Virginians Care For #EVERYNEIGHBOR
For too long, communities of color in Virginia have borne a disproportionate burden of pollution. This spring, after years of grassroots work led by these communities, Delegates Mark Keam (Fairfax County) and Charniele Herring (Fairfax and Alexandria) helped advance environmental justice for #everyneighbor in Virginia by passing two bills that ensure community voices are heard in environmental decision-making, while also generating ongoing recommendations to the governor as to how to protect vulnerable communities from pollution.
Show your appreciation by posting and tagging them on social media! Copy and paste the text of any of the sample social media posts below (or write your own!), click here to print a sign to hold, use #everyneighbor, and tag us @ipldmv and @faithforclimate!
Thanking Delegates Mark Keam (@MarkKeam) and Charniele Herring (@C_Herring)
— Thank you Del.s @C_Herring and @MarkKeam for caring for #everyneighbor by championing a permanent VA Council on Environmental Justice! As we’re learning how air pollution has made communities of color more vulnerable to COVID-19, we know this work is as important as ever.
— This spring, we celebrate two VA leaders in environmental justice! Thanks to Del.s @C_Herring and @MarkKeam for championing a permanent VA Council on EJ. This crisis has reiterated how important it is for #everyneighbor to have clean air.
— Those breathing an unfair share of pollution get much sicker if they contract Covid-19—one reason communities of color have been harder hit. Gratitude to Del.s @C_Herring + @MarkKeam for making the VA Council on Environmental Justice permanent to better care for #everyneighbor
Tell the Fairfax Board of Supervisors that you’re concerned for #everyneighbor
— Now more than ever, we are called to care for #everyneighbor. @[tag legislator], will you commit to protecting energy efficiency programs that improve health and help make housing more affordable? #OneFairfax
— Those breathing an unfair share of pollution get much sicker if they contract Covid-19—one reason communities of color have been harder hit. @[tag legislator], will you commit to protecting energy efficiency programs that improve health + care for #everyneighbor? #OneFairfax
- Chairman, At-Large – Jeffrey C. McKay @JeffreyCMcKay
- Vice Chairman, Mason – Penelope A. Gross @SullySupervisor
- Braddock – James R. Walkinshaw @JRWalkinshaw
- Dranesville – John W. Foust @DranesvilleSup
- Hunter Mill – Walter L. Alcorn @WalterAlcornFFX
- Lee – Rodney L. Lusk @SupervisorLusk
- Mount Vernon – Daniel G. Storck @DanStorck
- Providence – Dalia A. Palchik @SupvPalchik
- Springfield – Pat Herrity @PatHerrity
- Sully – Kathy L. Smith @SullySupervisor
Looking Back on General Assembly 2020 Advocacy Priorities
All of our faith traditions call us to care for our neighbors and honor our interdependence with the natural world. Our burning fossil fuels for electricity is pouring heat-trapping climate pollution into our atmosphere, damaging our climate and hurting our most vulnerable neighbors.
Together with Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS), Virginia faith communities supported many proposals for clean energy and environmental justice during the 2020 General Assembly.
See the following updates from Virginia IPL, or check out a video recap here.
2020 Session Victories:
- The Virginia Council on Environmental Justice is now codified, which establishes a public forum for community voices to be heard on the issue as well as making sure that there will be ongoing recommendations to the governor as to how to protect vulnerable communities from disproportionate impacts of pollution. HB1042/SB883 has been signed by the governor.
- The Virginia Environmental Justice Act, which makes it the policy of the Commonwealth to promote environmental justice and ensure that it is carried out, is on the governor’s desk.
- Two bills (HB1162 and HB1164) that ensure the Department of Environmental Quality’s purpose and mission statement are modernized to include climate change and furthering environmental justice passed. VAIPL worked to strengthen HB1164 moving the language from “striving for” to “ensuring” environmental justice.
- HB394 establishes the position of Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to be appointed by the Governor, making Virginia one of the first states to have this position at the secretariat level.
- The Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act (HB981/SB1027) passed. This is the most equitable version of a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proposed on the past few years. It joins VA on to the RGGI program and provides funding (half of the RGGI revenue) for low-income energy efficiency programs.
- The Solar Freedom bill (HB572/SB710) passed, which cuts red tape that prevented Virginians from embracing solar. It raises the cap on the total amount of net metered solar allowed from 1% currently to 6%, increases the allowable size of residential net-metered projects to 25 kW, allows residents of apartment buildings and condominiums in Dominion Energy territory and Old Dominion Power territory to participate in shared solar programs using on-site solar facilities and in Dominion territory, allows customers to install enough solar to meet 150% of their previous year’s demand, recognizing the needs of growing families and EV owners (in APCo territory the maximum stays at 100% of demand) among other positive changes as well.
- SB646 slightly raised penalties for violating construction rules on fracked-gas transmission pipelines and passed.
- HB528, which addresses the issue of energy burden by empowering state consumer protection watchdogs at the State Corporation Commission to determine the amortization period for recovery of any appropriate costs due to the early retirement of power plants. The longer the pay back period, the lower the costs for Virginia billpayers.
- SB1075, which allows more opportunities for public education, input and comments in some permitting and new regulations considered by the Air Pollution Control Board, passed.