By Jonathon Lubrano, VCPC graduate student
On March 24, Angela Navarro, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources, spoke to Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) and Student Environmental & Animal Law Society students regarding the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan in Virginia.
Navarro explained to students that on February 9, the United States Supreme Court halted implementation of the Clean Power Plan because of legal challenges to the program in court. States responded to the halt of the Plan in a variety of ways. Some states chose to suspend all planning, while some forged ahead.
Virginia, under Governor Terry McAuliffe, opted to proceed with compliance training in accordance with the Plan’s mandates and benchmarks. It remains to be seen whether or how Virginia and other states’ willingness to persist in compliance training will impact the legal challenges brought against the Plan.
Christopher Earle, co-president of the Student Environmental & Animal Law Society, attended Navarro’s talk.
“I was particularly shocked at the enduringly wide variance in state political leaders’ willingness to address climate change,” Earle says. “While certain governors refuse to even utter the words climate change, others, including Governor McAuliffe, have taken public stands vowing to make Virginia a leader in clean energy endeavors. Ms. Navarro seemed to hint at a growing sentiment that reform is inevitable, whether through the Clean Power Plan, or some other federally-orchestrated mandate. It will certainly be interesting to see how this year’s election cycle influences the feasibility of attaining a solution capable of balancing all stakeholders’ interests.”
An extension partner of Virginia Sea Grant, VCPC at William & Mary Law School provides policy and legal analysis to its partners on coastal resource and community issues in its mission to educate and train the future lawyers and leaders of tomorrow.