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VA Senator To Propose Energy Efficiency Mandates

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By Mana Rabiee

The Virginia General Assembly is on winter break but state environmentalists are already preparing new energy efficiency legislation.

Democratic State Senator Donald McEachin is expected to announce on Wednesday a bill which would mandate an energy efficiency standard for the Commonwealth. The bill will require utility companies to implement energy efficiency programs and reduce energy consumption among customers by more than 12 percent by 2022. The state already has a similar energy goal but it's voluntary.

Chelsea Harnish is with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, part of a coalition of environmentalists working with McEachin in drafting the bill. She calls the measure a "jobs bill" because all those energy saving measures, like home weatherization, will result in 'green energy' jobs.

"We'll see more people getting into the business than we're already seeing right now and with that means more jobs and new people coming in and being put to work," says Harnish.

Harnish says the bill will create 8,000 new jobs.

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