Delegate Ibraheem S. Samirah Abstains on Half-Hearted, Dominion-Dominated Climate Plan

The Virginia Clean Economy Act falls short of addressing the climate crisis with the urgency it requires

Press Release / February 11, 2020

Contact: Rob Cline, robert@samirah4virginia.com

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Delegate Ibraheem S. Samirah (D-86) abstained from voting on the Virginia Clean Economy Act today because the legislation fails to rise to the level of urgency needed to tackle the climate crisis. The VCEA would lock Virginia into an insufficient framework for cutting carbon emissions while failing to deliver for frontline communities affected by climate change and future economic transition.

“Just two weeks ago we passed a resolution in the House declaring a climate and ecological emergency. Somebody needs to have the guts to hold ourselves accountable to the standard we set in the resolution, let alone the standards set by our constituents who are threatened by climate change and hungry for action,” said Delegate Samirah. 

Some of the major shortcomings of the VCEA include:

  • No moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects, including 12 new gas plants currently in various stages of development.
  • Sets 100% net-zero emissions timeline at 2045 rather than 2036, only reaching 30% by 2030. 
  • No transition off of natural gas, including fracked natural gas. 
  • Creates adverse impacts on utility ratepayers.
  • Fails to sufficiently protect workers and labor rights. 
  • Fails to sufficiently protect and empower environmental justice communities.
  • Leaves in place loopholes that can be abused by the industry in order to avoid regulation and skirt emissions targets.

“We had a chance to do this the right way with HB 77, the Green New Deal Act. After a year of advocacy and hard work, the bill made it through two committee hearings, only to be buried without a floor vote by insider politics. It was disrespectful to the young people and marginalized communities who are counting on us to deliver the most ambitious plan possible for the most daunting and urgent challenge we face.”

“I will not let the idea of true, urgent action for environmental justice die a quiet death. We have to do better than that. We have to confront the financial interests that let this fossil fuel problem fester for so long. We have to deliver for the young people, people of color, and working families who will bear the burden of climate change as well as the effects of an economic transition away from carbon. Meeting those goals will require legislation that goes farther than this, and I plan to continue that fight going forward.”

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