Del. Hudson Announces Primary Challenge Against Sen. Deeds

Delegate Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville) announced her campaign for Senate District 11 on Monday, pitting her against Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Bath). That sets up a dynamic of a progressive challenger against a more moderate Democrat incumbent that is likely to typify the 2023 Virginia State Senate Democratic primaries, according to CNalysis Executive Director Chaz Nuttycombe.

“The Dems aren’t as united as they were back in the Trump era or even in 2021. So I think the left sees the opportunities they can make this year, especially with redistricting, because if not now, when,” Nuttycombe told The Virginia Star.

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Youngkin Administration Will Repeal RGGI Involvement by the End of 2023

Acting Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles said the Youngkin administration is planning to complete repeal of Virginia’s involvement in a greenhouse gas regulatory program by the end of 2023.

“The administration will put forth in the coming weeks a notice of intended regulatory action, or NOIRA, which will repeal the trading rule and end Virginia’s participation in RGGI [Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative]. This NOIRA will set the stage for a full administrative process act, or APA, regulatory action,” Voyles said at a Wednesday meeting of the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board.

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Youngkin’s Middle Road on Environment Frustrates Environmentalists and Hard-Line Republicans

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s environmental policy is frustrating both environmentalists and hard-line Republicans. Since he took office, Youngkin has touted a middle road on energy policy although some Republicans think solar and wind are harmful for Virginia. On the other hand, Youngkin has reversed a plan to phase out single-use plastics for state agencies and tried unsuccessfully to withdraw from a regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program.

“We were obviously very disappointed in the direction that the administration is taking regarding offshore wind, but we’re not the only ones,” SUVGOP Senior Advisor Terry Johnson, a former Bush appointee, told The Virginia Star.

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Youngkin Puts Wheeler in Charge Office of Regulatory Management with Goal of 25 Percent Regulation Cuts

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed Executive Order 19 and created a new Office of Regulatory Management (ORM) on Thursday, with the goal of reducing Virginia’s regulation. He tapped his advisor Andrew Wheeler to lead the office.

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Budget Compromise Not Expected in Time for Veto Session

Glenn Youngkin

The General Assembly will be back in town Wednesday to vote on Governor Glenn Youngkin’s amendments and vetoes to legislation passed earlier this year, but are unlikely to have a budget compromise ready for approval by then.

“Informally, the chairs are going back and forth a little bit, and we keep getting briefed, but we have not really gotten to a point where we can do a final negotiation, if you will. There’s still significant differences there in what we we’re working on,” conferee Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) told The Virginia Star on Thursday. “We’ve got some tentative agreements, I guess you’d say.

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Youngkins and Kindergarteners Plant Trees for Earth Day

POCAHONTAS STATE PARK, Virginia — Governor Glenn Youngkin and First Lady of Virginia Suzanne Youngkin planted two Eastern Redbud trees with the help of Patrick Copeland Elementary School kindergarteners in a Friday Earth Day celebration. Glenn Youngkin told the students the trees would help filter water, impacting the James River.

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Youngkin Vetoes 25 Bills, Including Nine of Sen. Ebbin’s Ten 2022 Bills That Passed

Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed 26 bills from the 2022 General Assembly session, including nine of the ten bills sponsored by Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) who helped lead efforts to block some Youngkin appointees. Youngkin also amended over 100 bills, including a bill introducing staggered elections at the Loudoun County School Board; Youngkin’s amendment would force all the members of the board to run for re-election this year.

“My goal as Governor is to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family and the bills I vetoed today reaffirm that commitment,” Youngkin said in a Monday evening announcement of the 25 newest vetoes. “I look forward to working together with members of the General Assembly in the future to ensure that we’re working for all Virginians. Together we can make the Commonwealth a place where businesses can prosper, students can thrive, and communities are safer.”

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Youngkin Appoints New Parole Board Members

Governor Glenn Youngkin has picked new parole board members after Senate Democrats blocked his previous appointees.

“After the Democrats attempted to cover up a scandal of their own creation and keep individuals from receiving parole, it’s time to reform the Parole Board again and put the scandals behind us,” Youngkin said in a Wednesday press release.

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Former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Gets Role as Senior Advisor After Being Blocked from Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources

Former Trump-era EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will serve as a senior advisor to Governor Glenn Youngkin after the Virginia Senate blocked Wheeler’s confirmation as Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources. Deputy Secretary Travis Voyles is acting secretary.

Wheeler was a controversial pick among Democrats both for his link to former President Donald Trump and for the policy direction the EPA took during Wheeler’s tenure. E and E News reported Monday that Wheeler said Democrats had planned to block a nominee even before he was announced.

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Virginia General Assembly at Crossover: Republican House, Democratic Senate About to Clash over Budget, Conflicting Policy

Halfway through the 2022 Virginia General Assembly session, the House of Delegates has passed a wave of Republican reforms focusing on taxes, law enforcement, and education, while much of the Senate’s work has involved Democrats killing Republican bills in committee. The legislature has just passed crossover, when each chamber sends its finalized bills to the other chamber. Now, the chambers will clash over conflicting policy as they evaluate each other’s bills and work on the budget.

“[W]e ran on a platform that was informed by what voters told us they wanted the General Assembly to accomplish on their behalf in 2022. They wanted lower taxes and safer communities. They wanted parents involved in their child’s education, not boxed out,” a Tuesday House GOP release said.

“As the House completes its work on our legislative priorities, I’m pleased to report that we’ve accomplished what voters sent us here to do,” Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) said in the release.

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With Lengthy Friday Session, House Republicans Retaliate After Senate Blocks Youngkin’s Sec. Natural Resources Confirmation

House Republicans took over six hours on Friday to pass several bills confirming low-level appointments made by former Governor Ralph Northam, a reaction to the Senate’s vote earlier this week to block Governor Glenn Youngkin’s appointment of former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler as Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources.

Republican leaders in the House and the Senate have been hinting at potential trouble over potential blocked nominees for weeks, but on Thursday, Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) told The AP that Youngkin seemed ready to move on from Wheeler’s confirmation.

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Senate Democrats Block Republican Effort to Revive Youngkin’s Nomination of Former Trump EPA Head to Serve as Sec. of Natural and Historic Resources

Virginia Senate Democrats defeated an effort to revive confirmation of former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler as Governor Glenn Youngkin’s secretary of natural and historic resources. In committee last week, Democrats voted to remove Wheeler from SJ 84, the bill to confirm Youngkin’s cabinet selections. On Tuesday, Republicans opposed a vote to confirm the committee amendment.

Senator Richard Stuart (R-King George) said that Wheeler had been impressive in committee interviews, and had a record of helping Virginia.

“But I get the politics. I understand that some of these environmental groups out there don’t like him because of who he worked for. And that’s just a real shame, because we have an opportunity here to confirm somebody who has the real credentials and I’ve not heard one member in this body object to his credentials or his qualifications,” he said.

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Senate Committee Blocks Confirmation of Trump EPA Chief to Serve as Youngkin’s Secretary of Natural Resources; Republicans Planning Consequences

RICHMOND, Virginia – The Senate Privileges and Elections Committee blocked Governor Glenn Youngkin’s nominee for Secretary of Natural Resources, former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. On Tuesday afternoon, Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) moved to remove Wheeler’s name from a Senate resolution to confirm the nominees.

“We received a letter from 150 former EPA employees, who suggested that Mr. Wheeler had undermined the work of the EPA and worked against the environmental interests in this country. We think that members of the governor’s cabinet ought to be able to unite us as Virginians, and certainly the secretary of natural resources ought to be one that we have confidence in, in terms of working for the preservation and conservation of our natural resources,” Deeds said.

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Virginia General Assembly Off to Slow Start as Committees Evaluate Legislation, Youngkin Cabinet Picks

RICHMOND, Virginia – Most of the action in the General Assembly is occurring in committees as legislators decide which bills will survive to be voted on by the full Senate and House of Delegates. House Republicans have advanced some key bills on local gun control repeals, elections reform, and school misdemeanor reporting. Senate Democrats have advanced some key bills, but much of their work has been in killing Republican-introduced legislation.

“What has not surprised me is there has been a conspicuous partisan divide with Democratic pushback against Governor Youngkin’s agenda, particularly in the area of tax reform and education reform, and masks,” Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City) told The Virginia Star.

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Youngkin’s Sec. Natural Resources Designee Andrew Wheeler Faces Tough House, Mild Senate Committee Interviews

Two General Assembly committees grilled former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Youngkin’s pick for Secretary of Natural Resources. Senate Democrats may use their 21 to 19 majority to block his confirmation, a rare move in Virginia politics, but potential swing vote Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) may be open minded. On Wednesday, House Democrats hammered Wheeler in the House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee.

Before the meeting, House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) said she hoped Youngkin would rescind the nomination.

“Mr. Wheeler’s tenure as Donald Trump’s EPA Administrator set back our national climate policy by a generation. We cannot afford more of the same in Virginia,” Filler-Corn said in a press release.

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Youngkin Picks Trump EPA Chief for Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources

Former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will be Secretary of Natural Resources, and former Federal Reserve System Chief Information Officer Margaret “Lyn” McDemid will be Secretary of Administration, Youngkin’s campaign announced Wednesday. Youngkin also announced that Michael Rolband will be Director of Environmental Quality.

“Virginia needs a diverse energy portfolio in place to fuel our economic growth, continued preservation of our natural resources, and a comprehensive plan to tackle rising sea levels. Andrew and Michael share my vision in finding new ways to innovate and use our natural resources to provide Virginia with a stable, dependable, and growing power supply that will meet Virginia’s power demands without passing the costs on to the consumer,” said Governor-elect Youngkin.

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New Virginia Gov. Youngkin Announces More Transition Officials

Glenn Youngkin announced a 113-member list of legislators, law enforcement, business owners, and Republican Party of Virginia officials that will be part of his transition “landing teams” — separate from the transition steering committee he announced earlier in November. The teams will coordinate with Governor Ralph Northam’s cabinet.

“In order to change the trajectory of our great Commonwealth, our transition team is utilizing the vast experience of business owners, law enforcement officials, veterans, healthcare providers, industry experts, and—most importantly—parents to determine how government can begin to serve Virginians better and start delivering on our Day One promises of better schools, safer streets, a lower cost of living, and more jobs,” Youngkin said in a Wednesday press release.

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From Nixon to Trump: EPA Chief Touts Environmental Gains, Hits ‘Single Issue Advocacy’

Under President Donald Trump’s leadership, the government has reduced air pollution by 7%, declared Superfund sites safe again at a record pace, and directed tens of billions of dollars to ensuring clean water, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Thursday in a speech marking the agency’s 50th anniversary.

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EPA’s Andrew Wheeler Calls Out Senate Dems for ‘Politicizing’ Agency’s COVID Response

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler believes Democrats are politicizing the agency’s response to coronavirus and using flawed research to argue regulation rollbacks are disproportionately hurting black people amid a pandemic.

Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts used a politically-motivated research and a study based on 15-year-old data from Europe to suggest that the agency’s regulatory work is increasing the harm of coronavirus on minority groups, Wheeler said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Trump’s EPA Finalizes Plan to Repeal And Replace Obama-Era Coal Plant Regulations

by  Michael Bastasch   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its plan to repeal and replace an Obama-era regulation that critics said would cost thousands of coal industry jobs. EPA will repeal the Clean Power Plan, which the U.S. Supreme Court stayed and it never went into effect. EPA’s replacement…

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Trump’s New EPA Chief Says He Won’t Make the Same Mistakes Obama Did in Flint

by Chris White   Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler criticized the Obama administration’s handling of Flint’s lead water problems and promised Wednesday he is going to avoid making the same mistakes. “Part of the problem with Flint was there was a breakdown in once they got the data, once…

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Cutting Overreach, Regulations and Saving Taxpayers Billions: Andrew Wheeler’s EPA Picks Up Where Scott Pruitt Left Off

by Mike Howell   The Senate will soon get a chance to put its stamp of approval on the great work of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Donald Trump. Andrew Wheeler, the current acting administrator, will soon be up for a vote to be confirmed as the EPA’s 15th administrator.…

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EPA’s Andrew Wheeler Suggests the Obama Administration Put its Thumb on the Scale of the Latest US Climate Report

by Michael Bastasch   Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler suggested the Obama administration told the authors of the latest National Climate Assessment (NCA) to emphasize “worst-case” global warming predictions. “And I don’t know this for a fact — I wouldn’t be surprised if the Obama administration told…

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