In the following letter to an FCTA member, Senator Tim Kaine espouses his belief in the manmade global warming myth, and supports the EPA's War On Coal.
June 27, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. [constituent]
Dear Mr. and Mrs. [constituent]:
Thank you for contacting me about climate change and the recent carbon pollution standard for power plants proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I appreciate hearing your views on this important issue.
I believe America's long-term goal should be to produce energy cleaner tomorrow than we do today. Scientists overwhelmingly agree that human activity is contributing to climate change. According to a study by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Hampton Roads is the largest U.S. population center at risk from sea level rise outside of New Orleans. This region is already feeling significant impacts ranging from steep flood insurance hikes for fixed income residents to increasing threats to infrastructure at federal installations in the region.
Climate change poses risks to other sectors of our state economy. In our commercial fishing sector, fishery and oyster stocks will be compromised by changing water conditions. In our agricultural sector, crop yields will be affected by severe droughts and more intense flash-flood storms. In our Commonwealth's beautiful recreational lands and waters, climate change will profoundly alter ecosystems, leaving them more vulnerable to problems like invasive species.
Addressing this threat is in our national interest, and I believe we should and can do it in a way that makes economic sense. The EPA recently released a proposed carbon pollution standard for existing power plants that would reduce carbon emissions from these plants by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. States would have different reduction targets based on their respective starting points. The standard provides states with significant flexibility in choosing how to meet targets. There are four overall options, and Virginia's diverse energy portfolio potentially allows it to use any or all of them.
First, states may install carbon-free electricity generation, such as wind, solar, or nuclear. In September 2013, Dominion Virginia Power won a bid for an offshore wind development lease off the coast of Virginia Beach, making our state the second in the nation to move forward on leasing offshore wind. Harnessing winds off Virginia's coast could generate enough renewable energy to power some 700,000 homes, according to Dominion.
Second, states may switch coal plants to cleaner fuels such as natural gas or biomass. This is already happening, as the boom in domestic natural gas has driven the price of gas lower than coal, making it a better cost option for utilities regardless of any pollution rules.
Third, states may improve the technical efficiency of current fossil fuel plants, getting more electricity from the same volume of fuel with less pollution. This will be an important option because we will still be using traditional fossil fuels for many years. I believe that coal, which is an abundant and reliable fuel source, can play an important role in advancing Virginia towards its emissions reduction targets. The challenge for coal is innovation -- finding ways to get the same amount of energy from coal with less pollution. That's why I've co-sponsored the Advanced Clean Coal Technology Investment in Our Nation Act, which would expand clean coal technology innovation research at the U.S. Department of Energy and create incentives for the private sector to invest in developing and commercializing clean coal.
Fourth, states may reduce emissions by improving energy efficiency through measures like weatherizing homes, creating incentives for efficient appliances, and upgrading heating and cooling systems in commercial buildings. These measures will not only reduce emissions but save Virginia residents and businesses money on their energy bills. This year, I voted for bipartisan legislation that would use a variety of low-cost tools to encourage industries to make energy efficiency upgrades. I was disappointed that this uncontroversial bill was derailed by a minority in the Senate over issues unrelated to energy efficiency.
Although EPA's current standard is in draft form, I have already taken concrete steps to ensure that EPA's final standard takes the interests of industries, citizens, and other stakeholders into account. I recently wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to request that the usual 60-day comment period for proposed standards be doubled to 120 days to give Virginians enough time to share concerns and ideas. I am pleased the EPA agreed to this request, and I look forward to dialogue with Virginia families and businesses about the proposal.
We have an obligation to reduce carbon pollution in a way that makes economic sense, so that we may leave a cleaner planet for our children. I will work to ensure that standards are balanced and goals are achievable. I've never believed that economic growth is dependent on heavy pollution, nor that cleaning up our air and water will lead to economic ruin. The key to addressing our climate challenges is American innovation. I'm confident that Virginia is well-prepared to craft innovative solutions to our energy challenges that will advance our environmental goals, create American jobs, and improve our nation's energy independence.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I appreciate hearing from you and will certainly keep your views in mind.