Pollution is vandalism. Clean air and water are human rights. How can we possibly be free to pursue our lives if poison comes from the faucet? What happened in Flint, Michigan was more than government incompetence: it was a violation of our basic freedoms. Ben will fight to keep our environment healthy, water and air clean, and public lands public.
Fight climate change by supporting local farmers. Ben’s plan to fight climate change includes supporting local community agriculture. When farmers sell local, the distance traveled for crops is shorter and less fuel is burned. That’s why Ben’s solutions to climate change include community commercial kitchens, pasteurization salons, and mobile slaughterhouses. Ben also supports fully funding the Agriculture cost-sharing program. Ben supports the overall goal of the Virginia Green New Deal promoted by Delegate Rasoul and Delegate Guzman, which is a set of general principles that couple environmental awareness and the fight against climate change with jobs, economic development, and social security.
No coal subsidies. No more $7.3 million subsidies for the coal industry. Between 1995 and 2015, Virginia has given the coal industry $500 MILLION in subsidies, propping up a dying industry with crony capitalism and taxpayer money. Coal is a dying industry and should be allowed to die a natural death, not kept alive on life support with our tax dollars.
Solar freedom. Thanks to Dominion lobbyists, localities are limited in their ability to expand solar power in communities. Ben supports lifting these regulations and supports Senator McClellan’s SB1456.
No unsafe uranium mining. The National Academy of Sciences spent $1.4 million to investigate the viability of uranium mining in Virginia. They concluded that because we’re a wet climate, and uranium has never been mined in a wet climate before, then it’s impossible to know if the uranium will infiltrate our water. Mining projects can improve our economy, but they need to be safe.
End Dominion’s stranglehold on our politics. Safe energy infrastructure projects can boost our economy and provide great jobs for working families. But Dominion Energy wants to use eminent domain to steal people’s property and build the Atlantic Coast gas pipeline in their place. That’s not okay. Dirty fossil fuels belong to the past, yet fossil fuel companies hold onto power through crony capitalism. Ben signed the pledge both in 2017 and again in 2019 refusing to take any money from Dominion.
Climate change is real, but how do we fight it? Cap-and-trade vs. Carbon tax vs. cap-and-dividend. When the smartest people in the world have spent the majority of their lives telling us that climate change is real, then it’s real. Virginia is already flooding. And the flooding that we’re seeing now and that will get worse in coming years isn’t just from sea-level rise in coastal areas. It’s also due to more extreme storms with more-intense rainfall, which is adversely affecting agriculture and other aspects of life in the 17th district. We need bold new ideas and to be open to creative solutions. Ben worries that cap-and-trade is too regulatory and inefficient, that a carbon tax is too ineffective, and that both are too regressive. The ones struggling hardest in society should not be left to carry most of the climate change burden. The best of both worlds might be the cap-and-dividend approach proposed by Peter Barnes, where each American gets a cut of the pollution rent. But we must listen to our expert scientists and be open to aggressive ideas.