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Virginia Sierra Club Opposes McDonnell's Energy Plan

By: Ruth Showalter Email
By: Ruth Showalter Email

October 11, 2010

Virginia Governor, Bob McDonnell, is still on a quest to mold Virginia into an "East Coast energy capital".

He outlines ways to take advantage of resources like coal, natural gas, solar, nuclear and offshore oil in his plan to develop the Commonwealth into an Energy Leader.

"My goal right now is to create the stimulus and energy incentives in Virginia so that energy industries want to come here, and the ones who are here want to expand," said McDonnell.

While many energy conservationists are in favor of McDonnell's plan, The Sierra Club says he should stress energy efficiency and renewable sources, such as offshore winds and solar power, in his bid to elevate Virginia into an energy power.

The Virginia chapter of the environmental group released the report Monday, the eve of McDonnell's three-day energy conference in Richmond. The report is titled "Power Failure: How Virginia is Losing the Competition for Clean Energy Jobs."

According to the Sierra Group, Virginia ranks extremely low among northeast states for it's lack of energy conservation. They believe that all forms of energy production take a toll on the environment, and say the resources McDonnell plans to use take business away from the local conservationists.

"Clean energy jobs, such as those with renewable energy and energy efficiency, will create a larger number of jobs that have to be done locally, and also they will benefit the environment," said John Cruickshank, of The Sierra Group.

The Sierra Club report concludes that McDonnell's energy ambition relies too heavily on oil, gas drilling and coal while giving lip service to renewable energy and efficiencies. The report recommends a series of approaches to promote energy conservation and wind and solar power.

Starting on Tuesday, Governor McDonnell will begin a three-day conference entitled, "Virginia: Energy Capital of the East
Coast". The event will host a variety of speakers, forums and exhibits. The goal in hosting the conference is to present cutting edge projects, highlight research and development that's currently underway at many of Virginia's universities and present insight from business and government leaders about Virginia's energy future.

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