Thursday, February 17, 2022

The Jefferson Journal: House Favors Repeal of Virginia Green New Deal; Senate Hostile.

The Jefferson Journal
Repeal of VCEA, RGGI, EV Mandates
Pass House, Face Hostile Senate
By Stephen D. Haner
2/17/2022 -- Virginia’s House of Delegates Republicans have passed a series of bills retreating from Virginia’s rush toward a fossil-fuel free future, but they were party-line votes and Democrats in the Virginia Senate, who hold a majority on that side, may promptly kill them all.
Two bills aimed at repealing or amending the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) were also opposed in testimony by Virginia’s major electric utilities, who are heavily investing in the mandated renewable energy assets, including a planned 179 turbine offshore wind facility planned by Dominion Energy Virginia. Various environmental groups were unified and vocal in their opposition to the bills.
But the utility opposition expressed in the House Committee on Commerce and Energy did not stop the bills. On the more comprehensive proposal two senior Republicans did choose not to vote in committee. Once House Bill 118 got to the full House, however, both cast aye votes. One of them had voted in favor of the VCEA two years ago, the only Republican delegate to do so.
On the Senate side, the utility opposition is likely to stiffen. The committee likely to hear all or most of the bills is split between 12 Democrats and 3 Republicans, and two of those Republicans have already voted to kill (“pass by indefinitely”) another measure written to amend the VCEA and give the State Corporation Commission authority to reject the renewable projects. 
There was very little debate on the House side and no legislative maneuvering as the Republicans went on record dismantling the net-zero emissions vision that Democrats imposed when they had control in 2020 and 2021. 
None of the bills have received any public discussion, let alone support, from Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) or members of his administration. The only element of his Day One agenda touched upon by these bills is ending Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. There are other paths besides legislation to drop out of RGGI and end the related carbon tax. 
Youngkin would likely be happy to sign House Bill 1301, a direct repeal of RGGI. The same goal is accomplished in House Bill 118, but that legislation goes much farther and repeals all of VCEA as well. Its passage was highlighted on the Republican’s list of “promises kept” issued on Tuesday. 
The argument against House Bill 118 on the floor fell to Delegate Richard “Rip” Sullivan, D-Arlington, who claimed its passage and the coming solar and wind dependence are major economic assets to the Commonwealth. “Jobs and businesses are pouring into Virginia,” he said. Certainly jobs for installers will explode, during installation, and there is one turbine blade assembly plant planned for Hampton Roads to support the offshore wind construction. 
Drawing far less attention on the floor was a bill that passed the day before, House Bill 73, which actually received one vote from a Democrat. It leaves most of the VCEA intact but removes the specific mandates of how much wind and solar must be built, and by when, and restores the State Corporation Commission authority to rule on need, reasonableness and prudence. Those standard tests were overridden by the VCEA as passed. 
Many Democrats have at least given lip service to restoring the SCC’s independent review to protect consumers but missed this chance to put that position into action.
Two House Democrats are on record voting for House Bill 1257, which establishes in law a right to use natural gas if it is available. It was filed in response to a move by the City of Richmond, copying a national trend, threatening to close down its municipally-run gas utility. Under the pending bill Richmond would have to seek a buyer for the operation instead. 
But the bill is broader than that, prohibiting local ordinances against new gas connections and reaching to non-utility uses of natural gas. Eliminating natural gas from electricity generation is only part of the net-zero vision, which extends to an outright ban on the energy source. Nay votes on the bill can and will be portrayed as votes to kill natural gas period. 
Finally, the House Republicans also voted as a block to reverse a recent regulation adopted by the Air Pollution Control Board and signed by previous Governor Ralph Northam (D.) Dubbed by supporters as the Clean Car Rule, it would tie Virginia’s market for new vehicles to rules promulgated by the California Air Resources Board. 
House Bill 1267 (no Democrat support for this one) would allow the air board to reconsider such a regulation. But this time it would have to do a full regulatory review and allow public comment, short-circuited in earlier legislation. And it would move the timeline for Virginia’s alignment to the California rules to no earlier than 2029. California is planning to ban the sale of any new internal combustion or hybrid cars and small trucks by 2035. Virginia’s auto dealers lobby cheered the regulation and is opposing this bill.
Democrats, confident public opinion is on their side, are dug in, although polling data suggests voters stand on the side of the GOP’s legislators. The State Senate majority is likely to confirm its desire to prohibit new gasoline or diesel cars, prohibit natural gas stoves and furnaces, impose ever higher carbon taxes on electricity and then close down all fossil fuel generation. The deadlines are always way past the next election or even the end of their careers. 
Stephen D. Haner is Senior Fellow with the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. He may be reached at

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Thursday, February 10, 2022

Celebrate Black History Month With Us

Black History Month is a time dedicated to learning about the vital role African-Americans played in shaping our great country’s history. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
Mercury One
Black History Month


Black History Month is a time dedicated to learning about the vital role African-Americans played in shaping our great country’s history. From the first black person elected to public office in 1641 to the sacrificial leadership of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights Movement, the American Journey Experience (AJE) tells the amazing true stories of the black heroes in our nation’s history from the very beginning. The AJE Collection is home to many incredible artifacts that showcase the central role African-Americans have played in building the values our nation holds dear including several items related to the great educator Booker T. Washington.

Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was a leading educational reformer, best-selling author, political voice, and prominent activist. Born into slavery, he was freed at nine years old by the Emancipation Proclamation when Union troops liberated him and his family. Moving to West Virginia, Washington taught himself how to read from a Webster’s Blue-Back Speller. This gave the young man a thirst for knowledge, and he quickly proved to be extremely gifted. Through tireless effort and unyielding dedication, he attended Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute and graduated from Wayland Seminary.

As a well-educated, 25-year-old free man, Washington was appointed as head of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1881. Under his leadership the Tuskegee institute rose to prominence in the education of black students in academics and vocations for the dissemination of knowledge amongst black Americans. In his own words, Washington believed that, “education, whether of black or white man, gives a man physical courage to stand in front of the common, and facts to give him courage to stand up in defense of right and justice.”

During his 34-year tenure, Washington became a leading spokesperson for black Americans in demonstrating the power and need for increased education for all people. He observed the poor living conditions of the freed black people and knew that the best way they could elevate their circumstances was by becoming invaluable to their communities through education, workforce skills, and economic capacity.

Booker T. Washington was heavily involved with the Republican Party and famously dined at the White House with Republican president Theodore Roosevelt in 1901. Being an exceptionally skillful public speaker, he traveled the nation speaking to groups about the successes of the Tuskegee Institute and raising money to expand opportunity to more people. Washington’s methods of achieving individual merit through education inspired many who sought peace in a divided society to advance the cause for racial equality. In the AJE Collection you can find early edition copies of Washington’s autobiography Up from Slavery as well as items from the Tuskegee Institute and an original mold for making statues of Washington himself.

All month long The American Journey Experience is highlighting American heroes who embody the best virtues of America such as Booker T. Washington. All year long, however, we are always dedicated to teaching the exceptional true history of our nation. Thank you for supporting our educational initiatives and enabling us to share the history others are trying to erase.

The American Journey Experience

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