Gov. Bob McDonnell unveiled a package of energy proposals Thursday for the upcoming legislative that includes $500,000 to promote wind development off Virginia’s coast and increases energy efficiency programs.
McDonnell (R) said the recommendations will support energy infrastructure expansion and access to traditional energy sources, promote conservation and efficiency, and support the development of alternative and renewable options.
He did not mention the possibility of mining uranium in Southside Virginia (an issue he is still reviewing), but did again reiterate his support for offshore drilling, currently prohibited by the Obama administration.
“Only by aggressively developing all types of energy and removing bureaucratic hurdles to this development will we be able to meet our energy needs and reduce our nation’s dependence upon foreign sources of energy,’’ McDonnell said in a statement. “We will aggressively pursue state-based strategies to improve American energy independence and cost reductions in observance of the federal government's total lack of a coherent Energy policy.”
But environmental groups complained that McDonnell’s package includes too few initiatives to support alternative energy.
“The governor's package of legislation includes weakening amendments to the already broken voluntary renewable energy standard that this past year rewarded Dominion Virginia Power with $76 million in increased utility rates despite the fact that the utility has not built one wind or solar facility in the state,’’ said Glen Besa, Virginia director of the Sierra Club.
“The bills to modify the voluntary renewable portfolio standard supported by the governor wouldn't actually create any new jobs or clean energy -- they'd just give corporations the opportunity to make a few extra bucks without investing in new renewable energy projects in Virginia,’’ Beth Kemler, state director for the Chesapeake Bay Climate Action Network.