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Virginia's Congressional Delegation Goes on Record with Climate Change Vote

Rog Cogswell / Creative Commons

The politics of climate change are dividing members of Virginia's Congressional delegation.

We’ll always have Paris. That’s what Democrats in Congress would like to say about the Paris Agreement, an international pact from the Obama years that set goals for countries across the world to reduce pollution.

Earlier this month, Democratic Congressman Donald McEachin voted for a bill to prevent President Trump from withdrawing from the agreement.

“Taking us out of the Paris Agreement doesn’t do anything for our international standing," he explains. "It doesn’t do anything for the next time we try to pull together a coalition of countries to do the right thing.”

That bill passed the House, but it was a party-line vote among members of the Virginia delegation.

Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman voted against the bill, although he says he disagrees with those who call climate change a hoax.

“But you also have some people, I think, that have taken this to a level of hyperbole where they treat it almost as a religion or something to maybe utilize as a cudgel that things are going to end, ‘Oh my goodness it’s the end of the world,’" says Riggleman. "That is ridiculous. I think we need to look at this in a very common-sense way.”

Senate Republicans say the bill is going nowhere. But Democrats will be able to use the issue on the campaign trail, and now they’ve got every Republican member of the Virginia congressional delegation on the record.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.