The U.S. Department of the Interior released a proposal that could allow offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean as early as 2017. Since its release in January, opposition in coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia has grown. “It is hard to recall a grassroots effort that has advanced a cause so rapidly,” according to an editorial in The Post and Courier.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule in July. This rule requires states to reduce power plant emissions that impact the air quality in other states. Provisions governing sulfur dioxide and ozone that cross states lines, however, were struck down.
Increased natural gas use did not cause carbon dioxide emissions to fall between 2007 and 2013 — the Great Recession did, a recent study found. And the World Bank has rejected industry claims that coal provides an escape from poverty.
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed regulations in August that would significantly reduce the amount of methane — a gas that traps 25 times more atmospheric heat than carbon dioxide — released during oil and natural gas production. Industry representatives criticize the proposal for being costly and unnecessary, while environmental advocates object that the regulations apply only to new, not existing, infrastructure.
Dominion Virginia Power’s third reactor at North Anna is projected to produce electricity costing 19 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to a recent filing. The average wholesale cost for electricity in that area is 5.3 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Announced in early September, VirginiaSAVES aims to boost economic development and reduce electricity consumption by subsidizing clean energy projects across the commonwealth. The program will use $20 million of federally allocated bonds to support eligible projects led by local governments, businesses and nonprofits. Virginia also recently received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help achieve its energy efficiency goals.