Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a major blow to the Obama administration by blocking the implementation of the Clean Power Plan while it is being challenged in court.
This controversial rule would force states to impose strict limitations on carbon emissions from existing power plants, threatening to destroy jobs across the Commonwealth, particularly in Southside and Southwest Virginia. The Supreme Court granted emergency stay applications filed by opponents of the rule, including 29 states and state agencies, but Virginia—under the direction of Attorney General Mark Herring—was not one of them.
In fact, the day after the November 3rd election—an election in which Virginia Democrats tried desperately to take back control of the State Senate—Herring announced that Virginia would sign on to a lawsuit defending the Clean Power Plan in federal court, siding with Washington bureaucrats and radical environmentalists instead of the citizens he's tasked to represent.
The timing of this decision was obvious. Under the plan, Virginia could lose up to 11,500 manufacturing jobs, with average gas and electricity bills expected to increase by a total of 21%, or $472, by 2020. Attempting to defend this during an important election year in which Democrats were trying to take back the State Senate and make gains in the House would not have been an easy task.
All of this is, unfortunately, unsurprising. After nearly seven years in office, President Obama's lofty goal of regulating the economy in the name of combating global warming is nothing new. He ran on an environmentalist message in 2008, renewed his commitment to the green energy lobby in 2012, and pursued destructive policies that have crippled the coal industry and increased energy costs for working families.
In the past, Virginia has stood in opposition to these policies, but we now have an Attorney General who operates in lockstep with his liberal base and the radical environmentalists that populate it. Mark Herring has chosen to support the Clean Power Plan, despite the fact the plan itself is an extreme - and unlawful - use of executive authority, creating sweeping changes to the nation's energy system without a hint of congressional authority to do so.
Unlike Herring, I would fight to stop this as your Attorney General, working hard to protect Virginia's economy and oppose policies that drive up electricity costs and kill valuable jobs throughout the Commonwealth.