Clean Energy Business Owners and Residents Protest Clean Energy Shutout at Governors Energy Summit

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

by: Sierra Club NovaHub

This morning, clean energy business owners and Virginia residents participated in a rally and press conference organized by the Sierra Club and Chesapeake Climate Action Network that called on Governor McDonnell to support clean energy development and stronger Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) safeguards for Virginia families.As the host to some of the South's most influential elected officials at today's Southern States Energy Board (SSEB) Summit, Gov. McDonnell was the opening speaker for a summit entitled Shaping Energy Policy: The Critical Path for States whose agenda lacked any discussions on clean energy, energy efficiency or how proposed EPA protections can benefit Virginians. Instead, the agenda solely featured panels on oil and gas development, nuclear energy and claims on how EPA regulations will impact the fossil-fuel industry
"Governor McDonnell's total exclusion from today's Energy Summit of not only renewable energy, but how he will protect the health of Virginia families while providing the energy they need indicates that his priorities are misguided," said Keith Thirion, Virginia organizer for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
"Is Governor McDonnell putting the profits of Big Oil and King Coal before the health of Virginia families?" said Kate Pollard, field organizer for the Sierra Club. "With this one-sided agenda on energy policy in meetings and summits predominantly sponsored by dirty energy companies, what else are we to believe?"  
Sierra Club NovaHub :: Clean Energy Business Owners and Residents Protest Clean Energy Shutout at Governors Energy Summit
Gov. McDonnell, who recently declared October "Energy Month," is the chairman of the SSEB. The summit comes in advance of the Board's annual meeting in Richmond on October 15; a meeting whose agenda also lacks any discussions on renewable energy.
"Addressing climate change, which is primarily caused by burning fossil fuels, through stronger EPA protections is supported by 71% of registered voters, and is a continued concern for Virginians especially in light of increasingly severe storms and flooding," said Thirion. "Instead of convening this 'Polluter Fest,' the governor should focus on spurring green industries in the commonwealth by developing clean energy sources like offshore wind power that alone would bring 10,000 jobs to Virginia."
"Virginia needs a focus on renewable energy, especially solar energy," said Kent Baake, renewable business owner of Continuum Solar. "Last year showed huge demand for solar when an incentive through federal ARRA funds were available. Coal gets $45 million every year for a production tax credit, why can't solar share in some of this state government support?"
Check out the photos from the rally...