Governor Races in Virginia, N.J. Through Energy Policy Lens

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By Gerald B. Silverman and Amena H. Saiyid

The result of Virginia’s race for governor on Tuesday could eventually impact President Donald Trump’s efforts to promote domestic energy production. The nation’s other gubernatorial election, in New Jersey, could be seen in terms of what states are doing to address climate change.

Virginia voters head to the polls Nov. 7 to decide whether they back Republican Ed Gillespie, who favors construction of two major natural gas pipelines and supports oil drilling off Virginia’s coastline, or Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who opposes offshore drilling, but has not taken a position on the pipelines.

That same day, New Jersey voters will decide whether to back Democrat Phil Murphy, who wants the state to take action on greenhouse gases that cause climate change, or Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who hasn’t made energy or environment a major part of her campaign.

Murphy has called for transitioning the state to 100 percent carbon-free electricity and supports increasing the amount of electricity that utilities are required to purchase from wind and solar sources. He’s called for the development of 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind generation by 2030.

“Within his first 100 days in office, Phil will start the process of creating a new State Energy Master Plan that will set New Jersey on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” according to a statement on his campaign website.

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