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Green Dog - Gerry Connolly

What an incredible start for our new 11th District Congressman Gerry Connolly. In addition to introducing two bills Thursday to expand Metro rail on the Blue, Orange, Yellow, and Purple Lines and another one to extend low emission and energy-efficient vehicles on HOV lanes, Congressman Connolly has made incredible progress on many fronts. He has already visited Iraq and Afghanistan and met with Virginia troops and is blazing an impressive trail in a very short period of time.

So far, our long time friend to the environment has helped form the “Green Dogs” in Congress which have already tackled legislation to prevent mountain top removal of coal and measures to protect green space, the Bay, and the Potomac River. I have boiled down a few of the environmental issues Rep. Connolly has been involved in below and you can find the detail on the flip.

    * Helped form the "Green Dogs" (Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus)
    * Helped increase funding for home weatherization and rail transit in economic stimulus
    * Extend trails to connect Laurel Hill network, with neighborhoods and parks east of I-95
    * Helped launch Potomac River cleanup of derelict barge
    * Cosponsored legislation to preserve open spaces including areas threatened by sprawl
    * Working with Gov Kaine to preserve Mason Neck's rural and historic character
    * Cosponsoring several bills to require 25% electricity come from renewable sources by 2025

This is an amazing amount of work since being sworn in on January 8th. I'm told it's just the tip of the iceberg and I can't wait to see what he can do in a year.

Please don't miss Congressman Connolly's District Office Open House which will take place this Saturday, March 21, 2009 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in our Annandale VA. This is a great opportunity for residents to stop by, meet the staff, say hello to the Congressman and learn about the services that they provide at the District Office. Which is located at:

Where: 4115 Annandale Rd., Suite 103, Annandale, VA 22003
Phone: 703-256-3071

Keep reading to see the more detailed info I requested from Rep Connolly's office.

Stop HB1788 & Say NO MORE to Bob Hull

I just found out that my own Delegate, Bob Hull is backing HB1788 / SB1276. This bill will deny localities the ability to prohibit alternative on-site sewage systems that have been approved by the Virginia Department of Public Health and will further deny localities the ability to require maintenance of such systems.

Stop HB1788 to protect the health, safety, and public welfare.

Details can be found HERE

What a Chicken Poop - Terry McAuliffe

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

Chicken poop isn't the only kind of excrement that seems to fascinate Terry McAuliffe in his race for the Democratic nomination for governor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His campaign has been busy spreading some grade A cow patties, issuing a press release Tuesday based on a false blog post that claims his opposition is stalking his wife. A camera was set up at a Stafford, VA Democratic Committee meeting to record a surrogate for candidate Brian Moran in the person of Steve Jarding. After Jarding finished, Terry's wife got up to speak for Terry and the camera was left running. This somehow prompted Ben Tribett of Not Larry Sabato, (who apparently was not at the event), to claim Brian's campaign is now stalking Terry's wife. And of course the complete lack of any sources or substance didn't stop Terry's campaign from issuing a press release to stoke this fire of fresh meadow muffins.

(more crap on the flip)

Oh, the Irony

In a display of political skill today in Richmond, Senator Saslaw reportedly out-maneuvered Republicans and kept a potential breakaway Democrat from siding with Republicans. With tactical savvy he managed to maintain a razor thin advantage for Democrats in one of the Senate sub-committees. For such action you might be tempted to call him a hero, but wait until you hear this...

By an equally razor thin margin, that very same Senator Saslaw voted WITH Republicans in an evenly divided Commerce and Labor committee just last night. Regarding Senator Donald McEachin's Energy Efficiency bill (SB1447), the committee was divided along party lines with 7 Democrats for and 7 Republicans against. Senator Saslaw cast aside his party, embraced the lobbying efforts of pay-to-play politics of coal loving Dominion Power, and cast the deciding vote AGAINST his own party. The only vote that crossed the aisle.

The first three paragraphs from a CCAN press release (Feb 10, 2009) says it all:

RICHMOND—The only efficiency bill in the General Assembly that would mandate a reduction in electricity demand was killed Monday by one vote. Senate Majority leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) cast the deciding vote to kill SB 1447, Senator McEachin’s bill (D-Henrico).

“Senator McEachin’s strong efficiency bill would have ensured reduced rates for consumers, boosted Virginia’s economy, and created jobs,” said Lauren Glickman, Virginia Campaign Coordinator for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “Last night Senator Saslaw voted against the best interest of his constituents in Fairfax, and the best interest of Virginians across the commonwealth.”

The McEachin efficiency bill was opposed by Dominion Virginia Power, the largest utility in Virginia. Senator Saslaw received $85,000 in donations over the last three years from the utility. Until Senator Saslaw’s vote, the Committee was split along party lines, with seven votes in favor and seven against.

Joe Bouchard: GOP Anti-Environment Stance is "21st Century Equivalent of 'Massive Resistance'"

Cross posted from ArticleXI

I just got off the phone with Del. Joe Bouchard (D-Virginia Beach), who generously agreed to the following interview. Thank you very much to Del. Bouchard for his highly informative - and blunt! - answers. I learned a lot from this and I think you all will too.

Q. On renewable energy, you introduced a bill that would allow homeowners to install solar panels over the wishes of Home Owners Associations. What was this bill in response to? Is this a widespread problem in Virginia?

A. It's been a huge problem for the solar energy industry. In the past, solar panels were ugly, big, obtrusive, Rube Goldberg contraptions. However, the old models aren't sold anymore, so these old concerns aren't valid anymore. Today, solar panels are not ugly. In fact, solar panels not only don't REDUCE home values, they INCREASE them. Neighborhood covenant restrictions are legacies that harm the solar industry. This issue was addressed last year in a good bill by Frank Wagner. It was weakened, made to appear that a Home Owners Association couldn't relax restrictions on solar panels. My bill was a very modest one designed to strengthen the language and align it with the original intent of Wagner's bill. There was opposition, it was amended, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

Moran Releases "Green Virginia" Plan

(-- promoted by FXBAmy)

Press Release
Thursday, January 29, 2009

~ Proposal Will Protect Environment, Build Energy Economy ~
~ Former Warner Environment Agency Head Endorses Moran ~

More press release and full plan attached on the flip

The Good --and the Not-So-Good -- about John Edwards’ Fly Ash Bill (SB 865)

This diary is cross-posted at Article Xi Preserve and Protect .

Disclosure: I am a strong supporter of State Senator John Edwards, probably always will be. I have even made a small donation to his re-election campaign. He has a good record on environmental issues. But, despite his effort at some improved oversight and constraints on fly ash from coal-fired plants, I must concur with the Roanoke Times (RT) editorial here that he has missed the mark.

Moran announces opposition to coal-fired power plant

Now this is Change: Brian Moran is the "first candidate for governor in modern times to oppose a new coal fired power plant"
Moran Vows to Stop New Coal Plant

Moran announcing opposition to coal-powered plant in Surry

You can also read about Brian's full policy positions on his new website:

Brian Moran for Governor 2009

Read the full press release on the flip

Moran Rejects Bush’s Offshore Drilling Plan

~ Joins Governor Kaine’s call to freeze the process~

“We cannot solve 21st century energy challenges with 19th century fossil fuel. We need new leadership that invests in energy efficiency and alternative and renewable energy to protect our environment and jump start our economy by creating thousands of new, green jobs. It’s unfortunate that the Bush administration is trying to push through an agenda that’s harmful to our environment, damages our tourism economy, and limits the Navy’s ability to protect America."

The Battle of Coles Hill

Last night was the first skirmish in what will undoubtedly become known as the Battle of Coles Hill. Chatham residents turned out in the hundreds for a community forum on uranium mining at a site just outside town, which is apparently the largest untapped uranium deposit in America.

Oil Drilling – Coming to a Virginia Shore Near You?

As if the Bush administration hadn’t left enough of a legacy yet, make sure to catch its final act – bringing offshore oil drilling to within 50 miles of the Virginia coast.

Yes, Bush’s Interior Department has begun “initial information gathering [to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement] for a proposed OCS [outer continental shelf] Lease Sale 220 offshore Virginia.” And you’ve only got until January 13 to let the Federal government know how you feel about the matter.

Originally, the Busheviks published this notice in the Federal Register on November 13, seeking comment by December 29 – while Americans were distracted by the three most important holidays of the year. But Tim Kaine sent in his own comment on December 19, requesting that the comment period be extended to the end of February, both because of the holiday season and “to allow time for the new administration that will take office in January to consider its options with regard to the proposed actions.” The Bush administration apparently only accepted the first point and not the second, as it refused to extend the comment period past Inauguration Day.

Health care, Economy, Environment: All Connected

Ice melting across globe at accelerating rate, NASA says

As our economic crisis and news of increased global warming collide, we need to focus on how fixing both of these problems are connected. In order to fix our economy, we must create new jobs. To clean our environment and achieve energy independence we must create new green-collar jobs to do the work. To create and keep new jobs in the US we must dramatically lower health care costs. They are all connected. We can't do one without the other. So how do we leverage each of these major issues to fix all of our major problems? Many people are focused on health care reform, others are focused more on the economy, others are focused on cleaning the environment and some are focused on achieving energy independence. If we continue to compete with each other for political clout, none of us will get very far, but if we work together, we can fix all of these major problems together. The case needs to be made to each supporting group that all of these issues are connected and that we need to work together to fix them all.

Our Looming Environmental Catastrophe: Part One

Last May, I saw the haunting cliff palace and other ancient dwellings of Mesa Verde. I stood speechless in reflection of the lives of those who built their homes and grew communities along the treacherous cliffs. I smiled as a women from Scotland was captivated by a sight she thought she’d “never see” in her whole life. But I watched passively as our fantastic tour guide took tourists deep into the park and down into the cliff dwellings.

Tim Kaine - The BlueCommonwealth.com Interview - Coming Soon

This is just a teaser to let you know that the Governor was kind enough sit down with BlueCommonwealth.com and discuss a wide range of topics including his early endorsement of Barrack Obama, the future of Energy and Transportation policy in the commonwealth, and Blue Virginia. The Governor also broke the news of a series of major new environmental initiatives planned for the year ahead; told you it was a teaser.

We should have the video up in the next day or so. Developing....