Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday that he supports new Environmental Protection Agency rules on carbon emissions, taking a clear stance for the first time on an issue that has become a key flashpoint in the Virginia governor’s race.
The EPA unveiled guidelines two weeks ago that would limit the amount of carbon that future coal- and gas-fired plants can emit into the atmosphere, likely making it difficult for any new coal-powered plants to be built. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, the Republican nominee for governor, has said the rules would be devastating to Virginia’s coal industry, and has accused McAuliffe (D) of being an accomplice to the Obama administration’s alleged “war on coal.”
McAuliffe has repeatedly declined to take a position on the subject, first saying he was waiting for the guidelines to be released and then, once they were, stating that he needed time to review them.
Asked about the issue again Tuesday during a tour of the Tyson’s Corner technology firm MicroTech, McAuliffe initially avoided a clear position again, saying: “I think we have to look at when the permits [for new coal plants] come in and look at how it applies and what the regulations are.”