In 2013, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters worked hard to elect Terry McAuliffe as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 72nd Governor due to a strong environmental platform that prioritized conservation of our state’s clean water resources and open spaces as well as taking bold action to address climate change and grow our clean energy sector.
Now in the final months of his term, Virginia LCV presented Gov. McAuliffe with the inaugural “John B. Jaske Virginia Conservation Legacy Award,” which bears the namesake of the League’s longtime board member and chairman, in recognition of McAuliffe’s environmental leadership over the past four years. Virginia LCV’s Interim Chair Roy Hoagland, Executive Director Michael Town, and the late Jaske’s wife, Pam Jaske, presented the Governor with the award during the League’s annual Legislative Recognition Event, held Sunday, May 21 in Upperville, Va.
What follows is just a short-list of McAuliffe’s environmental achievements to date:
- Just this past week released a directive to the Department of Environmental Quality to develop a market-based approach that will cap climate-disrupting emissions from new and existing power plants. This is the biggest step Virginia has ever taken to address climate change and the end-result was the culmination of a months-long process, which began last summer via Executive Order 57 and took into account input from multiple stakeholders.
- Reinstated the state’s Climate Commission, instituted Virginia’s first Solar Development Authority, secured millions of dollars in federal resiliency funding for the Commonwealth, and negotiated adding climate impacts to the Chesapeake Bay agreement.
- In conjunction with the office of Attorney General Mark Herring and the Department of Justice, led the largest pollution settlement in Virginia history and the eighth largest nationwide for decades of mercury pollution in the Shenandoah Valley by DuPont.
- Signed transfer of deed for Fort Monroe to the National Parks Service, paving the way for this historic site to become a National Monument and oversaw the expansion of Virginia’s state parks to include Crow’s Nest and Natural Bridge, among other properties.
- Held a strong position against fracking in the George Washington National Forest.
- Maintained more of an open door for Virginia LCV than any previous Governor, including weekly meetings during session, and the appointment of a Virginia LCV Board member to the state’s Air Pollution Control Board.
- Signed letter urging President Trump to honor the Paris Agreement.
- Successfully defended the moratorium on Uranium Mining, which faced legislative and legal threats during his term.
- Halted the McDonnell administration’s deeply flawed Route 460 plan and implemented a transportation funding mechanism to prevent future boondoggles.
- Adopted the largest conservation funding budget ever for both water quality programs and land conservation efforts and worked to ensure any cuts to the state’s Land Preservation Tax Credit program were budgetary and not statutory.
- Vetoed legislative efforts to extend the state’s costly and ineffective coal tax credits and also rejected legislative attacks against the Clean Power Plan.
- Championed and had officials in his administration lobby in support of our positions on clean energy, water quality, funding, coal ash management and fracking.
- Placed a one-year moratorium on coal ash closure permits, dismantling Dominion Power’s coal ash plans in the process and allowing time to fully assess the threat these sites pose to our water quality and develop safe plans for long-term closure.
- Successfully transformed the argument pitting strong environmental stewardship against economic growth into a dynamic where protecting the environment goes hand in hand with growing jobs in Virginia with regards to the Chesapeake Bay, agriculture, land conservation and parks, tourism, and clean energy development.
For these reasons and more, Virginia LCV is honored to present McAuliffe with the first-ever John B. Jaske Virginia Conservation Legacy Award.