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GOP Energy Plans

Rosalind Helderman

Under a Bob McDonnell adminstration, Virginia would be the first state on the eastern seaboard to drill for oil and natural gas 50 miles off the coast, when the feds allow it starting in 2011.

The Commonwealth would also be the first in the country to build a nuclear reactor in more than a decade, a facility that will go to Lake Anna.

The state would promote its coal industry, plus pursue renewable resources like wind and chicken manure as energy sources.

It's all a part of the more is more energy strategy unveiled today by Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

The Democratic candidates have been heavily focused on plans to build a so-called green economy with jobs in new energy sources, like wind, solar, even chicken manure. They have parted ways with one another over a proposed new coal plant in Surry Virginia--Moran opposes it; Sen. Creigh Deeds' spokesman has said coal should remain on the table. Terry McAullife has said he awaits a study of the plant's potential environmental impact.

Moran has also opposed any drilling off Virginia's coast, a topic he and McAuliffe have clashed over because the former DNC head believes in exploring for natural gas, though not oil, 50 miles off the coast.

McDonnell said new tax revenues from oil and gas drilling off Virginia's coast could be used to fund transportation improvements and research initiatives into new energy sources. He also wants to offer $500 per job tax incentive for businesses that create Green jbos.

The argument here is basically, with Republicans, you get everything the Dems are offering and more.

In a conference call with reporters, McDonnell accused Democrats of being "beholden to certain idealogies during a primary race"

"They ignore coal, they've opposed off-shore drilling, they ignore nuclear energy," he said. "Our point is we need it all. We need a comprehensive solution for decades to come."

Going forward, Dems will likely have a lot to say about the potential environmental impacts of this plan.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 27, 2009; 1:42 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Last sentence = understatement of the day

Posted by: TheGreenMiles | April 27, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

FYI, Brian Moran voted for a bill (SB 262) that encouraged the exploration for natural gas off Virginia's coast. In addition, the bill urged the President and Congress to lift the moratoria on natural gas exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf. The bottom line here is that Terry McAuliffe holds the same position - open to exploration for natural gas offshore - as Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, and...yes, Brian Moran himself

Posted by: lowkell | April 27, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The bill Moran voted for in 2006 was a plan which endorsed exploration, not drilling.

Later, Moran joined with the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Environment Virginia, the Southern Environmental Law Center, Rep. Jim Moran, NASA and the Navy in filing comments opposing drilling in a Dept of Interior regulatory proceeding.

Brian Moran was the only candidate for governor to file any comments in this docket, which will play an important part in whether or not further drilling occurs. He also is the only candidate to explicitly oppose offshore drilling in his energy plan.

Lastly, both he and Creigh Deeds are the only candidates not to receive any money from employees of oil or natural gas interests in the first quarter according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Meanwhile, Terry McAuliffe does not mention one word about his view of offshore drilling in his 20 page energy plan. He failed to file any comments before the Interior Department. And he's received 88% of all the money raised from oil and natural gas interests. (McDonnell has recieved the rest. This is according to the Va. Public Access Project.)

On my blog ( I've called on McAuliffe to do three things:

Amend his energy plan to explicitly promise he will fight against any offshore drilling, whether for natural gas or oil.

File comments in the Interior Dept proceeding declaring his opposition to drilling.

Return all the money he's raised from oil and natural gas interests.

McAuliffe's campaign consultant has refused to respond to my requests and his supporters have declared that I am distorting McAuliffe's views by asking for these steps to be taken.

I'm still trying to decide between Moran and Deeds. (I've already ruled out McAuliffe for other reasons.) One thing that is clear to me is that McAuliffe is pulling a fast one by claiming his position on offshore oil is the same as Moran's. The facts don't seem to bear that out.

But I believe McAuliffe could clarify his position by filing comments in the Interior proceeding as it's still open. I urge him to clear up this confusion. I'd be delighted to see that step by him.

Posted by: fakevirginia | April 27, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else get the sense that Brian Moran will be the Democratic candidate?

Yes, Terry McAuliffe has the money and the endorsement of Bill Clinton, but Brian Moran has the experience. More importantly, I feel, he's the exact ideological opposite of Bob McDonnell.

Consider the 2008 presidential election. The Democrats won by presenting a candidate who was the polar opposite of President Bush. Of course, John McCain is hardly Bush III, but the DNC spent hundreds of millions of dollars convincing the country that he was. Once Barack Obama had sealed the nomination, all he had to do was run left while McCain ran right.

Politics has become polarization, due to the DNC's recent strategy of anti-Bushism. McAuliffe, as former DNC head, may be an anti-Bush, but Moran is the anti-McDonnell.

Posted by: paperback_wizard | April 28, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

While I agree that some strategy can be felt with anti-Bushism in the Democratic Party, it isn't blown out of proportion like it was in 2004. We're effectively excavating progressive and aggressive policies on capitalist economics that will most likely resonate when they are successful. I read recently in an article about implementation that someone posited a thought that "doing nothing and expecting everything" does not work. Aggressive cuts by the GOP aimed at all aspects of government [not just bloated programs] are counterintuitive; the residual decrease in revenues is effectively an example of shooting oneself in the foot [transportation, education, business growth, smart development, energy, etc.]. Not capitalizing on technological upgrades in transportation and education, for example, for sustained amounts of time will guarantee a lapse in the U.S. economy as the rest of the world catches up. This is the lesson we learned the hard way from the 1970s energy crisis; in the time between then and now, we did not do enough to offset the risks of a fluctuating, foreign import. Domestic production of oil didn't matter; global market prices dictated what we'd pay. Consequently, corporations with a major emphasis on shipping [importing/exporting] faced tripling in fuel costs! The domino effect that followed was expected.

The moral of the story is that the Democratic Party is fighting to aggressively attack these lapses in our infrastructure, a strategy that will be a long-term guarantor of the availability of jobs.

Finally, regarding McCain, I doubt that he would have bucked the trend of selling out to the now-fractured Republican base, which has been described by many [including Specter] as having become intensely more rightist since Nixon. McCain in 2008 was different than the real McCain that was running in opposition to Bush, the real GOP-base candidate, in 2000. In order to withold the support of a weak national party, McCain, if elected, would have had to hold back on his ideology and conform to the Republican base. In that sense, he would have been a George III.

I would like to agree, *paperback*, because you offer a view that looks deeper than most commentary, but there's more to the story than a black-and-white picture of polarization in the form of anti-candidate strategy.

Posted by: robsmithiii | April 29, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

McDonnell's going to have to have an energy plan besides offshore drilling. That's old and tired and people need a new idea. Just rhetoric.

Posted by: amy130 | May 1, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

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