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Environmentalists Rallied to Support Clean Energy Bills

crowd holds 'climate action now' sign in front of building
Environmental advocates rallied at the Capitol in support of clean energy bills. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

*Crixell Matthews and David Streever contributed to this report.

Tuesday, nearly 200 people affiliated with environmental organizations rallied at the Virginia State Capitol to support clean energy legislation. The slate of legislation they support would impose a moratorium on fossil fuel energy production projects and invest in solar and wind-powered energy.

Connie Wright-Zink, with Virginia Organizing, said she traveled from her home in Middlebrook to support the Sierra Club because climate change is "a disaster" that's "affecting everybody all over the world."

As important as clean energy is to Wright-Zink, she said considering the environmental impact on marginalized groups was even more important.  

"Virginia Organizing is concerned with environmental justice, which is not just about the environment, it’s also about its impact on communities of color and poor people, who are usually the ones most affected by the fallout of things like compressor stations, pipelines, and things of that sort,” she added.

Some of the proposed legislation doesn't go far enough Wright-Zink said, but she cited the Green New Deal Act proposed by Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) as a bill that was "aggressive enough" in the fight against climate change.

At the rally, Del. Jennifer Carroll-Foy (D-Petersburg) said her proposed legislation, which mandates 100% renewable energy by 2050, will meet its goals early.

Comparing climate change to a war, Carroll-Foy said the battle had "come to our doorsteps." She vowed to fight, adding, "We will continue to ensure that we are good stewards of our environment, that we leave a place and a planet that our children can grow in, that they have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, because that is our duty as people living here on Earth.”

High school students skipped classes to attend, bearing hand-painted signs with images of polar bears and messages like, "You'll die of old age, I'll die of climate change."

After remarks from delegates, the group took a photo on the Capitol steps, before heading next door to St Paul's Episcopal Church for lunch and a clean energy round table discussion.

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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