Richmond, VA - Today, organizers from Food & Water Action joined state legislators, social justice advocates, and labor and environmental groups at a rally to call for a Virginia Green New Deal package ahead of the 2020 legislative session. Among the elected officials leading the charge to stave off climate catastrophe were Delegates Sam Rasoul and Elizabeth Guzman, both of whom are fierce environmental advocates. Those attending voiced their support for Del. Sam Rasoul’s House Bill 77, a Green New Deal Act that sets an ambitious but necessary timetable to move the state to 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2036.
In a statement, Jorge Aguilar, the Southern Region Director for Food & Water Action, said the following:
“We are proud to stand with the Green New Deal coalition in support of a package of policies that addresses the urgency of the climate crisis by jumpstarting a green economy and creating tens of thousands of union jobs to transition communities off fossil fuels.
Over the last decade, Virginia has taken mere half-measures to address the negative economic and public health impacts of global warming. Worse yet, the leadership in the state capitol has continued building a dependency on fracked gas plants and pipelines. Today is the day we draw the line and say we can and must do better.
Climate scientists have warned that we must reach 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2030 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Delegate Rasoul’s bill is the only piece of legislation that sets the necessary goals and tackles the elephant in the room: fracked gas. By prohibiting the issuance of any new fossil fuel permits by 2021, it will ensure that the multitude of dirty pipelines, gas plants, and compressor stations in Virginia can be dismantled and will no longer be able to harm our environment and poison our communities.
Our hope is that Governor Northam and the new leadership in the General Assembly will reject halfhearted climate legislation that still promotes fracked gas and nuclear energy. Pay-to-pollute schemes like RGGI, which encourage market investments in natural gas, will not solve the climate crisis. These are false solutions that fail to protect Virginians in the long run. Only a Green New Deal can usher in a system of clean, renewable energy and provide an equitable transition for all.”