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Monday, September 20, 2021
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: Gubernatorial candidates must be pressed on environment

Letter: Gubernatorial candidates must be pressed on environment

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Editor: Northern Virginians need to take a hard look at our gubernatorial candidates.

Both candidates have remained all but silent on the details of their plans to address the greatest existential threat we face – climate change.

We are in a code-red situation. Any candidate must have a clear position on the issue, and our gubernatorial candidates are keeping us in the dark.

The Republican nominee, Glenn Youngkin, has been notoriously quiet about his platform until he released his “Day One” plan, which had no mention of climate. On the other hand, Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe has been promising Virginians a 100-percent-renewable-energy grid by 2035, but has remained silent on exactly how we’re going to get there.

As the candidates remain silent on their path out of this crisis, fossil-fuel projects continue unhindered in Virginia. Both candidates have ignored one of the country’s biggest fossil-fuel fights taking place right here in our state: the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Frontline communities have fought for more than half a decade to stop this impending climate disaster, which beyond posing an immediate safety threat to residents threatens to lock climate-destroying fossil fuels into Virginia’s energy future.

Many climate activists see the Mountain Valley Pipeline as part of McAuliffe’s legacy, given that his previous administration supported and approved the project. As he tries to market himself as “the climate candidate,” he hasn’t said one word on the project.

The pipeline could emit 90 million metric tons of greenhouse gases – the equivalent of 23 coal-fired plants, undermining any chance our state has at being a renewable-energy leader.

Youngkin and McAuliffe are expected to debate in Northern Virginia on Sept. 28, their first meeting of the campaign season. The number-one climate question these candidates must answer is, “What will Virginia’s next governor do to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline?”

Jolene Mafnas, Food & Water Action Virginia

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