To the Editor:
In recent days, Governor McAuliffe has been receiving a lot of pressure to back down from his commitments to our climate and environment. The notion that clean, renewable energy is bad for our economy is simply misleading. It is true that clean energy is bad for certain, powerful interests, but it’s also good for health and the safety of all Virginians. That’s why so many homes and businesses have already chosen to replace dirty energy with solar panels. The solar industry in Virginia grew by 86 percent in 2015 alone. A clean energy plan will not only cut carbon emissions, but it will also cut energy costs as we push for more efficient energy systems.
As someone with family members who have developed cancer as a direct result of carbon pollution and smog, the issue of carbon pollution hits too close to home for me. In 2014, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of
America put Richmond at the top of list as the worst city for people with asthma to live in, with carbon pollution as a major contributor. In 2004, the total charges for asthma hospitalizations were $96 million in Virginia. Imagine how much of a burden that was for middle class Virginia families, in addition to the pain of asthma in the first place.
A move to cleaner forms of renewable energy would mean job creation and technological innovation. A strong, growing clean energy sector could provide an abundance of high-paying jobs. Our state’s Clean Power Plan
could include incentives to train workers in the transition to clean technologies. Virginia could be a major leader in clean energy, with a stronger economy and a healthier, safer population. This transition won’t be easy, but isn’t this the kind of Virginia we all want to live in?