Climate

Virginia Becomes Climate Leader in Southeast Passing Historic Clean Economy Act

The 100% clean energy standard legislation gives birds and people of Virginia a “fighting chance against climate change.”

RICHMOND – “Today is a huge win for birds and people that gives us hope in the face of increasingly dire climate threats. The pragmatic, market-based approach of the Virginia Clean Economy Act demonstrates that commonsense climate leadership is taking root in the Southeast and strengthening throughout the U.S.,” said Gary Moody, director of state and local climate strategy at the National Audubon Society. “The leadership shown in Virginia gives climate-vulnerable birds like the Cerulean Warbler and the Saltmarsh Sparrow – and people – that depend on clean air and water in Virginia a fighting chance against climate change.”

Today, the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia State Senate passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) with a 51-45 vote on HB 1526 and a 22-17 vote on SB 851. The bills were led through each chamber by sponsors Delegate Sullivan and Senator McClellan, with additional leadership from Speaker Filler-Corn, Senate Majority Leader Saslaw and Governor Northam’s team.

The historic legislation provides a roadmap to achieving 100% carbon-free energy production and reduces overall energy consumption across the Commonwealth by enacting a binding energy efficiency standard. This bill also sets a path to closing all fossil fuel emitting power plants in Virginia by 2045 while requiring utilities to increase wind and solar energy every year through a mandatory renewable portfolio standard.

“Virginia legislators have made it clear that we don’t have time to waste; it is the time to act. It is a first step to more robust, equitable climate policy, but it is an impressive step in the right direction in achieving economy-wide solutions on state and federal levels that will dramatically reduce carbon emissions,” said Moody.

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The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using, science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more about how to help at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

Media Contact: Chandler Lennon, chandler.lennon@audubon.org, 212.979.3063

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