Monday, December 22, 2008

McAuliffe Pushes Mandatory Clean Energy Standard

Last night, The Green Miles and some other Virginia bloggers were invited to dinner with Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who's now exploring a run for Virginia governor.

McAuliffe brings seemingly boundless energy to the race. Even though he'd just spent over three hours in the car coming back from Virginia Beach, McAuliffe spent 90 minutes talking with us -- then ordered a double espresso and talked for another half an hour.

Terry told us he's running on his business experience, promising to grow the economy and create jobs. (He's also promised to raise massive sums of money to help Democrats take back the House of Delegates.)

He also threw out some bold ideas to change the status quo in Richmond. McAuliffe wants to eliminate the Dillon Rule, allowing local governments greater flexibility to act without asking Richmond's permission. He also wants to set a mandatory renewable electricity standard.

I'm waiting for the candidates to announce detailed plans on energy and the environment before I make any decisions about the primary. But I agree with Not Larry Sabato that McAuliffe's aggressive stands will push likely competitors Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran to keep up. Deeds' environment page recaps about what Creigh has done in the past, but doesn't yet lay out any ideas for the future. Moran stood out in September for his strong speech to the Virginia Sierra Club, but we're still waiting on details.

Whether he be Deeds, McAuliffe or Moran, we need a Democratic nominee for Virginia governor who'll advocate bold, specific solutions to lower energy bills and begin to address the climate crisis. Pushing for full implementation of recommendations from the Virginia Commission on Climate Change would be a good place to start.

Until then, when you see one of the candidates at a campaign stop, ask him about his plan for clean energy and climate action.
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