Sierra Club Volunteers Mobilize for McAuliffe in Virginia

In just a few days, Virginians will go the polls to choose their next governor. But, for months, Sierra Club members and volunteers in the Commonwealth have been working hard to stop More »

Sierra Club Endorses Mark Herring for Attorney General

Mark Herring has served in Virginia’s Senate since 2006, and his record shows consistent protection of our air, water, and open spaces, as well as support for investment in clean energy. In More »

Sierra Club Endorses Ralph Northam for Lt. Governor

Ralph grew up on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and values the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure. Ralph knows the Chesapeake is vital to Virginia’s economy, and protecting it from environmental harm is More »

Sierra Club Endorses Terry McAuliffe for Governor

For Governor, the choice could not be clearer for Virginians who care about clean air, water and climate action. For years, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has pushed the extreme agenda of the More »

Sierra Club Endorsed Candidates for the House of Delegates

Electing environmental state lawmakers is vital to the protection and restoration of our natural world for generations to come. When Virginia’s elected officials return to Richmond this January, the General Assembly is More »


Climate Denier Ken Cuccinelli, Denied

After being the first statewide candidate in the nation who held his opponent accountable for denying climate science, Terry McAuliffe was elected the 72nd Governor of Virginia. A coalition of environmental organizations backed McAuliffe, including the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, which invested more than $500,000 to defeat climate denier Ken Cuccinelli.

This victory was made possible by a wide range of people whose efforts cannot be forgotten. Across the state, thousands of Virginians dedicated their time and opened their pocketbooks to show their support for Terry. The Sierra Club would like to thank all who were involved in the campaign, and it would be a long list to name all 870 people who volunteered with the Chapter, but we can definitely thank a few:

  • Michael Brune, SC Executive Director
  • Melissa Williams, SC National Political Director and the National staff
  • Virginia Chapter Director Glen Besa and the Chapter staff

Over 117 Sierra Club Members across the state logged anywhere from 2 to over 100 hours each! No other environmental organization can call on such amazing volunteer help.

Volunteers who logged 20 hours or more include: Judy Hinch, Donna Phillips, Ralph Grove, Linda Muller, Paula Chow, Wren Olivier, Jessica Gephart, Jessice Bennett, Jane Stephens, Barbara Slinker, Dave Levy, Stephanie Clifford, Douglas Brown, Daniel Adkins, Bob Pearson, Linda Chernisky, Linda Birchfiel, Katherine Bennett, Daniel Carawan, David Bernard, Judith Goodman, Joe Cook, Peyton Coyner, Joy Jacobson, James & Joyce Dillard, Patricia Selinger, Ellis James, and Tyla Matteson.

Sierra Club endorsed three state-wide candidates: McAuliffe, Northam, and Herring. In House of Delegates races, Sierra Club endorsed 40 candidates. In the local elections, Sierra Club Groups endorsed four candidates.

The results:

Statewide:  McAuliffe and Northam won by comfortable margins, and Mark Herring still holds a 164 vote edge over opponent Mark Obenshain, out of over 2.2 million votes cast.  A recount is predicted.

House of Delegates: Of our Sierra Club endorsed candidates, all incumbents won reelection.  One challenger won – Monty Mason in Williamsburg, and one open seat candidate won – Marcus Simon in Northern Virginia.

The 20 Delegate Winners: Randy MInchew, Mark Keam, Ken Plum, David Belova, Kaye Kory, Vivian Watts, Eileen Filler-Corn, Mark Sickles, Scott Surovell, Rob Krupicka, Charniele Herring, Patrick Hope, Bob Brink, Alfonso Lopez, Marcus Somon, David Toscano, Betsy Carr, Jennifer McClellan, Joe Morrissey and Monty Mason.

The Sierra Club would like to thank all of our endorsed candidates for their hard work and dedication to the Old Dominion. We encourage them to run in future elections and continue their efforts to protect the environment.

Local Winners Include:

Jay Fisette – Arlington County Board

Marybeth Connolly and Dan Sze – Falls Church Board of Supervisors.

Thanks again for everyone’s help! This victory in Virginia is round one. Over the next twelve months and beyond, the Sierra Club’s 2.1 million members and supporters nationwide will build on this momentum and fight to elect clean energy champions and hold climate deniers accountable across the country. Those running for office now must choose whether they stand with solutions or whether they stand in the way. The climate crisis won’t wait, and neither will we.

– Tyla Matteson, Chapter Political Chair

Sierra Club Volunteers Mobilize for McAuliffe in Virginia


In just a few days, Virginians will go the polls to choose their next governor. But, for months, Sierra Club members and volunteers in the Commonwealth have been working hard to stop Republican candidate and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s extreme agenda in its tracks and ensure that Democrat Terry McAuliffe is victorious when the polls close on Election Day, Tuesday, November 5th.

The choice between the candidates could not be more clear. Cuccinelli has spent his time in office abusing his power and pushing an extreme agenda that is out of line with the rest of Virginia. His office used taxpayer dollars to help an out-of-state gas company bilk Virginia landowners — all while that same company pumped more than $140,000 into Cuccinelli’s campaign. He attacked a UVA professor conducting climate science research, wasting more than half a million in taxpayer dollars. And he stood with big polluters and extremists in launching attack after attack against clean air, clean water, and climate action.

McAuliffe, on the other hand, is a champion for clean energy solutions like offshore wind. He stands in support of commonsense safeguards to protect Virginia families and businesses from climate-disrupting carbon pollution. He knows embracing scientific research means creating jobs in Virginia. And he’s fighting to hold Cuccinelli accountable, becoming the first statewide candidate in the country to make his opponent’s climate denial a top priority.

That’s why Sierra Club volunteers and supporters have fanned out across the state, knocking on doors, running phone banks, and getting pledges from voters to stand against Cuccinelli’s extremism and stand with McAuliffe’s solutions. It’s also why the Sierra Club has invested more than $500,000 in voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts in Virginia, launching the website, running $150,000 in digital ads, and completing a direct mail campaign to 135,000 micro-targeted voters. The race in Virginia matters — its an opportunity to draw a line in the sand against climate deniers and show that when clean energy and climate are on the ballot, we won’t let the polluters or their allies win.

Lt. Gov. Candidate Ralph Northam (right) calls out Too Extreme Ken

Just last weekend, Sierra Club organizers knocked on hundreds of doors and made over 700 phone calls. All told, the Virginia Chapter has made nearly 7,000 phone calls in support of McAuliffe and recruited almost 300 volunteers.

In the meantime, the Sierra Club Student Coalition has deployed five full-time organizers to college campuses across Virginia, from the University of Richmond and William & Mary along with a focus on historically black colleges and universities like Hampton and Virginia State — and they’ve collected more than 3,000 pledges to vote from students while recruiting more than 400 volunteers to go to work to stop Cuccinelli. You can see some of them on the campaign’s photo petition here: check it out.

Virginia State University students with their pledge cards

Students filling out pledge cards at Hampton University

And we’re not done. The final days of the campaign are upon us — and Sierra Club organizers, staff, and volunteers are again ready to hit the streets this weekend to knock on doors, make phone calls, and get out the vote for McAuliffe. Its a race that’s too important to sit out – nothing less than a healthy future for Virginia families is on the line.

Paid for by the Virginia Chapter Sierra Club PAC.  Not authorized by a candidate.


Por Javier Sierra 

Cuando se trata de la campaña del candidato republicano Ken Cuccinelli para la gobernación de Virginia, más nos vale a los hispanos enterarnos bien de su radical historial político.

Su extremista agenda se opone diametralmente a nuestra comunidad en una larga lista de temas, incluyendo la protección de la salud de nuestras familias.

Según una encuesta de NCLR y el Sierra Club, el 92% de los votantes hispanos cree que el cambio climático ya está ocurriendo (77%) o va a ocurrir (15%). Esta opinión prácticamente unánime encuentra un muro de oposición en Cuccinelli, uno de los negacionistas del cambio climático más radicales del país.

En 2010, como procurador general de Virginia —su actual cargo— se querelló contra la Agencia Federal de Protección Medioambiental (EPA) para obligarla a que rechazara su conclusión de que el cambio climático constituye una amenaza contra la humanidad. Su cruzada particular a costa del erario público acabó estrellándose en la Corte Federal de Apelaciones, la cual dictaminó que la opinión de la EPA era “indiscutiblemente correcta”.

Ese mismo año, la frivolidad querellante de Cuccinelli batió nuevos récords al demandar a un climatólogo de la Universidad de Virginia para que entregara sus documentos de investigación del cambio climático, alegando que había defraudado al contribuyente con su labor. Su intento también se estrelló, esta vez ante la Corte Suprema de Virginia, pero a un costo al contribuyente de $500,000.

El celo negacionista de Cuccinelli sólo se puede comparar con la pasión con la que defiende a la industria de combustibles fósiles y otros contaminadores. Considere que según el estudio de NCLR/Sierra Club, para el 83% de los votantes hispanos, las plantas de carbón y las refinerías petroleras “pertenecen al pasado”. Esto es irrelevante para Cuccinelli.

Hace tres años, hacendados de Virginia se querellaron en masa contra las compañías carboneras que durante años les negaron compensación justa por la extracción de gas metano de sus propiedades. La oficina de Cuccinelli arrojó su apoyo moral y técnico a las compañías carboneras por medio de emails llenos de consejos legales que más tarde trató de ocultar. Una de ellas, Consol Energy, antes de la querella había donado $3,500 a la campaña de Cuccinelli. Tras apoyar a Consol, ésta le donó $140,000 más.

Cuccinelli está convencido de que las regulaciones que a todos nos protegen contra la contaminación del aire y el agua son un complot para “acabar con el capitalismo”. En 2011, intentó derrotar ante la Corte Suprema de Virginia una decisión que impuso una multa de $9 millones al Condado de Campbell a raíz de la contaminación de fuentes subterráneas de agua. Ese mismo año, Cuccinelli testificó ante el Congreso Federal contra los estándares de la EPA que limitan las emisiones de mercurio y otros contaminantes del aire.

Quizá Cuccinelli debería consultar el sondeo de NCLR/Sierra Club, según el cual, el 43% de nosotros vive peligrosamente cerca de un lugar tóxico, como una planta de carbón, una refinería o un basural. El mismo sondeo develó que el 47% de los encuestados tiene a un familiar enfermo de asma y el 41% de cáncer.

No es de extrañar que el 72% de los votantes hispanos apoye las regulaciones medioambientales, el 87% prefiera trabajar en la industria de energía limpia y el 86% favorezca las inversiones en energía limpia y no en la sucia energía fósil.

Lo que está en juego en esta elección es la salud de su familia. Nuestra comunidad no se puede permitir el lujo de que un extremista como Ken Cuccinelli se apodere de la gobernación de Virginia el 5 de noviembre.

Javier Sierra es columnista del Sierra Club. Sígale en Twitter @javier_SC

Pagado por el Capítulo de Virginia del Sierra Club. No autorizado por candidato alguno.

Newest issue of the Old Dominion Sierran is out!

See which candidates we’ve endorsed in your area how you can help with their campaigns in our Special Election Edition newsletter:

Old Dominion Sierran 2013

Sierra Club Endorses Mark Herring for Attorney General

Mark Herring Website

Mark Herring has served in Virginia’s Senate since 2006, and his record shows consistent protection of our air, water, and open spaces, as well as support for investment in clean energy. In December of 2012, Senator Herring was one of the first Virginia leaders to take a strong public stand opposing efforts to end Virginia’s ban on uranium mining. In 2013, Mark introduced budget language that would have prohibited any state funding from being used to promulgate regulations designed to circumvent the ban. Mark has also been a consistent advocate for clean and efficient energy, introducing bills to strengthen Renewable Portfolio Standard goals and reduce energy consumption.

Mark is running to take the politics out of the Attorney General’s office, put the law first and be an Attorney General who serves all Virginians. In sharp contrast to the current administration, where an activist A.G. has abused the power of the office for political gain, Mark will be guided by the law and by science, not political ideology. In the face of extremism, Mark believes it’s important to stand firm for Virginia’s values. He will continue to oppose lifting Virginia’s ban on uranium mining and work to enforce common sense laws that protect our air, water and open space.

Sierra Club urges you to vote for Mark Herring for Attorney General on November 5.

Click to volunteer!

Sierra Club Endorses Ralph Northam for Lt. Governor

FINAL IMAGE Chesapeake Bay Ralph Northam

Ralph grew up on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and values the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure. Ralph knows the Chesapeake is vital to Virginia’s economy, and protecting it from environmental harm is a value that Ralph has stood up for as a state Senator since 2007. In the Virginia Senate, he supported rebuilding blue crab populations, banning phosphorus from most lawn fertilizers sold in Virginia, and banning non-native oysters from the Bay.

Ralph Northam takes the climate crisis seriously. As Lt. Governor, he will stand up to Cuccinelli and other climate deniers who refuse to acknowledge the effect of climate change on coastal communities from Alexandria to Hampton Roads. Ralph firmly believes that the new energy economy has unlimited potential to create well-paying jobs for Virginians and provide a sustainable source of energy for the Commonwealth. As Lieutenant Governor, Ralph will continue to support efforts to promote alternative energy solutions, including wind and solar.

With an even split between Democrats and Republicans in the Virginia Senate, the Lieutenant Governor will be tasked with casting tie-breaking votes on legislation. Ralph Northam has a record in the Virginia Senate that uniquely qualifies him to effectively navigate the legislative process and protect our values.

The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club urges you to vote for Ralph Northam for Lt. Governor on November 5. 

Click to volunteer!

Sierra Club Endorses Terry McAuliffe for Governor

Virginia Farm Stock Photo

For Governor, the choice could not be clearer for Virginians who care about clean air, water and climate action. For years, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has pushed the extreme agenda of the big polluters who fund his campaign, attacking pollution safeguards, public transportation, and climate science. He even led a taxpayer-funded witch-hunt against renowned climate scientist Michael Mann at UVA. On the other hand, Terry McAuliffe has campaigned across Virginia with Mann, making climate a top issue and holding Cuccinelli accountable. Committed to protecting our planet and our wild legacy, McAuliffe is a clean energy champion who supports the expansion of offshore wind and green technology.

The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club urges you to cast your vote for Terry on November 5. 

Click the link to volunteer this year!


Sierra Club Endorsed Candidates for the House of Delegates


Electing environmental state lawmakers is vital to the protection and restoration of our natural world for generations to come. When Virginia’s elected officials return to Richmond this January, the General Assembly is expected to vote on bills that will impact protections of our water and air, our state-wide ban on hazardous uranium mining and the viability of Virginia’s clean, renewable energy businesses. With all of that at stake, we can’t afford to lose in November. The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club has voted to endorse the following candidates in House of Delegates races this year.

CLICK HERE to learn how the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club makes the decision to endorse.

We urge Sierra Club members to support the candidacy of the following individuals by voting on Election Day, volunteering with the campaign(s), and/ or donating to support their victory in November.

For more details on how you can help, see the Special Election Edition of our newsletter CLICK HERE.

The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club is proud to stand with the following endorsed candidates:

Michael Abraham (D-7) –  Blacksburg, Christiansburg

Randy Minchew (R-10)– Loudoun County

James Harder (D-12) – Blacksburg

Atif Qarni  (D-13) – Manassas Park City, part of Prince William county

Freeda Cathcart (D-17) – Roanoke

Susan Hippen (D-21) – Virginia Beach and part of Chesapeake

Jeremy McPike (D-31) – Fauquier & Prince William Counties

Elizabeth Miller (D-32)– Loudoun County

Mary Daniel (D-33)– Counties of Loudoun, Frederick, and Clarke

Kathleen Murphy (D-34) – Fairfax & Loudoun Counties

Mark Keam (D-35) – Fairfax County, including Vienna

Ken Plum (D-36) – Reston

David Bulova (D-37) – City of Fairfax & part of Fairfax County

Kaye Kory (D-38) – Part of Fairfax County, Mason District & Providence District

Vivian Watts (D-39) – Part of North Springfield

Jerry Foltz (D-40)– Part of Fairfax County & Prince William County

Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) – Burke & part of Mantua

Ed Deitsch (D-42) – Fairfax County

Mark Sickles (D-43) – Part of Newington, Kingstowne, Rose Hill & Franconia

Scott Surovell (D-44) – Part of Fort Belvoir, Mt. Vernon & Fort Hunt

Rob Krupicka (D-45) – Alexandria & part of Crystal City

Charniele Herring (D-46) – Part of Linconia, Bailey’s Crossroads & Alexandria

Patrick Hope (D-47) – Part of Arlington, Seven Corners & East Falls Church

Bob Brink (D-48) – Part of Arlington, McLean

Alfonso Lopez (D-49) – Part of Arlington, Falls Church & Seven Corners

Richard Cabellos (D-50) – Manassas, Prince William County

Reed Heddleston (D-51) – Woodbridge; Park of Prince William County

Marcus Simon (D-53) – Falls Church, part of Fairfax County

Toni Radler (D-55) –Hanover, Caroline & Spotsylvania Counties

David Toscano (D-57) – Charlottesville & Albemarle

William Quarles (D-65) – Counties of Chesterfield, Goochland, Powhatan, Fluvanna

Betsy Carr (D-69) – Part of City of Richmond & Chesterfield County

Jennifer McClellan (D-71) – City of Richmond and part of Highland Springs

Joe Morrissey (D-74) –Charles City and Parts of the City of Richmond, Mechanicsville and Henrico County

Bill Fleming (D-82) – Virginia Beach

Brent McKenzie (D-84) – Virginia Beach

Bill Dale (D-85) – Virginia Beach

Jennifer Boysko (D-86) – Fairfax & Loudoun Counties

John Bell (D-87) – Loudoun and Prince William Counties

Monty Mason (D-93) – Williamsburg, Newport News, James City & York Counties

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s campaign. 

Climate Scientist Michael Mann Fights Back Against Cuccinelli’s Extremism

It’s no secret that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli abused his taxpayer-funded office to engage in a reckless witch-hunt against climate science, attacking then-UVa professor Michael Mann and embarrassing the commonwealth and our education system with his extremism. But, now that Cuccinelli is seeking higher office, Dr. Mann is fighting back harder than ever before.

In 2010, Cuccinelli earned widespread condemnation for wasting taxpayer resources by singling out scientific research conducted by Mann and two colleagues that showed that temperatures rose sharply in recent years. The finding was criticized by those who refuse to support any sort of climate action, similar to those oil and coal companies that have been dumping tens of thousands of dollars in Cuccinelli’s campaign coffers.

In the midst of an economic recession, Cuccinelli thought it worthwhile to use the Attorney General’s office and taxpayer resources to demand Mann’s emails, notes, drafts, and other research from UVA. It was an investigation the science journal Nature described as ”an ideologically motivated inquisition that harasses and intimidates climate scientists,” and was derided by everyone from the American Civil Liberties Union to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The Virginia Supreme Court agreed that the witch-hunt was just that, and ruled that Cuccinelli had no legal authority to demand these records.

Cuccinelli has a distressing history of extreme climate denial that stands out from the beliefs of a vast majority of not just the scientific community, but the American people. And, unfortunately, his attack on Mann is par for the course.

The latest example occurred just a few months ago, when a federal judge recently said she was “shocked” by recent revelations that Cuccinelli’s office again abused its resources by helping out-of-state gas and coal companies in a lawsuit filed by Virginia landowners — all after those companies dumped more than $100,000 into his campaign.

It’s clear that Cuccinelli is putting the special interests that fund his campaigns before the Virginians he is supposed to represent — and that’s why Mann has chosen to fight for a better candidate: Terry McAuliffe.

Cuccinelli’s reckless attack on Mann is the centerpiece of an advertisement for Democratic gubernatorial candidate and businessman Terry McAuliffe. And, in a recent interview with MSNBC host Chris Hayes, Mann talks of why he is speaking out:

“As a scientist, I try and be nonpartisan. I try and talk about facts, because the facts alone speak volumes about climate change… But unfortunately… if you’re a climate scientist, you’re going to be attacked by special interests who want to discredit you, who want to kill the messenger in an effort to try and discredit the concern over climate change. So whether you like it or not, you will be attacked, and I chose to fight back… to make sure that it was clear to my fellow scientists that we shouldn’t lie back and allow special interest and those advocating for them to discredit us. The stakes are too great.”

“Virginians have a very stark choice before them. On the one hand, you have Terry McAuliffe, who embraces science and technology, and recognizes that that technological innovation is going to help Virginia compete in the world economy in the 21st century. On the other hand you have Ken Cuccinelli, somebody who views science as something to attack if it doesn’t comport with his ideological views or the views of the special interests that fund his campaigns.”

WATCH the full interview here

New McAuliffe Ad Attacks Cuccinelli’s Energy Record


Terry McAuliffe and his campaign are turning up the heat on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in a new ad that holds Cuccinelli accountable for his record of putting out-of-state dirty fuel companies before Virginia taxpayers. McAuliffe’s new ad features first-hand testimony from Shirley Keene, one of the landowners fighting against Consol Energy – a big coal and gas company that has given Cuccinelli more than $110,000 in campaign contributions.

As Consol and its subsidiaries have exploited Southwest Virginia, local landowners have been left behind, and filed suit against Consol as a result. But instead of helping those taxpayers who pay his salary, Cuccinelli’s office helped defend the company that funded his campaign. The people of Virginia deserve better than that – and more of them than ever will know about this outrageous behavior thanks to McAuliffe’s new ad. Click here to see the ad for yourself.

Paid for by the Virginia Sierra Club PAC. Material related to the Virginia Gubernatorial election authorized by Terry McAuliffe, candidate for Governor. All other material not authorized by any other candidate.
Paid for by the Virginia Sierra Club Political Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.