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Cuccinelli calls for environmental, economic balance at energy conference

Rosalind Helderman

Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) told several hundred attendees of a conference on energy production in Richmond that government regulation of greenhouse gases would give businesses two choices: "Move or die."

Cuccinelli, one of Virginia's most vocal critics of Democrats in Washington, used remarks at Gov. Bob McDonnell's Conference on Energy to offer a scathing rebuke of President Obama's energy policy.

He said regulating emissions -- either through action by the Environmental Protection Agency or through a bill before the U.S. Senate that would impose an emissions cap and then allow companies to trade pollution credits -- would cost thousands of jobs and raise energy costs for businesses and households. Businesses would be forced to shutter or move overseas, he said.

Cuccinelli is suing the EPA over its finding that it can regulate emissions because they cause harmful global warming. He said he's heard "very little articulatable benefit from either the EPA or the proponents of cap and trade" that would come from regulating emissions.

"The question in my view becomes one of trade-offs: How much damage are we willing to do economically to make what advance or protect what resources environmentally?"

Cuccinell, a climate change skeptic, has been attempting to compel the University of Virginia to turn over documents related to the work of a former climate science professor because he wants to investigate whether the professor committed fraud in research that showed that the earth has been warming.

The thre-day Conference on Energy concludes Thursday in Richmond with a Green Jobs fair hosted by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R).

Speaking at the conference Wednesday, McDonnell reiterated his long-held position that Virginia should pursue an "all of the above" energy strategy, one that encourages new alternative energy like wind and solar power, along with coal production. And he repeated his oft-stated commitment to drilling off Virginia's coast.

Former Texas oilman and current natural gas proponent T. Boone Pickens also addressed the conference yesterday, indicating that he'd be willing to invest in natural gas production in Virginia.

By Rosalind Helderman  | October 14, 2010; 3:32 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Bolling, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: Va. slips to number 2 state for business in Forbes Magazine ranking

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