The first big primary battle
Earlier today, Terry McAuliffe trumpeted his brand new plan to increase business, which was in large part based on building industry through the production of environmentally friendly energy production. I speculated that the McAuliffe camp was hoping to get a “two-fer” out of the plan by talking business development which would be helpful during the general election, while at the same time reaching out to environmentalists which are a core members of the Democratic party and will play an important role in the party’s primary.
One of his opponent in the primary, Brian Moran was quick to jump on the idea that McAuliffe was all about being green. His aide quickly responded to the McAuliffe plan with a statement where he criticized his position on the development of a new coal plant in Surry County and drilling offshore. Moran’s director of communications Jesse Ferguson said, among other things, that:
“You can’t say you’re for a clean environment and continue to support new coal mega-plants and offshore drilling.”
Within a matter of moments, the McAuliffe camp responded with a statement of their own, which aimed to “Respond to the Moran Attack”. In the statement McAuliffe’s senior strategist Mo Elleithee, clarified his boss’ stance on the Surry coal plant and drilling offshore. (Essentially his is unhappy with portions of the Surry proposal and he is only in favor of drilling for natural gas, not oil, and only 50 miles off the coast.)
More on what this means, plus the full statements from both sides after the jump…
What is interesting about this, is it represents the first battle over details in the Democratic primary. While they have sent veiled pot-shots back and forth and have worked reporters behind the scenes to a certain degree, this was the first time they openly challenged one another. Elleithee calling the statement from Ferguson an ‘attack’ is the first sign of a true dissension between the campaigns and it could be just the beginning of what is to come.
The statements from both campaigns are below..
Statement on McAuliffe Energy Plan
~ McAuliffe Plan Falls Short on Key Democratic Issues ~
ALEXANDRIA – Virginians for Brian Moran Communications Director Jesse Ferguson released the following statement after former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe announced his “Business Plan for Virginia” chapter on Energy and the Environment.
“For six weeks, Brian Moran has been rolling out bold, progressive policy solutions, and we are glad to see Mr. McAuliffe finally join the debate. Brian Moran has been promoting an agenda that creates new green jobs, protects our environment, provides health care for every child and keeps families in their homes. Democratic leaders across the Commonwealth are supporting this bold agenda because it is backed up by the 20 years Brian Moran has been fighting for people, traveling the state, and working side-by-side with Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.
Unfortunately, Mr. McAuliffe has announced an energy plan which dodges the toughest energy issues facing Virginia. You can develop slick-looking, well-packaged policy plans, but if they don’t fight for the things that matter to people or address the tough issues, then they don’t move Virginia forward. You can’t say you’re for a clean environment and continue to support new coal mega-plants and offshore drilling.”
*New Surry Coal Mega-Plant Support. McAuliffe continues to support a new coal-fired mega-plant in Surry County, siding against Virginia’s environment and the health of its residents. The Surry plant is one of the greatest threats to Virginia’s environment and the Chesapeake Bay. Within 50 miles of Richmond and Hampton Roads, it will dump toxic chemicals into the Chesapeake Bay. Brian Moran opposes the proposed plant. (Hersay with Cathy Lewis, WHRO, 2/19/2009)
*Offshore Drilling Support. McAuliffe continues to support drilling off Virginia’s coast. Mr. McAuliffe seems to think we can solve 21st century energy challenges with more 19th century fossil fuels. Moran has opposed offshore drilling.
*After months of supporting a 12% renewable energy production requirement, Mr. McAuliffe has joined Brian Moran and Barack Obama in calling for a full 25% of our energy to come from renewable sources by 2025. We are glad to see McAuliffe following our lead. (Gubernatorial hopeful touts renewable energy sources, “Danville Register and Bee,” 1/9/2009)
MCAULIFFE CAMPAIGN RESPONSE TO MORAN ATTACK
McAuliffe campaign senior strategist Mo Elleithee today released the following statement in response to the Moran campaign’s attack on Terry McAuliffe’s Business Plan for Virginia.
“Brian Moran’s attack on Terry’s comprehensive plan to create new energy jobs unfortunately mischaracterized Terry’s position on several issues. We’re happy to clarify.
“Terry has been clear throughout this campaign that with his plan, Virginia would become a leader in creating renewable energy jobs – enough so that we would not need any new coal plants. He has, like Brian Moran, said that we need cleaner coal in Virginia, and has expressed concern that the proposed new plant in Surry does not meet that standard. While the next governor will not have a say in this new plant, what he can do is make sure that we have new energy jobs, and training for those workers who will benefit from the transition a green economy.
“Terry also has been clear that he opposes any offshore drilling for oil. He supports Virginia’s bipartisan approach, supported by Governor Kaine and Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly, that allows for limited exploration of natural gas only, fifty miles off of Virginia’s coast. Brian Moran was right when he voted for that bill.
“The fact is, Terry has been outspoken throughout his campaign in his support for an approach that creates new jobs through renewable energy. He’s proud that all of the Democratic candidates are talking about these issues. Bob McDonnell has a very different approach on these issues, and if Terry is fortunate to win the nomination, he looks forward to having a vigorous debate with him in the general election.”
• McAuliffe Campaign: A New Coal Plant Should Be As Clean As Possible And ‘The One Being Proposed For Surry County Does Not Meet That Standard.’ According to a McAuliffe campaign statement, McAuliffe believes the new Surry County coal plant does not meet the new clean coal standard. “Terry believes that our first imperative should be to reduce the demand for energy. Governor Kaine has made some proposals to do that this year, and Terry supports and would build on those as governor. If we determine that there is a legitimate need for increased power production, we should look first to meet that demand through renewable energy power production. Rather than focusing on old technologies, we should focus on new, clean technologies. If a new coal plant is built, it should be as clean as possible — and from my understanding, the one being proposed for Surry County does not meet that standard. If we were to focus on building renewable energy production facilities, instead of new coal plants, we could create much-needed jobs in places like Surry County and provide energy that is clean and environmentally sound.” [McAuliffe Campaign Statement, Article XI: To Preserve and Protect, 1/22/09
• Moran: ‘Coal Is Certainly An Asset To Southwest Virginia…We Need To Make Sure We’re Pursuing The Research To Make Sure It’s A Viable Source Of Energy.’ Speaking about energy at Barter Café Moran said, “Coal is certainly an asset to Southwest Virginia and the economy in the region relies upon it. We need to make sure we’re pursuing the research to make sure it’s a viable source of energy.” [Washington County News, 3/3/09
• Moran: ‘We Can Manufacture The Research Necessary For Carbon Sequestration So We Can Develop Cleaner Coal.’ Brian Moran campaigned in Tazwell, Virginia to discuss his run for Governor. Moran says he “We’ve been trying to bring jobs to Southwest Virginia and bring a transportation system that works, the coalfields expressway. And economic opportunity that works, with jobs.” Moran went on to discuss other job opportunities that he would like to institute, “Developing a clean energy system in Virginia, this can create an explosion of new jobs. We can manufacture the wind turbines. We can create the research necessary for carbon sequestration so we can develop cleaner coal.” [WVVA TV, 2/27/09
• McAuliffe Supports Offshore Exploring For “Natural Gas Only.” The Virginian-Pilot reported that McAuliffe “is taking a position to similar to [Gov.] Kaine’s,” in that they “both back exploratory activities for natural gas only.” The Pilot reported that McAuliffe’s campaign said, “exploring and then drilling for oil is premature.” The Virginian-Pilot, 1/14/09]
• McAuliffe’s Position On Offshore Drilling Same As Kaine’s. The Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote that McAuliffe “is staking out a position that recalls that of current Gov. Timothy M. Kaine” in that he “favors exploration offshore for natural gas but not oil.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11/14/08]
• Moran Voted For Final Passage Of Bill That Proposed Offshore Natural Gas Exploration. In April 2006, Moran voted for the final passage of SB 262. Among other measures, the bill encouraged the exploration of offshore natural gas. It urged the President and Congress to lift the moratoria on natural gas exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf. [SB 262