Department of Environmental Quality hosting public hearings on climate change


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality wants to hear from residents concerned about sea level rise in Hampton Roads and creating a cleaner footprint.

They’re hosting public hearings for Virginia residents to speak their mind when it comes to climate.

In 2017, former Governor Terry McAuliffe issued Executive Directive 11. According to the Department of Environmental Quality’s website, the goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector and grow Virginia’s clean energy economy.

Going on to say:  “ED 11 directs the Director of DEQ, in coordination with the Secretary of Natural Resources, to develop a proposed regulation to control CO2 from electric power facilities that allows for the use of market-based mechanisms and the trading of CO2 allowances through a multi-state trading program. A proposed regulation must be presented to the State Air Pollution Control Board for consideration for approval for public comment by no later than December 31, 2017.”

Zachary Jarjoura with the Sierra Club calls it a big deal.

“It’s the first ever plan that Virginia will ever have to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and reduce climate change,” said Jarjoura.

According to the Sierra Club, Hampton Roads has the highest rate of sea level rise on the East Coast.

“Hampton Roads is one of the most vulnerable areas to sea level rise, which is a result of climate change, and so this area sees a lot of front line impacts.”

They’ve proposed a cap and trade standard to limit carbon pollution from Virginia power plants.  Austin Taylor studies marine biology and supports it.

“I’m very nervous, I feel that there is better fuel alternatives for the Earth, better things we could use, hydroelectricity, wind power, solar electricity, we do not need more CO2 emissions in the Earth,” said Taylor.

According to a Dominion Energy Spokeswoman:

“We are very proud of our record. Dominion Energy’s carbon emissions rate is among the lowest of U.S. energy producers.That’s just one reason why the air in Virginia is cleaner today than in the past 20 years. We reduced air emission rates by more than 90 percent over the past two decades – and doubled our production of electricity from renewable energy. We are one of just three companies that have reduced carbon intensity by more than 40 percent since 2000. Dominion Energy is bringing more energy to Virginia from cleaner sources and renewables, like solar. We are also burning a lot less coal than before. Today, it accounts for just 13 percent of our electric output. Dominion Energy is making great strides in generating cleaner energy and reducing emissions. We’re investing in renewable energy, and we’re going to do a lot more.”

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