McClellan Statement on Former Gov. McAuliffe’s Climate Plan

RICHMOND — Today, gubernatorial candidate Senator Jennnifer McClellan (D-Richmond) released the following statement on former Governor Terry McAuliffe’s climate plan.

“Virginians need a governor who will make clean energy a top priority, and has the experience to get it done,” said Sen. McClellan. “I’m proud to have been the chief patron of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, the most significant climate bill in Virginia history. Our bill will create 13,000 jobs a year and transition Virginia to 100% clean electricity. I’ve also passed bills to unleash the power of solar, expand electric vehicle infrastructure and improve interstate pipeline oversight. Virginians have a clear choice this election between accelerating the climate progress of the past 4 years, or turning back to the too-little, too-late policies of the past.

“Gov. McAuliffe failed to make climate change a priority as governor. Now his new plan is entirely built on the Virginia Clean Economy Act that Del. Sullivan and I passed. I’m glad to see Gov. McAuliffe supports the principles of the VCEA. But if voters want a candidate who has led the biggest climate progress in Virginia history, there is a clear choice in this election.

“As Governor, I will build upon the Virginia Clean Economy Act and Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to make Virginia a top state for clean energy jobs and to move to 100% clean electricity, while decarbonizing transportation and making environmental justice a top priority. I will work with the Biden Administration to expedite Virginia’s 100% clean timeline to match the federal plan of 2035. Black and Brown communities are facing disproportionate impacts of the climate crisis every day. This moment calls for a governor who understands that climate change is not an issue for future generations to tackle. Tackling climate change and environmental justice will be a priority on my agenda on day one when I’m governor.”

McClellan is the chief patron of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, “the most progressive climate legislation to come out of the South,” which transitions Virginia to 100% clean electricity by 2045. McClellan plans to fully implement and fund the Virginia Clean Economy Act and build Virginia’s clean energy economy as governor. McClellan was also the chief patron of the Solar Freedom Act, the chief patron of a law to increase electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the chief co-patron of the Virginia Clean Car Standard, and the chief patron of the Pipeline Accountability, Oversight, and Protection of Virginia’s Water Act, which is awaiting Gov. Northam’s signature.

McAuliffe, on the other hand, was criticized by climate leaders including the Chesapeake Climate Action Network for failing to act quickly enough as governor. The director of CCAN wrote in 2016 that McAuliffe “ran as a clean-energy candidate ready to fight climate change. But he has served as a mere planter of occasional trees.”