Advocates rally in Richmond for clean energy bills

Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Hundreds of people rallied at the State Capitol on Tuesday morning in an effort to push lawmakers to adopt stricter climate change laws. Several environmental bills will be considered over the next couple of weeks in the Virginia General Assembly.

Advocates say Virginia needs to do its part in protecting the climate and some legislators hope to make it a reality this year. Twelve-year-old Gurden Campbell was one of the people in the crowd calling for lawmakers to act.

“The General Assembly has a chance to do something real. Let’s make sure that they do it,” she said. “I think that it’s really important that people realize that this is something that’s happening now. It’s not something that’s happening in 40 years.”

“It’s going to be a tough fight. Just because we have a new majority doesn’t mean everything is going to happen the way we want it,” said Harrison Wallace, Virginia director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. ​

Several bills are on the table in 2020, including two bills, House Bill 1526 and Senate Bill 851, that make up the clean economy act.

“Its main goal is to eliminate fossil fuel combustion by 2050, also invest in energy efficiency which lowers our bills, makes our homes more insulated, and then also investing in distributed energy, so solar panels on your roof. Community solar and making that more affordable for folks,” Wallace said. 

Some say protecting the climate would require addressing how people get around. Several other bills support replacing traditional cars with electric ones.

“I think there’s gonna be some tough convincing to be done but we’re not gonna stop,” Connie Wright-Zink with Virginia Organizing told 8News.

The clean economy act would impact energy companies like Dominion. 8News reached out to Dominion Energy for comment, who replied with the following statement:

We are reviewing the proposed bill language. We are focused on building the largest offshore wind project in North America off the coast of Virginia Beach and on growing our solar portfolio in Virginia. We do not view decades old hydro in other states as an adequate substitute for creating new clean energy and new jobs here in Virginia.”

Dominion Energy

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