Virginia is currently working on an important piece of policy, the Clean Power Plan, that could have a large positive impact on the state’s economy, public health, and environment. The Plan requires states to reduce their carbon emissions by a specified percentage (different for each state). Virginia’s plan has to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency by this fall.
According to the Southern Environmental Law Center, Virginia is well on its way to meeting its Clean Power Plan target. This means that Virginians will enjoy the immense benefits offered by the plan if it is implemented. Among them are:
- Job creation: Virginia can expect a 17.5 percent increase in solar jobs this year, according to the Solar Foundation.
- Lower electricity bills: by meeting the Clean Power Plan goals, household electric bills will be lowered by up to eight percent and Virginia will receive over one-half billion dollars in carbon reduction benefits.
- Protection of our coastal areas, which are endangered by sea level rise: Hampton Roads already has the highest level of sea level rise along the East Coast. If nothing changes, climate change-related forces are expected to destroy 79 percent of Virginia beaches, according to the public policy organization Demos.
- Healthier communities: fossil fuel-powered plants threaten public health. A recent Harvard study shows that Virginia ranks among the top 13 states in public health gains pending the implementation of the Clean Power Plan.
Implementing the Clean Power Plan in Virginia is a win-win situation!