Record Number of House Delegates Vote for 100% Clean Energy Bill Amendments in Richmond

CCAN Applauds Delegate Sam Rasoul and Other Champions

RICHMOND, Virginia– Today, a record 48 members of the Virginia House of Delegates voted for creating a realistic pathway to 100% clean electricity, providing funding for economic development in low-income communities and communities threatened by sea level rise, and creating Virginia’s first environmental justice task force. There were multiple floor amendments introduced on the floor today to HB 1635, a clean energy bill that ultimately failed. But strong amendments to the bill nearly passed with 48 Democrats versus 51 Republicans. The vote represents the strongest support for sound climate policy in the state’s history, and signals likely passage of such policy in the near future.

Last week, Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) called for bipartisan collaboration on HB 1635 and the need to address climate change. The Delegate offered pragmatic changes to the bill in order to allow Virginians to keep their lights on and electric bills low while the Commonwealth answers the calls for immediate action on climate from both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s own report on climate change.

Thursday’s General Assembly vote results also come after recent polling conducted by Lake Research Partners found that 73% of registered voters believe Virginia should build a new economy aiming for 100% renewable energy and the jobs that will come with it.

In response, Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director of the CCAN Action Fund, released the following statement:

“We applaud Delegate Sam Rasoul and Delegate David Toscano for introducing multiple floor amendments to HB 1635. These positive amendments laid out the benchmarks needed to create a just and equitable pathway to 100% clean electricity, as called for by the ‘Green New Deal Virginia’ coalition. We want to thank all 48 delegates who voted for those amendments.

“However, even as a majority of Americans and Virginians believe we need to create a plan to get to 100% clean electricity, 51 Republican legislators repeatedly refused to answer this call to action. This harmful rejection also comes after the Trump Administration released a dire report on the destruction that climate change could bring to the Commonwealth and the rest of the country if we don’t take ambitious action quickly.

“We are especially disappointed in Republican legislators from Hampton Roads who rejected an opportunity to bring the first-ever dedicated funds for coastal resilience to the state. By opposing a compromise amendment, coastal Republicans have officially taken ownership of the damage and destruction associated with sea level rise in their districts.

“Most Virginia voters do not think that solving the climate crisis is a trivial matter or that the topic should be used as a political football. That’s why we at CCAN will continue to work with Delegate Rasoul and the other legislators who have endorsed ‘Green New Deal Virginia’ to craft a comprehensive pathway to 100% clean electricity and we look forward to making this goal a reality in 2020. In the meantime, we encourage every other legislator who understands the urgency of the climate crisis to endorse the ‘Green New Deal Virginia’ platform.”

CONTACT:
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, 608-620-8819, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org
Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director, 804-305-1472, harrison@chesapeakeclimate.org