Joined by Delegate Will Morefield and Senator Ben Chafin, 2017 Republican candidate for governor Ed Gillespie stood up for Virginia’s consumers against overreach from the McAuliffe-Northam Administration in today’s Clean Power Plan-like Executive Directive. The Executive Directive requires the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to develop regulations to abate, control, or limit carbon dioxide emissions from electric power facilities and to ensure that Virginia’s regulation is “trading-ready” by December 31, 2017. Following a tour of Deep Mine 41 in Dickenson County, Gillespie stressed the harmful consequences this policy could have for Virginia families, businesses and our long-term objectives for economic growth.
Ed Gillespie: We’re here in Dickenson County today. I was just down in Deep Mine 41, a couple days in Southwest Virginia, and as I’ve been talking to folks who are in the coal sector, there has been some optimism and a sense that we’ve had some relief from Washington, D.C. But, then discouraging news today out of Richmond and our own Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General coming forward with an executive directive to the Department of Environmental Quality to have the proposal for new regulations on abatement of CO2 emissions by December 31st of this year, to come forward with proposals to be implemented in the course of the next governorship, which raises the stakes of this governor’s election. Also to set up a cap and trade system essentially in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I’m here with two leaders in this region and two folks who know very well that we have to help the coal sector if we’re going to create jobs and have affordable energy in Southwest Virginia: My friend Delegate Will Morefield, my friend Senator Ben Chafin.
Senator Ben Chafin: Well Ed you know the stakes couldn’t be higher right now. I mean as Chairman of the Commerce and Labor Subcommittee for renewable energy in the Senate, I’m really disappointed with the direction that the Governor is going and the direction that the candidates running against you are clearly going in. I’m really disappointed because it’s a clear indicator that they’re going to continue Obama’s war against coal. We need the jobs here. We need the cheap prices of energy here. We need this economy to grow here in Southwest Virginia for our economy overall in Virginia to be good.
Delegate Will Morefield: Ed we all want to be good stewards of the environment, but the reality is we got to start applying a common sense approach to energy policy, and it’s unfortunate to hear this news today. We all understand that the ultimate person who is going to pay for this is the ratepayer. It will significantly increase utility rates, and we’re simply not applying common sense to energy policy. It is unfortunate that this more or less a state approach to cap and trade. As you know we have worked extremely hard over the past several of years to fight the previous administration and the overburdensome regulations that they were imposing on the coal industry. We are all familiar in Southwest Virginia with what those regulations did to the industry, did to the region and so this type proposal is unfortunately a war on the poor and working class of Virginia.
Ed Gillespie: We all want cleaner air; we all want cleaner water. We can get those things without these excessive regulations that are job-killing and cost-increasing. One of the reasons I asked Delegate Morefield and Senator Chafin to be co-chairs of my policy development working group on Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources is because they are experts in this area. We’re going to come forward with energy policies that respect the environment, that will make energy more affordable and will help foster job-creation, not kill jobs in Virginia. Thanks, guys. It’s great to be with you in Southwest Virginia.