Terry McAuliffe made environmental issues a campaign issue in both his 2009 and 2013 campaigns for governor. Now that he’s in office, the reviews among environmentalists are mixed.
Speaking at a recent forum hosted by the New Republic magazine, the governor says he put climate change toward the top of his campaign issues in 2009.
In 2013, McAuliffe defeated a global warming skeptic, former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who unsuccessfully sued to prove that a climate change scientist at the University of Virginia had defrauded the taxpayers.
Since taking office Governor McAuliffe has re-established the Climate Change and Resiliency Commission, signed an executive order to establish an executive authority for solar development and recently brokered a deal with Dominion Virginia Power to invest 700 million in solar infrastructure.
He says he talks about climate change every day, but he always ties it to economic development.
McAuliffe frequently mentions a trip to Hampton Roads when discussing sea level rise.
Some environmentalists say McAuliffe is not doing enough.
McAuliffe generally supports the EPA plan to reduce carbon emissions but says it should give more credit for Virginia’s existing nuclear infrastructure, which produces no carbon emission.
Several protestors unhappy with McAuliffe’s support for the Atlantic Coast Natural Gas Pipeline were ejected at the New Republic event after one aggressively questioned the Governor.
McAuliffe says there are hundreds of pipelines in Virginia today and that while he opposes fracking, he cannot stop it and therefore shouldn’t deprive Virginians from the opportunities brought by the pipeline.