By William Callahan
Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s Democratic nominee for governor, launched his environmental protection policy platform Thursday during a campaign stop in Norfolk, pledging to direct the Department of Environmental Quality to work with local communities and businesses in protecting the Chesapeake Bay, its wildlife and its tributaries.
In an effort to protect Virginia’s coastal communities, McAuliffe would also convene a bipartisan Climate Change Adaptation Commission of policy makers, scientists, conservationists and industry reps to put together a plan to combat rising sea levels.
The platform also opposes hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in the George Washington National Forest and would continue the moratorium on uranium mining.
The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who unveiled his plan at a local Norfolk seafood wholesaler, says his goal is to protect and preserve at least 400,000 acres of open natural space in the Commonwealth over four years.
"I am committed to working with stakeholders from all sides to find innovative was to protect our great natural resources and make sure our water industries remain drivers of economic growth in Virginia for years to come," McAuliffe said in a statement.
McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are locked in a tight and increasingly negative race for governor that has attracted national attention for policy proposals along with social agendas and their growing arsenal of television attack ads, which this week questioned each of the candidate's ongoing federal investigations.
Cuccinelli has not unveiled a specific environmental protection proposal, but his platform on energy and job growth promises to maintain “responsible and vigilant stewardship of our environment.”