Statement on Rockwool Factory

Contact: Alfonso Nevarez
Chair Loudoun County Democratic Committee
chair@loudoundemocrats.org
202.286.5096

Statement on Rockwool

Leesburg, VA, January 10th, 2019 – 33rd District House of Delegate candidate Mavis Taintor, Blue Ridge District Supervisor candidate Tia Walbridge, and the Loudoun County Democratic Committee have written a letter to Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring requesting intervention to protect Loudoun residents and agricultural businesses in Loudoun County from pollution coming from the Rockwool factory in West Virginia.

The new factory is a mere 8 miles from the Loudoun border. The residents of the Commonwealth have had no opportunity to give input on a factory that is likely to pour hundreds of tons of pollutants such as formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide into our atmosphere annually.

“The health of our families should be the top priority, not the profit of a company. Residents are justifiably worried about the impacts to their lives, they want action from leaders in the community, and assurances of safety,” commented Mavis Taintor.

This region is home to a thriving small agribusiness community and a growing agri-tourism industry that ranked third in overall visits for the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2017, welcoming more than 5 million visitors who spent $1.8 billion, an increase of 4.6% from the previous year. This region also supports 17,497 jobs, which in turn, generated more than $695 million in wages in 2017.

“Many farmers, both large and small in the region, who are raising families and crops that contribute to our community and our economy, will all be adversely affected by this factory opening on our doorstep. It’s important we address this issue now,” stated Tia Walbridge.

We commend the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors for researching this issue of importance to Loudoun residents. Unfortunately, they found the County has no recourse. We are concerned about our water, our soil, and our children. As leaders and advocates for western Loudoun, we are asking Attorney General Mark Herring to step in and find a solution that protects our neighbors, our economy, and our environment.

Resolution in Favor of Holding a Climate Debate

WHEREAS the climate crisis is real, is supported by scientific evidence, and is a threat to our planet and to our existence; and

WHEREAS our elected officials and other leaders have ignored the warnings of scientists for decades regarding the climate crisis; and

WHEREAS many communities are already suffering the effects of the climate crisis, including flooding, forest fires, droughts, more intense storms causing more extensive damage, sea-level rise, and shifting of plant and animal ranges; and

WHEREAS we need to make drastic reductions in greenhouse gasses by 2030, and the longer we wait, the harder the solutions become to implement, and yet emissions are still going up; and

WHEREAS we are still building new fossil fuel infrastructure and giving special tax treatment to fossil fuel companies, despite the fact that renewables pricing is now competitive with fossil fuels; and

WHEREAS the 2016 presidential election debates essentially ignored climate, and the first Democratic debates for 2020 seem to be following in this vein, having spent just 13 minutes over the two nights/4 hours, and only 10 of the 20 candidates were able to respond; and

WHEREAS the adverse effects of the climate crisis have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable members of society; and

WHEREAS the climate crisis affects just about every aspect of our economy, including energy usage, transportation, building construction, food production, availability of potable water, and therefore cannot be equated with a single issue; the impact of the climate crisis is too broad and the issue is too complicated to be properly addressed in a couple of debate questions; and

WHEREAS at least twenty Democratic presidential candidates and a strong majority of Democratic voters support having a debate on climate change; and

WHEREAS the candidates have proposed a broad range of solutions to the climate crisis, and a discussion is needed to highlight the differences in each candidate’s approach; and

WHEREAS American voters deserve to hear from the candidates who are asking for their votes to lead our country as to how they would address this overarching crisis; therefore

RESOLVED on the first day of August, 2019, the Loudoun County Democratic Committee joins the Sunrise Movement and other activists in calling on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to host a presidential primary debate that is wholly about the climate crisis in all its aspects, and urges in the strongest possible terms that all DNC members, and in particular the Virginia delegation to the DNC, and all DNC Resolutions Committee members, to vote for and support a presidential primary climate debate.

Resolution in support of The Renewables First Act by Zero Carbon Virginia

WHEREAS, The Loudoun County Democratic Committee is a body that respects science, believes the predominant view of the scientific community that climate change is anthropogenic, and is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

WHEREAS, The Renewables First Act (RFA) will place a moratorium on constructing new fossil fuel electric generation capacity until renewable energy generation facilities with 5,500 megawatts capacity are in operation in Virginia;

WHEREAS, According to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report on “Global Warming of 1.5°C”, the world faces severe, irreversible consequences if global temperatures increase by more than 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels. Limiting warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. The IPCC report’s modeling suggests that 70-80% of the world’s electricity will need to come from renewable sources by 2050;

WHEREAS, Less than 1 percent of Virginia’s total electricity generation came from solar in 2017;

WHEREAS, Virginia is 17th in the country in solar capacity, with 635 MW. North Carolina, a similar state in size and geography, is 2nd in the country with 4,490 MW;

WHEREAS, Virginia is currently one of only 9 states in the country without any utility-scale wind power;

WHEREAS, The Virginia Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018 (VGTSA) establishes that 5500MW total of solar and wind capacity is in the public interest;

WHEREAS, The 2018 Virginia Energy Plan calls for 3000 MW of solar and onshore wind by 2022 and 2000 MW of offshore wind by 2028;

WHEREAS, Dominion’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) calls for meeting the coming capacity gap of 5500MW in its service area (which includes most of Virginia and some of North Carolina) by using a mix of renewables and a minimum of 8 natural gas plants; Therefore be it:

RESOLVED, On this, the 3rd day of January 2019, The Loudoun County Democratic Committee supports the passage of The Renewables First Act by the Virginia General Assembly;

RESOLVED, The Loudoun County Democratic Committee demands a justified and rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

WHEREAS, The Loudoun County Democratic Committee is a body that respects science, believes the predominant view of the scientific community that climate change is anthropogenic, and is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

WHEREAS, The Renewables First Act (RFA) will place a moratorium on constructing new fossil fuel electric generation capacity until renewable energy generation facilities with 5,500 megawatts capacity are in operation in Virginia;

WHEREAS, According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report on “Global Warming of 1.5°C”, the world faces severe, irreversible consequences if global temperatures increase by more than 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels. Limiting warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. The IPCC report’s modeling suggests that 70-80% of the world’s electricity will need to come from renewable sources by 2050;

WHEREAS, Less than 1 percent of Virginia’s total electricity generation came from solar in 2017;

WHEREAS, The Commonwealth of Virginia is 17th in the country in solar capacity, with 635 MW. North Carolina, a similar state in size and geography, is 2nd in the country with 4,490 MW;

WHEREAS, The Commonwealth of Virginia is currently one of only nine states in the country without any utility-scale wind power;

WHEREAS, The Virginia Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018 (VGTSA) establishes that 5500 MW total of solar and wind capacity is in the public interest;

WHEREAS, The 2018 Virginia Energy Plan calls for 3000 MW of solar and onshore wind by 2022 and 2000 MW of offshore wind by 2028;

WHEREAS, Dominion Electric’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) calls for meeting the coming capacity gap of 5500 MW in its service area (which includes most of Virginia and some of North Carolina) by using a mix of renewables and a minimum of 8 natural gas plants;

Therefore be it: RESOLVED, On this, the 3rd day of January 2019, The Loudoun County Democratic Committee supports the passage of The Renewables First Act by the Virginia General Assembly;

RESOLVED, The Loudoun County Democratic Committee demands a justified and rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

LCDC Resolution To Virginia’s Congressional Delegation: A National Bank for Infrastructure and Industry

WHEREAS, the United States faces an acknowledged infrastructure crisis, estimated to be $4 trillion less than necessary to bring our roads, bridges, and other public structures to meet current standards.,1 and,

WHEREAS, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the State of Virginia a grade of C- in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card;

WHEREAS, Virginia received a D grade on the condition of its roads, with the gridlocked District/Virginia/Maryland metro area ranked second-worst in the nation;

WHEREAS, 935 bridges are rated structurally deficient, and the state received a D on wastewater treatment, with a projected deficit of $6.5 billion over the next two decades;

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia needs to expand its rail system to meet current and growing population and freight demands;

WHEREAS, meeting the needs for modernization of our Infrastructure is beyond the fiscal capacity of the Commonwealth and most states;

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth has the fiscal capacity for partial funding of infrastructure projects, as do other states and localities, we must have a reliable cost-sharing public partner for long-term stable funding for infrastructure modernization;<sup>2</sup>

WHEREAS, a National Bank for Infrastructure and Industry (The Bank) could partner with Virginia, other states, and their instrumentalities to provide shared responsibility for the necessary reliable funding; <sup>3</sup>

WHEREAS, The National Infrastructure Bank would be capitalized at $3-4 trillion, within current fiscal constraints. <sup>4</sup>

WHEREAS, a report by the Brookings Institute has concluded that “There is strong evidence that a period of increased infrastructure investment effort could provide large benefits to the American economy. It could provide a fiscal expansion in an economy where aggregate demand growth has been stubbornly slow for years

WHEREAS, public infrastructure investments enhance economic output and productivity, stimulating stable employment growth with higher real wages, and have larger returns per dollar than many alternative public investments; <sup>5</sup>

AND WHEREAS, this policy has been widely endorsed by national associations of public officials and institutions, <sup>6</sup>

NOW THERFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Loudoun County Democratic Committee hereby urges our elected Congressional delegation to introduce, support and enact legislation to create and authorize appropriations for The National Bank for Infrastructure and Industry.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be delivered to all members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation for their immediate consideration and action.

FOOTNOTES
<sup> 1</sup> The American Society of Civil Engineers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the North American Building Trades Unions all estimate the shortfall at approximately $4 trillion. This does not account for needed spending on new projects, including high-speed rail systems, water projects, a modernized power grid, and nationwide broadband.

<sup>2</sup> The Bank could provide Virginia’s share of funding for Metro, thus avoiding the Hobson’s Choice of funding its share of metro by diverting money away from other important regional transportation projects.

<sup> 4</sup> The Bank would be funded on the successful model of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton’s First National Bank of the United States using the debt incurred to finance the Revolutionary War as the source of capital. The same approach was the basis for capitalizing subsequent institutions, including the Lincoln Banking Acts and Franklin Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation. In other words, financing would be provided by monetizing approximately $4 trillion of the $17 trillion in existing Treasury notes to “useful projects.” Bondholders would be offered preferred stock shares in exchange, on a one-to-one basis, bearing interest 2 points higher than the bond rate in exchange for their holdings. Annual financing of the approximately $88 billion differential would be subject to Congressional appropriations. By way of comparison, this is approximately the $90 billion annual cost of building and operating the Navy’s 2017 proposed 355 ship fleet expansion. (See, Congressional Budget Office, “Costs of Building a 355-Ship Navy Fleet,” (April 2017).

<sup> 5</sup> Josh Bivens, “The potential macroeconomic benefits from increasing infrastructure investment,” Congressional Research Service (July 18, 2017) CRS estimates that the return of such investments may be as high as 30-40%. p.12.

<sup>6</sup> These include: Democratic Municipal Officials, the National Federation of Federal Employees, the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Association, Our Revolution Northern Virginia, the Loudoun County Progressives, and others. Sixteen state legislatures have filed resolutions in support.