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Democratic VP pick Kaine brings history of support for clean coal, offshore drilling

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Democratic VP pick Kaine brings history of support for clean coal, offshore drilling

DemocraticVice Presidential pick Tim Kaine, while mostly ideologically aligned withHillary Clinton on energy issues, brings with him a history of engagement onpower, oil and gas, and renewable energy.

Clintonannounced Kaine wouldbe her running mate on July 22 ahead of the Democratic National Convention setfor July 25-28 in Philadelphia. Names also floated for the spot were Sen.Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; and Labor SecretaryTom Perez.

TheDemocratic National Convention's drafting committee in June adopted to the party'splatform pledging to run the U.S. entirely on clean energy by mid-century andfor an 80% cut in the country's greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by2050. Hillary for America campaign chair John Podesta said in June that Clintonplans to get to workboosting solar energy deployment and further cutting U.S. carbon emissions on "dayone" of her presidency. Podesta also said the U.S. under Clinton'sleadership would "more than fulfill" the commitment made during theParis climate talks at the end of 2015.

Kaine,the former Virginia governor turned senator, has been active on climate andenergy issues throughout his political career, particularly as a champion ofclean coal technology. As governor, he supportedthe permitting of the 620-MW VirginiaCity Hybrid power plant, which burns coal, waste coal and biomassand is owned by DominionResources Inc. subsidiary VirginiaElectric and Power Co. d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power. The plant wasdescribed by Dominion as one of the cleanest coal-fired generators, usingcirculating fluidized bed clean coal technology, at the time of its in 2012. Earlier in July,Kaine announced his support for a bill that would expand key tax incentives forthe development and use of carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies.

Asupporter of the current administration's Clean Power Plan, Kaine wrote to U.S.EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in 2013 to urge her to open up proposedperformance standards for new coal-fired power plants to better support cleancoal technologies such as the Virginia City facility. He suggested that stateslike Virginia that reduced carbon emissions before a federal mandate to do soshould be given more credit toward compliance and requested a reliabilitysafety valve.

Uponthe release of the final version of the rule, Kaine expressed his confidence inVirginia's ability to meet the prescribed 37% reduction in carbon emissions by2030, noting the state's reduction of carbon emissions by that amount between2005 and 2012 absent the rule.

"I'venever accepted the idea that we must choose between growing the economy andprotecting the environment," Kaine said in his Clean Power Plan statement."In 1962, President Kennedy asked us to go to the moon in seven years. Wedid it. In 2015, President Obama has asked us to generate a third less airpollution in fifteen years. We can do this."

Kainealso pushed back against the Department of the Interior's decision in March toleave Virginia out of a five-year program for Outer Continental Shelf oil andgas development. In 2013, Kaine introduced legislation in an effort to lift thefederal ban on exploration and drilling for natural gas and oil off Virginia'scoast. The bill would have opened up the state's coast for offshore wind aswell.

Hewas among more than 25 senators who in March 2014 held an all-night session onCapitol Hill to discuss climate change. He also co-hosted a bipartisanconference to explorestrategies to mitigate sea level rise in Virginia's Hampton Roads region and asgovernor, ordered Virginia regulators to investigate how to reduce greenhouse gases.Kaine signed into law a renewable energy portfolio standard in Virginia andcontroversially "re-regulated"electric utilities, ending electricity market competition in the state.

Kainewas among a group of governors in 2009 who wrote to Congress the exploration of renewableenergy opportunities. The letter expressed concerns about proposed transmissionpolicies that the governors felt could jeopardize wind development in theirstates. The governors asked Congress to consider offshore wind opportunitiesand facilitate planning with regional transmission operators to integraterenewables.