Who’s the best gubernatorial candidate, from a green point of view? Short answer: I don’t know. I just don’t know. I really just don’t know.
I had hoped to deliver a ringing endorsement of one of the three Democratic candidates, and maybe while I was at it a scathing denouncement of at least one of the other two. However, after several hours of trying to educate myself on their environmental positions and records, I have learned two things:
1. I should have started paying attention to this much sooner. Like, years ago.
2. None of the three (Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe, Brian Moran) seems worthy of a ringing endorsement. The issue of scathing denouncements is somewhat murkier.
The primary is only eight days away (June 9), so I’m looking for a mutually beneficial discussion, here, readers. I’ll tell you some stuff I’ve learned and you chime in, please. Also, vote! Vote like the wind. Pretend it’s last November. Wear your moose-huntin’ hat if it gets you to the polls.
First of all, here’s the Sierra Club providing a side-by-side comparison of the candidates’ positions, in their own words. It’s a total snoozefest. McAuliffe and Moran have exactly the same goals for renewable energy. Everybody loves the easy-to-love passenger rail, and ditto for the Chesapeake Bay. Moran comes off as somewhat more hard-core than his opponents, notably on the issue of the Surry coal plant, which he’s against. More on that below.
The issue of who will be effective, apart from actual positions, comes up in various places. One voter’s pithy perspective is quoted in this Staunton News-Leader story: "The other two candidates ‘deserve it more,’ Young said a few days later, but ‘McAuliffe has the potential to do a lot more.’" McAuliffe is seen as the electable, well-funded candidate who might actually get some stuff done. Indeed, effectiveness seems to be the main reason for the Virginia League of Conservation Voters’ endorsement of McAuliffe (download the group’s statement here). The Post’s endorsement of Deeds is surprising in that context, but its paragraph on environmental issues is quite flaccid.
Ultimately, to me, fossil fuels are THE current environmental issue in Virginia. Climate change, mining and drilling: Those are your crises. And none of these three guys, predictably for major-party candidates, seems willing to truly draw a line in the sand. McAuliffe is criticized for supporting offshore oil drilling. Deeds is lambasted for parroting the clean-coal line. And Moran, most disappointingly, takes heat for supporting the proposed Wise County plant even as he trumpets his opposition to the Surry plant.
I really have no idea who to vote for. Please offer opinions.