Climate

Virginia Governor Signs the First Statewide Clean Energy Standard in the Southeast

Gov. Ralph Northam gives the birds and people of Virginia hope for a clean energy future with the Virginia Clean Economy Act.

RICHMOND – “It’s a sign of hope for the birds and people of Virginia. With the signing of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, Governor Northam and the state legislature have demonstrated a commitment to a clean energy future for the Commonwealth. The VCEA shows 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. “Even in this time of uncertainty, both threatened communities and vulnerable birds like Cerulean Warblers and Saltmarsh Sparrows will have a fighting chance against climate change. This bill also prioritizes its people with legislation that will spur economic and job growth throughout the Commonwealth.”

“The VCEA is a significant first step in the right direction toward large-scale equitable climate policy. Virginia legislators made it clear that it is the time to act; we don’t have time to waste. This bill shows the success of a pragmatic, market-based approach in achieving state economy-wide solutions and the potential for similar legislation on federal levels to dramatically reduce carbon emissions nationwide,” said Moody.

The VCEA passed the state legislature on March 6, 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic developed in the U.S. and Virginia. The bills were led through each chamber by sponsors Delegate Rip Sullivan and Senator Jennifer McClellan, with additional leadership from Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw.

The legislation provides a blueprint to 100% carbon-free energy production; enacts a binding energy efficiency standard to reduce overall energy consumption; sets a path to closing all fossil fuel emitting power plants in Virginia by 2045; and requires utilities to increase wind and solar energy every year through a mandatory renewable portfolio standard.

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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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