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March 7, 2016

Virginia’s Economic Bludgeon

Gov. McAuliffe’s administration moves ahead with the Clean Power Plan.

As a governor, if your state was given the chance to defer millions, possibly billions, of dollars in burdensome and unnecessary energy mandates, would you accept it? Even some liberal governors would likely answer in the affirmative, and happily at that. Unfortunately, in states like Virginia, the opposite is true. Last month the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the EPA’s power-grabbing Clean Power Plan (CPP). But while the ruling was applauded by more than two dozen states, Democrat Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe decided to ignore the warning signals and overhaul his state’s energy sector anyway.

Writing in the Washington Examiner, attorney Terry M. Jarrett says, “Virginia, for some reason, has chosen to move forward with the task of rebuilding its entire power generation sector. This means the state will still undertake the construction of new grid infrastructure, including the many new transmission lines and towers needed to carry electricity from planned wind and solar assemblies.” It’s a curious decision — one, because CPP’s legal requirements were nullified (albeit temporarily but hopefully permanently at a later date), and two, renewable technology is nowhere near prime time. And keep in mind, nearly 30% of the state’s electricity comes from coal. “The question,” Jarrett posits, “is why Virginia would bear this cost when it is currently under no legal obligation to do so.” Is it ostensibly to address “climate change”? If so, consider that by the EPA’s own estimates the regulations would slow global warming by just 0.02 degrees Celsius.

A court will eventually decide whether or not to strike down the Clean Power Plan, but Gov. McAuliffe is looking beyond that. And he’s willing to extract a hefty amount of tax dollars from Virginians to enact a flawed energy policy. Since Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, voters have ousted 11 Democrat governors. If McAuliffe isn’t careful, he could become the 12th.

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