Saturday night, at a dinner for non-profit Virginia Forever, gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) clashed over their environmental plans. This has been a major debate between the two candidates during this race and their views will play a huge role in the votes.
McAuliffe is a major advocate of conservation. He said that if elected governor, he would “preserve over 400,000 acres of open space across Virginia.”
On another issue, Cuccinelli voiced his opinions about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and taking stronger action towards polluters. Where McAuliffe made promises, Cuccinelli offered specific strategies and plans.
“I believe the scientific consensus that climate change is real, it’s happening, and is caused by our continued actions. I know that the attorney general and I disagree on that,” McAuliffe said Saturday, citing the perils that rising sea levels hold for the Hampton Roads region.
Friday, the Obama Administration issued strict new carbon emissions limits, which Cuccinelli is extremely opposed to. “The administration renewed its war on coal today,” Cuccinelli said, adding — as he often does — that “a war on coal is a war on the poor” and that Virginia “needs a governor who’ll fight for those folks” who depend on the coal industry.”
One topic dear to Virginia Forever’s heart is the land preservation tax credit. McAuliffe said he opposed a reduction in the credit and gained a majority of the support there, while Cuccinelli voiced that he had his concerns but didn’t highlight anything of importance. These two polar opposite views on the environment will play be a huge influence on the votes, as we get closer to Election Day.