Kaine’s Environmental Credentials Wearing Very Thin, Very Fast

In a recent column, “The Kaine Mutiny,” Peter Galuszka argued that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine is losing friends in the environmental movement. And that was before the latest news regarding amendments Kaine tried to tack on to important energy legislation. As The Winchester Star tells the story, the governor comes across as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dominion Virginia Power:

The state Senate has quashed Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s legislative amendments that would have virtually assured the approval of a proposed 500-kilovolt power line through Frederick County and into Loudoun County.

The 39-0 vote in Richmond on Wednesday stymies an effort essentially to force Virginia’s State Corporation Commission to approve the power line, a joint project from Allegheny Energy’s Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Co. and Dominion Virginia Power. [Kaine later requested to pull the amendments when it became clear they would not pass.]

The proposed amendments would have changed a bill submitted by Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-Williamsburg. Among the proposed changes was the removal of a line noting that Virginia would have a state goal of reducing retail customers’ consumption of electrical energy through the implementation of cost-efficiency programs by an amount equal to 10 percent of the amount of electricity used by retail customers in 2006.

Update: There’s more to this story, and it puts Gov. Kaine in a better light as a defender of the environment. This comes from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters:

While the Governor’s effort to incorporate goals for reducing the growth rate of energy demand by 40% consistent with the State Energy Plan may have been his primary objective, other language in the amendment to SB 596 could have interfered with the Northern Virginia Transmission Line case currently pending before the State Corporation Commission (SCC). The SCC would have been limited to reviewing only conservation or energy efficiency evidence provided by the utility company, regardless of the other efficiency programs implemented in the Commonwealth. This change could have prejudiced pending and future applications in favor of the utilities. After sharing our concerns with legislators and the Administration, the Governor removed support for the amendment and it was defeated in the Senate.

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  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    More beating up on Kaine… who only has limited latitude in how far he can stray off the middle path… at least in Virginia.

    here’s my challenge:

    Name the most environmentally progressive Republican in Va – past or present and list their accomplishments.

    Compare and contrast those guys with Kaine or any other Dem in Va on and equal basis.. and especially show how Kaine’s “credentials” fall short in comparison.

    Tell me Gilmore’s most impressive Environmental contribution.

    Tell me Bob McDonnells most impressive environmental action in his current role or highlight his environmental platform as Governor.

    Why is it.. that when Republicans when they get in office in Virginia get a total pass on judgments about their passivity on environmental matters and the Dems get hammered?

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Larry, You’re missing the significance of the story. Nobody’s saying Kaine is “worse” than previous Republican governors on the environment. His problem is his performance versus expectations — in particular, the expectations of the environmentalists who supported him. When Kaine ran for governor, he campaigned on a platform of reforming land use and protecting the environment. He did not campaign on a platform of standing up for Dominion Virginia Power.

    Environmentalists dumped all over Gilmore. But he never pretended to be one of them. That’s the difference.

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    …”expectations” to do things by .. fiat… though… as opposed to building and maintaining enduring relationships with both parties on a continuum…

    It’s not at all realistic to think that Kaine is going to get so far out in front as to endanger his effectiveness… but the environmentalists in Virginia seem to always want the Dems to fall on their political swords in the name of the Environment and their expectations for the R’s are so low that when they get in office.. the strategy is to “hunker down” for 4 years.. always exploiting opportunities to tar the R’s in office for their anti-environmental stances.

    In short.. the E’s expect TOO MUCH from the D’s and not enough from the R’s…

    I’d rather see less cozying up to the Dems and more keeping to the business .. no matter who is in charge.

    They’ll get more respect from the general public and sooner or later.. they’ll develop a more functional relationship with the R’s – who I am convinced…WILL do the right thing.. sometimes.. if they don’t have as many lash marks on them from previous beatings.

    that’s my requisite blather for this morning..

  4. Groveton Avatar

    Never elect a boy to do a man’s job.

    Where is Governor Geek’s simple presentation showing when the electricity will run out at current usage +growth -some conservation? Why isn’t he taking these ideas to the areas which will have their lights go oit one fine night?

    I have to ask the omnipresenet question of Virginia politics:

    Is he pandering to vested interests in a clumsy manner or just too incompetent to put his genuine thoughts into a coherent message?

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