Originally posted in the Bay Journal.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed legislation that would have required General Assembly approval of any state plan to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The EPA rule requires states to create and administer detailed plans that achieve major reductions in power plant carbon dioxide emissions.
Explaining his veto, executed on March 1, McAuliffe said he supports the Clean Power Plan as a “necessary response to climate change and an opportunity to become a leader in clean energy.” In addition, the governor said he vetoed the bill (Senate Bill 21) because it would violate Virginia’s constitutional separation of powers. The executive branch alone is responsible for complying with the terms of the Clean Air Act, McAuliffe explained in a March 2 veto message.
The EPA’s implementation of the rule has been put on hold by the Supreme Court until litigation surrounding the measure is resolved, but many states are continuing to develop the carbon dioxide reducion strategies required under the rule.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly in October 2014 passed a bill, which was signed by then-Gov. Tom Corbett, that requires legislative approval of any state plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Gov. Tom Wolf, who was elected in 2014, has said he supports the Clean Power Plan and the state is continuing to work on a strategy to comply with it.
Climate change poses many threats to Chesapeake Bay restoration, including higher sea levels that inundate wetlands and increase the salinity in the bay’s highly productive blend of freshwater and saltwater. It is also expected to increase storm intensity, causing more nutrient and sediment runoff.
Governor McAuliffe’s full statement is available here.