Cuccinelli has been a sharp critic of Environmental Protection Agency proposals to make new coal-fired power plants meet stricter pollution standards. He supports a bill that would permit offshore drilling and give Virginia a cut of the revenue. He supports a portfolio of all forms of energy, including wind, solar, offshore drilling and coal. He opposes a mandatory renewable energy standard, saying it would harm job creation. He opposes risking taxpayer money in the emerging field of green energy, as with Solyndra, which went bankrupt after receiving more than $535 million in government-backed loan guarantees. As attorney general, he demanded documents from former University of Virginia climate researcher Michael Mann to determine whether the professor skewed data and defrauded taxpayers to obtain grants. He mounted a legal challenge to the EPA’s decision to impose limits on carbon emissions, saying the agency’s findings were based on “junk science” borrowed from a United Nations panel instead of its own research.
In 2009, McAuliffe said, “I never want another coal plant built.” In May, he said he wants “a healthy workforce of coal.” After initially declining to take a position, McAuliffe supported an EPA proposal limiting emissions from new coal-fired plants. In 2009, he said he opposed offshore drilling, but in May his campaign said he supported it. He supports offshore wind turbines and said the equipment should be built in Virginia. He has complained that Virginia is the only Mid-Atlantic state without a mandatory renewable energy standard, which he said would boost clean-energy jobs. He has called for more research in green technology, such as carbon capture and storage, and more investment in renewable energy. He has invested in two firms billed as environmentally friendly — GreenTech Automotive, which makes electric cars, and Franklin Pellets, intended to produce fuel from timber waste. Neither has met McAuliffe’s promises of creating jobs. He believes that human activity has contributed to climate change.
Cuccinelli is a longtime opponent of the new health-care law, and he filed an unsuccessful lawsuit — separate from the one that reached the U.S. Supreme Court — arguing the measure was unconstitutional. He supports a full repeal of the bill. He is steadfastly antiabortion, opposing it in all cases — including rape and incest — other than to save the mother’s life. He supports new restrictions on abortion clinics imposing hospital-style building codes. When the State Board of Health initially decided to exempt existing clinics from the new rules, Cuccinelli informed board members that his office would not defend them in litigation. He opposes the Medicaid expansion called for by the new health-care law. The law encourages states to expand eligibility for the program, in exchange offering federal funds to cover 100 percent of costs for the first three years and 90 percent eventually. Cuccinelli has said he doubts the federal government will keep that promise.