How Green is Virginia's Governor?

Jul 11, 2019

How Green is Virginia’s governor?  That was the question as he celebrated the installation of solar panels on a state building in Charlottesville. 

Governor Ralph Northam and members of his administration snip a ribbon to celebrate a solar array at the Virginia Department of Forestry.
Credit Sandy Hausman/Radio IQ

Virginia’s Department of Forestry celebrated its new solar array -- rooftop panels that will provide 16% of the agency’s energy in Charlottesville. Ralph Northam was on hand and told reporters the Governor’s Mansion could be next.

“We have talked about that.  I don’t know if you’ve met my wife. We are very environmentally conscious, and I think it would be great to do that,” Northam said.

That prompted a question about 20,000 nesting terns in the path of the Hampton Roads Bridge and Tunnel expansion set to begin next spring.  So far the Northam administration has made no provision for them.

“You know we obviously want to protect our environment," the governor asserted. "At the same time we are in desperate need of really opening up that corridor, so hopefully minds can come together and  do something that’s environmentally safe and good for the economy and good for Hampton Roads.”

Experts at Virginia Tech studied the situation and suggested the state build a small island for the birds – a technique that’s been used in North Carolina. Doing so protected species that have seen dramatic declines in population as their habitat is taken over by humans.