The Mark UP

Energy Shaping Virginia Senate Race

In this, our third post in a series on down ballot elections with big energy implications, we’ll focus on the Virginia Senate race. Competing to represent Old Dominion are former Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat, and former Senator George Allen, a Republican.

It’s a battleground in both the so-called “War on Coal” and for control of the United States Senate. Accordingly, Big Coal and their polluter allies have been investing heavily in the candidate they believe will advance their Dirty Energy agenda: George Allen.

An example of an ad being run by Karl Rove’s group, Crossroads GPS

You know the stakes are high for Rove’s polluter friends because the group has already spent more than six million dollars opposing Tim Kaine. That’s on top of millions being spent by other pro-polluter groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the curiously named American Commitment (commitment to what, asthma?)

Polluters have been stuffing Allen’s campaign coffers for years. Our friends at the League of Conservation Voters note that as a Senator, Allen took over half a million dollars in campaign cash from the oil and gas industry and consistently voted against the environment and to protect tax breaks and loopholes that line Big Oil’s pockets.

What’s Kaine’s record? As Governor, he worked for land conservation, river cleanup, clean air, public transportation and energy efficiency. And his plans for the future? He’s adopted the environmentally questionable but politically expedient “all of the above” approach to energy policy, as you can see in this ad.

Yet, despite his professed support for coal and offshore drilling, Kaine’s not afraid to talk about the importance of addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution. He says we “need a commitment to transition to a lower-carbon energy portfolio for the good of the economy, the environment and global security.” In contrast, Allen doesn’t seem to think climate change is even a concern.

The fossil fuel industry hopes that their big investment will pay off in the form of a reliable vote for Dirty Energy in the Senate. They have millions to spend, but the planet can’t afford to have George Allen in Congress.