On June 13th, Virginians will head to the polls for primary elections. We need political leaders that will stand up for Virginians by working to protect our communities from flooding and environmental toxins and stand up to corporate monopolies that have too much influence in state government.
Virginia’s democratic gubernatorial primary give us two different candidates with different stances on issues that matter to us. In the governor’s race, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam is facing off against former US representative Tom Perriello. On issues of climate, fossil fuels and energy, how does each candidate match up?
Opposes the ACP and MVP
The Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines are two proposed pipelines that would carry fracked gas across the Commonwealth. The construction of these pipelines would threaten water supplies, property rights and contribute to climate change.
Northam’s spokesperson told the Washington Post that Northam supports a pipeline if it ensures protection of property rights, safety and environment.
Perriello’s website states that as governor he would “use all available powers” to prevent the construction of the ACP and MVP, and that “it makes no sense to sign up for another generation of dirty fuel instead of looking for real solutions.”
Refuses Money from the Fossil Fuel Industry
Northam has accepted more than $100,000 from VA Energy monopoly Dominion in his political career. Just this March, he accepted $3,339 from Dominion.
Perriello has refused donations from Dominion and Appalachian Power.
Supports 100% Renewable Energy
Northam’s campaign website says he “has consistently supported the expansion of Virginia’s renewable energy industries, and he carried legislation directing the state to study the creation of a mandatory renewable energy portfolio standard.” However, by stating that he supports the fracked gas pipelines if they are environmentally safe and protect property rights and safety, he is supporting furthering our dependence on fossil fuels.
Perriello’s campaign website says he “will call for reforming state laws that have deliberately held back development of solar and wind energy and push for reforms that embrace net metering, third-party power purchase agreements, and true community solar.” He further asserts that in order to move towards renewable energy, we need to oppose further reliance on fossil fuels. This position is reflected in his opposition to the ACP and MVP, as well as his promise to not accept campaign donations from Dominion Power and Appalachian Power.
Opposes Offshore Drilling
Northam told a crowd of Arlington County democrats, “I have always and I will continue to always be opposed to offshore drilling.” In January 2016, he wrote a letter to the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, urging federal officials to exclude Virginia from offshore drilling initiatives.
Perriello supported an offshore drilling bill in 2010, but has since changed his position and is now opposed to offshore drilling. 1
1 “While in the past, Tom has been willing to consider offshore drilling only as part of a comprehensive energy strategy, and only if it is not done in environmentally sensitive areas, he believes offshore drilling does not make sense in Virginia.
Given our current energy landscape and the prevalence of renewable and clean energy, in addition to the economic and ecological effects on our coastal communities from climate change, Tom believes offshore drilling in the Atlantic doesn’t make sense.
As governor, he will stand up to this Administration and use every measure at his disposal to protect Virginia’s natural resources, aggressively invest in clean energy production, and halt the devastating effects of climate change.
Additionally, Tom is not alone in his decision to oppose offshore drilling, his opponent, Ralph Northam came to similar conclusions after supporting offshore drilling in 2007 when running for state senate.”
– Brennan Gilmore, Tom Perriello Chief of Staff