What do Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the Koch Brothers have in common? Unfortunately for those of us who want wind and solar energy, more than we feared. A few days ago, Cuccinelli, a famous climate-denier, teamed up with Dominion Power, the biggest polluter in the state, to release a bill that would effectively kill the only broad clean energy law we have in Virginia. This back room deal isn't surprising, as Cuccinelli received a $50,000 campaign contribution from the Koch Brothers, and has ties to Koch Industries. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), announced a war on Renewable Portfolio Standards, and now their battle hit Virgina. Fortunately for the climate, Virginians are fighting back.
Dozens of activists converged in Richmond on Thursday for a day long action and protest of the RPS-killing bill. Community members and students from across the state came together to call on their legislators to "Fix It, Don't Nix It!" -a demand to reform the law instead of repeal it. The Dominion-Cuccinelli bill would render the RPS useless, as it would repeal the performance incentives for the voluntary renewable energy standards. Without these incentives, there are no other mechanisms in place to hold utilities accountable to their renewable energy goals.
To make their message clear, activists rallied in the General Assembly building and then lined the pathway with their bright green t-shirts and home-made windmills to greet legislators as they headed to the state capitol. Groups of protesters also carried their visible message into the House gallery, handed out information to delegates and senators, and sat in on the meeting of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, which will consider the RPS repeal legislation.
More from Virginia soon, where we are working hard to keep dirty money of politics.