Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has finally announced his support of the Obama administration’s environmental regulations, which would effectively outlaw the construction of coal-fired power plants.
“I support what we need to do to obviously protect our air and water,” McAuliffe told NBC News4 on Tuesday, making sure to add that there are no coal plants seeking building permits in the state.
“There are no requests for future coal facilities, and if one comes in under our administration we’ll sit down at that time, but we don’t have any requests,” McAuliffe said. “There’s no permit requests to do any coal facilities today in Virginia.”
McAuliffe’s support for the Obama administration’s carbon emissions caps for coal plants, after telling reporters that he needed time to review the new emissions limits which came out on September 20.
The so-called “war on coal” has become a central part of the state’s gubernatorial campaign. Republican candidate Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli immediately came out against the emissions rules and has been pressing McAuliffe to say whether or not he support emissions caps.
McAuliffe has thrown his weight behind renewable energy, arguing that green energy is the what will power the future economy.
“We have to make sure our that none of our jobs that we have in the energy sector are lost. I’ve also consistently made the point that our future is going to be those future energy jobs, like the great work at Virginia Tech on carbon capture sequestration…” McAuliffe told NBC News4. “So protect the jobs that we have, and if we have to fight the administration on certain issues that don’t make sense for us we will, but the goal for us is to grow and diversify our new energy economy.”
Cuccinelli quickly went on the attack, accusing McAuliffe of “waging a war on the coal industry” and supporting Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would harm the state’s coal workers.
“Today, my opponent finally admitted his full support for the War on Coal by endorsing the EPA’s new regulations,” Cuccinelli said. “It demonstrates my opponent has been deliberately misleading Virginians during this campaign by suggesting he supports the coal industry.”
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