Richmond, VA -- Thanks to a powerful grassroots effort, Delegate Sam Rasoul’s H.B. 77, also known as the Green New Deal Act, passed 6-4 through its first sub-committee last night, and will be up for an Appropriations Committee vote in the very near future. The bill stops buildout of new fossil fuel projects after 2021, and provides a thorough basis for Virginia’s equitable transition to renewable energy, making considerations for frontline environmental justice communities and transitioning fossil fuel workers to clean energy jobs along the way.
This bill stands in stark opposition to another piece of proposed climate legislation, the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which relies on market-based solutions and placating industry without making any moves to actually shut down the fossil fuel infrastructure projects that plague Virginian communities. While the legislation is also moving ahead to a committee vote, that bill passed through sub-committee by a narrower margin than the Green New Deal Act.
“This has been a tough battle, and last night’s victory is proof that Virginians are behind this legislation, and are calling for a just, equitable, rapid transition to renewable energy,” says Jolene Mafnas, Food & Water Watch organizer for Virginia, who testified prior to last night’s vote. “This bill covers all its bases: putting a stop to the buildout of dirty pipelines and compressor stations in the state, facilitating a total transition to clean and renewable energy by 2036, and taking care of the Virginia’s communities along the way, particularly those who’ve already had to bear the brunt of pollution and climate disaster. We’re excited to see the momentum from our grassroots movement make its way into the State Assembly and beyond.”