GOP candidate running for governor presses McAuliffe on climate change


A Republican lawmaker in the 2017 Virginia governor’s race is calling for a legislative investigation into Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order to restrict carbon emissions from power plants.

State Sen. Frank Wagner is calling for a legislative committee hearing to investigate McAuliffe’s latest executive order, which would put more regulations on carbon emissions from electric power plants.

McAuliffe, who’s ineligible to run again because of term limits, ordered the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to draft a plan on the matter. This follows President Trump signing his executive order challenging the Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration act for climate change. The governor has now created his own state –based substitute.

Wagner is one of three major GOP candidates running for the open governor’s seat.

In the running is former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, and former Virginia co-chairman for Trump’s campaign, Corey Stewart. Stewart was later fired by the Trump campaign for protesting outside the RNC.

In the latest poll conducted by Christopher Newport University, Gillespie, the establishment candidate, leads the primary with 38 percent. Stewart is polling at 11 percent and Wagner trails at 10 percent.

“This is election-year posturing,” McAuliffe’s spokesman Brian Coy told the Richmond Times Dispatch about Wagner calling for the hearing. “The governor signed this to reduce hot air.”

Wagner argues this investigation is not a political stunt.

“What people perceive is their own damn business.” he told the Times Dispatch.

He plans to call his emergency hearing before Memorial Day, just less than a month before the gubernatorial primary. Wagner says his agenda for this meeting is to see what affects these regulations would have on small businesses in Virginia. 

Democrats have two candidates in their gubernatorial primary — Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former Congressman Tom Perriello, both are polling at 26 percent. 

According to Geoffrey Skelley, associate editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, this is the first time a Virginia governor’s race has had contested races for both parties. The primaries are June 13, and the next governor will be elected on Nov. 7.

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