On June 16th, The Trump administration issued its replacement for President Barack Obama’s climate change regulation. This roll-back effectively cripples the Obama’s EPA’s plan, which was the center of his climate change efforts in 2016. Since the Obama legislation went into effect, states have been pushed to use natural gas and renewable sources and reduce their dependence on coal.

Not anymore. The climate change rollback is the first in a long list of rollbacks planned for the year that will restrict the EPA’s power and make it more difficult for future White House Administration to effectively use the EPA for positive.

The new final rule, which was signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, eliminates the Obama EPA’s targets that would have required states to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, which would have hit coal power plants hard. It replaces them with a narrower plan that allows states to upgrade the efficiency of power plants to drive carbon dioxide reductions. “Our [new rule] will incentivize new technologies that can ensure coal plants will be part of our clean future,” Wheeler said at a signing event at EPA headquarters. (Politico 2019)

It’s not all bad news. In the last several week, several Republicans have joined in the environmental debate proving this isn’t just a partisan issue. As voters become increasingly worried about the fate of the environment, several congressman and senators have formed the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus which will “embrace and promote constructive efforts to address environmental problems, responsibly plan for all market factors, and base policy decisions on science and quantifiable facts” (National Review, 2019)

Here’s what our candidates had to say about environmental protections:

Ghazala Hashmi | VA SD10

The health of Virginia’s environment is the foundational rock for all of our communities. Ensuring protections for clean air, water, and soil are not options; they are safeguards of our most valuable legacies for our children and grandchildren. Environmental protections and regulations protect our communities and place people over profit.

Debra Rodman | VA SD12

Debra has a masters in Marine Affairs and Policy from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. She serves on the Agriculture Committee in the House of Delegates where she advocates for a responsible shift to cleaner energy sources and fights for clean air and water.

In 2017, Debra was one of the first candidate’s to sign Activate Virginia’s pledge to refuse money from Dominion and public service corporations. As a Delegate she voted and whipped votes against legislation which weakened the oversight powers of the State Corporation Commission over Dominion Energy. She has also carried legislation to test for increased lead levels in drinking water, and legislation that would strengthen the SCC’s ability to curtail overcharges and protect consumers.

John Bell | VA SD13

John is proud to have earned the support of the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters in all of his campaigns and during his time in the Virginia House of Delegates. John knows that the future of Virginia energy is green and has pledged not to accept campaign contributions from publicly regulated utility corporations in his race for State Senate.

In the Senate, John will advocate for:
● Tax credits for green energy technology
● Cleanup for environmentally protected areas
● Creating high paying jobs for more Virginians with a clean energy economy

Wendy Gooditis | VA HD10

Wendy believes that strong communities start with a healthy planet. Raising her children on the banks of the Shenandoah River, Wendy chose to live in District 10 because of its beautiful green spaces, clean water, and clear air.

In office, Wendy defends and expands existing environmental protections. To ensure that she can legislate without bias, Wendy has pledged never to take campaign contributions from Dominion Power or Appalachian Power.

Wendy supports Virginia’s investment in renewable energy, making alternative energy options like solar panels and wind energy more accessible and affordable. She pushes for cleanup efforts and the preservation of District 10’s best green spaces. Development must be responsible, and cannot come at the cost of our land, water, and air.

Larry Barnett | VA HD27 

Larry was endorsed by the Sierra Club in the 2017 campaign for my position on safeguarding our clean air and water and protecting the environment for future generations. He will work tirelessly to protect and preserve Virginia’s valuable natural resources. Larry fully supports the development of innovative, sustainable, and renewable energy and technology sources, such as solar and wind, that will enable Virginia to move toward a better future. He has pledged to not accept funds from Dominion or Appalachian Power to avoid the appearance of undue influence and focus on serving the people he represents.

Karen Mallard | VA HD84

Growing up in Coal Country in Wise County, Virginia, Karen saw the impact of environmental devastation on the health and income of her family and neighbors. In the House of Delegates, Karen will fight to protect Virginia Beach residents whose homes are threatened by flooding, which is the inevitable result of climate change and rising sea levels. She will stand against any and all offshore drilling on the coastline and will work tirelessly to attract high-paying green jobs to the Virginia Beach community

Phil Hernandez | VA HD100

Hernandez recognizes Coastal Virginia is vulnerable to rising sea levels and stronger storms, and calling for more energy to come from renewable sources to combat climate change.


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Guillen, A. (2019) “Trump rolls back Obama’s biggest climate rule” sourced from: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/19/trump-coal-climate-rule-1539616

Bartsch, K. (2019) “Republicans take an important step back in the environmental debate” sourced from: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/07/republicans-take-an-important-step-back-into-the-environmental-debate/