BRISTOL, Va. — Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli rolled out his energy plan Thursday before a friendly audience at Electro-Mechanical’s Power Line Division.
Cuccinelli said his plan employs an all-of-the-above energy strategy — including coal, solar and wind — to enable job growth.
“It’s focused on economic growth and reducing the costly burdens for middle-income families and consumers,” Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general, said. “As a matter of fact, all the policies I’m going to focus on over the next six months one way or another will be related to the economy and the opportunity for job creation.”
Cuccinelli will face Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the November election to succeed Republican Bob McDonnell.
Cuccinelli called Southwest Virginia the “backbone” of Virginia’s energy industry.
“When you think energy in Virginia, this is the part of Virginia you think about,” he said. “While natural gas and nuclear are core components of our plan — we have four (nuclear) reactors in Virginia and thinking about a fifth — that’s a live part of our discussion, but I’ve always believed more traditional sources of energy, particularly coal, are essential to sound economic policy for the commonwealth. ... Thousands of Virginians in this part of the state depend on the coal industry.”
Cuccinelli then took McAuliffe to task for stating “he didn’t want to see another coal plant” in Virginia when McAuliffe unsuccessfully sought the Democratic gubernatorial nomination four years ago.
“I don’t think that’s a policy the governor of Virginia ought to walk in the door with,” Cuccinelli said. “...Sure, we can build more plants that are safer, cleaner and more efficient, but we’re talking about people’s livelihoods, opportunity to work and raise a family. ... We’re talking about generations of Virginia history. ... In Southwest Virginia, coal jobs are good jobs.”
Cuccinelli pointed out his town hall-style meetings as attorney general have been south and west of Roanoke, and dealt with electricity prices.
“As governor, I’ll work with members of the General Assembly on both sides of the aisle with the leaders of the energy industry and consumers to take specific steps to create jobs and keep prices manageable for consumers,” he noted.
Cuccinelli’s energy plan also calls for “responsibly exploring” offshore oil and requesting federal waivers opting Virginia out of federal ethanol fuel requirements.
He charged the federal government won’t allow the state to see how much offshore oil exists and how recoverable it is.
“We need Virginia to be more competitive in the national market,” Cuccinelli said.
When asked for a response, McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin pointed out Cuccinelli’s legal attempts to discredit climate scientist Michael E. Mann at the University of Virginia.
“Ken Cuccinelli’s extreme record on energy and science has hurt Virginia,” Schwerin said in an email. “When he didn’t like the conclusions of a scientist’s research, he abused his office to launch a witch hunt against UVa. that cost $600,000 and embarrassed Virginia. After his tax plan was laughed off stage as an idea that would cause a budget crisis, Cuccinelli is trying to shift gears to another issue where his plan is light on specifics but his record is heavy on ideology. ”
For more go to www.cuccinelli.com/energy-plan-for-virginia-jobs-and-families.