Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order #16 today, which establishes the Virginia Energy Council. The Virginia Energy Council will assist in the development and implementation of a cohesive, comprehensive, and aggressive energy strategy for Virginia and deliver recommendations for the Virginia Energy Plan, which will be submitted to the General Assembly on October 1, 2014. Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones will chair the Council.
Speaking about the executive order, Governor McAuliffe commented, “Virginia must develop an aggressive strategy to protect existing jobs in our energy industries while positioning the Commonwealth to be a leader in new energy technologies. An innovative energy strategy will enable us to attract the best businesses and entrepreneurs to Virginia, create more jobs in growing industries, and lead a 21st Century Virginia economy. As we move forward with this process, the Virginia Energy Council will be an important partner as we work toward meeting our energy goals.”
Full Text of the Executive Order is Below:
EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER SIXTEEN (2014)
ESTABLISHING THE VIRGINIA ENERGY COUNCIL
Importance of the Issue
The Commonwealth of Virginia’s energy industry is a source of great pride, prosperity, and potential. Historically, Virginia has ensured reliable and affordable energy, helping businesses and consumers thrive. The Commonwealth boasts tens of thousands of energy-related jobs, including miners, gas well crews, manufacturing workers, engineers, mechanics, computer programmers, accountants, and managers. Virginians can and should be proud of the energy industry, but a changing market and energy environment requires decisive action to position the Commonwealth to be a national leader in innovative energy generation and utilization. Virginia must continue to leverage its business-friendly climate, high-quality research and educational institutions, and varied energy resources to attract businesses and create jobs. This requires Virginia to develop and implement a cohesive, comprehensive, and aggressive strategy for energy policy.
The Commonwealth will update the Virginia Energy Plan (“Plan”) to be submitted to the General Assembly by October 1, 2014. The Plan will address the objectives of the Commonwealth Energy Policy set forth in the Code of Virginia.
These objectives include:
To achieve these objectives, it is critical that the Commonwealth engage the private sector, localities, and other interested stakeholders to develop significant and meaningful energy policies.
Establishment of the Council
The Governor shall create The Virginia Energy Council (“Council”), an advisory group comprised of members representing all areas of the Commonwealth’s energy industry. The Council shall work to formulate a comprehensive and innovative energy plan.
All members of the Council will be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure.
Responsibilities and Duties of the Council
The 20-25 person Council is charged with working to update the Virginia Energy Plan. Duties of the Virginia Energy Council include:
Council Staffing and Funding
Staff support for the Council shall be furnished by the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Secretary of Natural Resources, the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, and such other agencies and offices as designated by the Governor. Necessary funding to support the Council and its staff shall be $5000. All executive branch agencies shall cooperate fully with the Council and provide any assistance necessary, upon request of the Council or its staff.
The Council shall meet at the call of the Chairman.
Effective Date of the Executive Order
This Executive Order shall be effective upon signing and shall remain in force and effect from its signing unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.
Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, this 4th day of June, 2014.