Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Energy
Department of Energy
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8/24/18  8:31 pm
Commenter: Kendyl Crawford, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light

People of Faith Call for 100% Renewable Energy for All

Virginia Interfaith Power & Light has over 1,500 supporters across the state. Our mission is to, as people of faith, collaborate to grow healthy communities and advance climate justice through education, advocacy, and worship. The most vulnerable in our communities and our world are impacted first and hardest by climate change. Climate change exacerbates other issues that people of faith are already working on, such as hunger, clean water, immigration and refugees, and global conflict. It is our moral responsibility to leave a safe climate for our children. Dangerous climate disruption is already impacting communities through wildfires, superstorms, droughts and sea level rise. We continuously see communities dealing with devastating wildfires and suffering from superstorms. 

Wealthy countries like the United States have dangerously polluted, now causing major suffering in low-income countries that have contributed the least to causing the problem. Faith communities around Virginia encourage Governor Northam to prioritize climate justice. We urge Governor Northam to protect Virginian’s safety and health by limiting carbon pollution, urgently ensuring policies to promote renewable energy, and heeding the urgent call to act. By standing with front-line communities and prioritizing environmental justice, you can ensure the safety and health of all Virginians. Cutting dangerous carbon pollution from transportation and energy production will save lives. Governor Northam should consider the following administrative and regulatory actions:

  • Fully fund the Advisory Council on Environmental Justice to ensure its continued independent operation
  • Create an Environmental Justice Board. This board should be separate and distinct from the Advisory Council on Environmental Justice and have the power to undertake a “stakeholder assessment” to evaluate permits in the context of the communities that will be affected by a project.
  • Provide representation of impacted communities on the Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority.
  • Establish and fund an Environmental Justice Ombudsman position. This position should be independent of Department of Natural Resources agencies and have autonomy to review programs throughout state government.
  • Create an Environmental Justice office to serve the Department of Natural Resource agencies.
  • Train all Department of Natural Resource agencies personnel on environmental justice.
  • Revive the Virginia Office of Environmental Education.
  • Entities applying for a permit related to energy should be required to indicate in their permit application how the proposed building or project will benefit and/ or impact the surrounding community.

We encourage Virginia to achieve a 100% renewable energy economy utilizing distributed generation and renewables such as solar and wind as soon as possible. As people of faith, we believe in preserving the sanctity of nature and being good stewards of Creation, including our neighbors. 


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