Planning for Climate Change
Senator Locke and Delegate Stolle have introduced companion resolutions SJ 3 and HJ 16 to establish a committee tasked with making statewide recommendations for addressing recurrent flooding in the coastal areas of Virginia. Sea level rise caused by global climate change and subsidence of coastal lands, make areas such as the Hampton Roads community dangerously vulnerable to flooding, tidal surges and storms.
Update: HJ 16/ SJ 3 has passed both the House and Senate of Virginia, and awaits signature by the Governor to become law.
No Welfare for Dominion!
State lawmakers will vote soon on a bill that would allow Dominion Virginia Power to play accounting games that protect their bottom line.
Senate Bill 459 and the House Companion HB 1059 will allow Dominion to write off the majority of $570 million dollars spent between 2007 and 2013 studying the feasibility of a third nuclear reactor at the North Anna station in Louisa County. Without this legislation, Dominion wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to recoup those costs until it begins to actually build the new reactor.
What is the effect on every Dominion customer paying their utility bills in Virginia? This legislation will keep electricity rates higher than they ought to be, because ratepayers are now subsidizing research on a new nuclear reactor that will probably never even be constructed. North Anna 3 would sit on the same site where North Anna 1 and 2 were shut down by the earthquake in nearby Mineral, Virginia in August 2011– just thirteen miles from the epicenter!
Update: SB 459 has passed both the House and the Senate of Virginia. The Attorney General has put suggested amendments before the Governor, which would take this accounting gimmick back to the State Corporation Commission where it belongs.
Fracking in Virginia?
Senator Richard Stuart has introduced Senate Bill 48 to ensure that appropriate environmental reviews and regulatory oversight are in place to protect Virginia communities and the Chesapeake Bay from the negative impacts of hydraulic fracking.
While our preference is that no new oil or gas wells be drilled in Virginia, this legislation will start a new regulatory process that can examine all aspects of drilling in the sensitive and vulnerable coastal plain region.
Please take action by writing your House delegate to say that a yes vote on Senate Bill 48 is a critical first step to preserve Virginia’s most precious resource – the fresh water that sustains human life, wildlife, agriculture, recreation, and industry.
Update: SB48 passed the Senate with bipartisan support 28-12. The bill was laid on the table (killed) in the House Commerce and Labor Committee by a party line vote.
Legislators need to hear from Virginians that we support more solar and renewable energy jobs!
The Virginia legislature is currently considering legislation (Senate Bill 653) that would support more renewable energy projects and jobs in the state. The bill would create a grant program for new renewable projects, helping to grow our state markets and bring in new jobs.
Update: SB 653 passed both Houses, successfully establishing the Renewable Energy Property Grant Fund, and a grant program which will be administered by DMME. A budget amendment is needed to capitalize the Fund.
Your state taxes … paying for Virginia’s elected officials to meet with ALEC?!
Senate Bill 500 will stop all public officials from paying their way with your taxpayer dollars when they go to meetings held by the infamous corporate bill factory ALEC– the American Legislative Exchange Council.
This bill, which prohibits Legislators from using state funds to attend secret meetings, passed the State Senate on Thursday. But now it’s headed to the House of Delegates and Speaker Howell, who sits on ALEC’s national board and chairs the committee that will hear this bill next.
That means we need your help to convince your Delegate to join the State Senate and prohibit Legislators from using state funds to attend secret meetings.
Update: SB 500 was tabled (killed) in House Rules Committee after passing the Senate unanimously.
Now is the time to tell your legislators to support transportation choices in Northern Virginia
The General Assembly is considering two bills that would move the region backward in its efforts to create a more balanced transportation network. House Bill 1244 mandates a study of new Potomac River bridge crossings — even though these crossings would fuel sprawl and divert investment from fixing priority commuter corridors. House Bill 2 would restrict the criteria for selecting transportation projects to narrow guidelines that favor new roads over transit, walking and bicycling.
Update: On Crossover day, February 11, HB 1244 was left in House Appropriations Committee. Without a vote to report HB 1244 to the full House floor, the bill is effectively dead. HB 2 has been significantly amended.
Climate Denial in the Classroom?
Should science teachers teach creationism and climate change denial alongside evolution and climate science? Some members of the Virginia House of Delegate think so! Contact your Delegate today– tell them that the dangers we face from a changing climate are real, not a controversy.
Update: On Crossover day, February 11, HB207 was left in the House Courts of Justice Committee. Without a vote to report HB207 to the full House floor, the bill is effectively dead.
Virginia Should Clarify the Right to Paddle!
You may not know it, but kayakers and canoeists who splash overboard can be charged with trespassing if they stop to wade in the wrong stretch of river. A day of fun in the great outdoors ending with a court summons? As outragous as it sounds, it’s happening in Virginia.
SB629 seeks to clarify the ambiguity of laws related to stream and river access, while protecting property rights and the ecology along Virginia streams. The bill would prevent trespass charges being brought against a recreational paddler simply passing along on a stream.
Contact your Senator today, and ask them to vote YES on SB629!
Update: On January 30, the full Senate voted against SB629 by a margin of 30 to 10, killing the bill. Please thank Senators Barker, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Howell, Marsden, McEachin, Miller, Petersen and Saslaw for voting to protect paddler’s rights.
No Delay, No dilution, No exemptions: We’ve waited long enough for Stormwater Regulations
This is the year to act on water pollution, not kick the can further down the road. But, that’s exactly what the Virginia General Assembly may do if any one of dozens of bills written to delay stormwater regulation pass this Session. Implementation has been postponed in 2006, 2009, 2010 and again in 2012. Enough is enough! Now, some want to postpone their responsibility yet again. What are they waiting for?
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