Energy and Environment in the Old Dominion

George Allen and Tim Kaine (photo from politico)

George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D) are facing off in the Virginia Senate race.  On environment and energy issues, Allen is a clone of Mitt of Romney, Kaine tracks Obama’s energy policies but also emphasizes preservation of open space, including historic as well as natural sites.

Like all of the Republican Senate candidates I’ve examined, Allen is very enthusiastic about offshore drilling and fracking.  His website also has a few kind words to say about energy efficiency.  He includes a mention of nanotech as having” the potential to enhance energy efficiency across all branches of industry as well as to offer technological solutions to help economically leverage renewables and alternatives such as solar photovoltaics and batteries.” Also mentioned are “clean coal” and nuclear.

Allen advocates sweeping regulatory reform.  He proposes to “require a ‘jobs and family impact analysis’ of all new proposed regulations” before they go into effect, and on top of that to require Congressional approval for any regulation with an economic impact greater than $100 million. Finally, he calls for eliminating EPA jurisdiction over greenhouse gases.

In contrast to Allen, Tim Kaine’s website endorses environmental values:

I am an avid outdoorsman and will always work to protect our air, water and land resources. I will also resist ongoing efforts to weaken environmental regulations that are needed to protect public health. The natural treasures of Virginia and the rest of the nation have intrinsic and economic value that must be handled with care.

Allen’s website seems to communicate a genuine fondness for the Virginia landscape, as in this picture:

Allen rejects the “anti-science mentality of those who claim that we can be indifferent to human impact on the climate.” He agrees with Allen about the need for oil and gas in the near-term, but sees the long-term future as a “transition to a lower-carbon energy portfolio for the good of the economy, the environment and global security.”

This is the third post about swing-state Senatorial election.  In each case, the Senatorial candidates stick fairly close to the environmental and energy positions of their party’s presidential candidates. The variations are interesting, however.  For instance, Allen picks up on Romney’s proposals for regulatory reform, which Brown and Thompson leave off their websites entirely.  At the end of the day, however, there’s surprisingly little regional variation in candidate positions — perhaps a sign of the extent to which Senate and House races have become increasingly national in orientation. Or maybe it’s a sign that the national campaigns are increasingly attuned to the electorate in a few swing states.

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