As we look back on the recently concluded General Assembly session in Richmond, there is not much to mark as progress on environmental issues.
Only because they are a very visible and present danger, did coal ash pits get dealt with. We are left to rely on vetoes from Governor Northam in order for any regional coordination efforts on reducing greenhouse gases to have a chance to proceed.
Sensible solar bills? Common sense community controlled single-use plastics legislation? A moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure? Good things were proposed, but we got nothing through our representation in Richmond.
Which is why the timing of some good news from our Virginia delegation in Congress on climate and related social justice issues is so welcome.
Rep. Gerry Connolly co-sponsored the ‘Green New Deal’ House Resolution - an aspirational set of goals for sure, but he has now followed it up with co-sponsorship of a piece of detailed climate legislation - the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763). Following all the dire climate projections, global experts concur that pricing carbon (CO2) is the best first step to address emissions causing climate instability. Returning all net revenues, in form of a monthly dividend, protects families and ensures support for the transition to renewables at the household level. Border adjustments ensure an equal playing field for international trade. Thank you, Rep. Connolly, and may the rest of the Virginia delegation pick up the call.
While the climate threat is not so visible and measurable as that from a coal ash pit, nor the solution so engineerable, it must be treated at an emergency scale of effort and urgency.