Friday, October 23, 2009

Deeds v Mcdonnel: the Environment

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by Mark Craig and Laura Peters

With freezing temperatures and wet, days one week, followed by warmer temperatures the next, the environment is something of concern for some Virginia citizens. Global warming is increasing and the efforts to find new energy options has been proposed numerous times, but with no real action.

Both gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell, said that global warming is a serious problem. Both favor alternative energy and plan to create more green jobs. The environmental platforms of the candidates focus on energy, revitalizing lands and watersheds, and creating green jobs.

The Democratic candidate, Deeds, focuses on alternative and renewable energy. According to Deeds website, he plans to restore the Chesapeake Bay, pursue smart, green government, reduce carbon emissions and create green jobs.

The Republican candidate, Bob McDonnell, supports the protection and restoration of watersheds. He backs the development of alternative energy, but also suggests drilling off the Virginia coast and establishing a new Dominion Electric Cooperative Coal Plan in Surry County, west of Norfolk.

Crystal Cameron, McDonnell’s press secretary, said that energy is a big topic in McDonnell’s campaigning.

“One of Bob’s top priorities is to make Virginia the energy capital of the east coast,” said Cameron. “He wants to utilize all of its energy resources.”

According to Deeds website, he wants to support research on cleaner coal and enforce rigorous air quality standards for coal-fired plants.

Showing a bipartisan viewpoint, Nathan Lott, the executive director of the Virginia Conservation Network, says that alternative energy options is a big part of what is facing Americans these days. He also mentions that the term “clean coal” is something V.C.N. does not like to use.

“Our focus for a couple years now has been on energy efficiency, an area where Virginia has lagged behind,” said Lott. “I would like to see both candidates showing some leadership and resolve there. We’d like to see what energy is used in Virginia and made in Virginia produced more cleanly.”

J.R. Dolbert, an advocate for the bipartisan environmental group, Environment Virginia, says that Virginia’s future needs to be clean coal free.

“Clean coal doesn’t exist,” said Dolbert. “The fact of the matter is that Virginia has a ton of potential to meet our energy needs with the wind blowing of our shores and the sun shining down on our rooftops.”

According to Lisa Guthrie, the Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, backs Deeds in creating new jobs, stimulating the economy and finding ways to create renewable energy.

“Creigh Deeds has come out strong for providing some tax incentives for purchase of energy efficient devices and on renewable energy and is focused on creating new jobs with that,” said Guthrie. “We think that if he’s elected he’ll do a lot toward moving us toward a new energy economy.”

In 1996, Deeds was the chief sponsor of the Agricultural Stewardship Act, which helped farmers address water quality issues. Deeds wrote and then passed Virginia’s land preservation tax credit program in 1999, when Virginia was ranked last in the nation in per capita expenditures for natural resource since its passage, nearly 500,000 acres have been preserved.
When it comes to the Chesapeake Bay, both candidates favor pollution reduction and improving the bay’s water quality.

In 2000, McDonnell signed the Chesapeake Bay Agreement to obtain the outlined goals for nutrient reduction.

Deeds believes the efforts of leadership in federal and multi-state partnerships would actualize the restoration and reduction commitments to the bay.

“The Chesapeake Bay is one of our greatest natural resources and we have to make sure our future generation can enjoy it,” said Cameron.

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