in the Senate.
The CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 17 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.