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Environmental Entrepeneurs See Opportunities in Virginia

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PHOTO: Members of the clean-energy advocacy group Environmental Entrepreneurs, like Virginian Dave Belote, say they are hopeful about the economic opportunities to come with climate action. Photo credit: Cassidy & Associates.
PHOTO: Members of the clean-energy advocacy group Environmental Entrepreneurs, like Virginian Dave Belote, say they are hopeful about the economic opportunities to come with climate action. Photo credit: Cassidy & Associates.
March 31, 2014

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The latest federal jobs report shows Virginia continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and environmental entrepreneurs say clean energy jobs are fueling some of the growth. Virginia Beach-based energy security expert Dave Belote said business leaders across the state see opportunities as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares tougher standards to limit the carbon pollution contributing to climate change.

"We believe that strong environmental policy is good economic policy, because it does create jobs while doing good things for our health," Belote said.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, clean energy jobs have increased 8 percent a year in Virginia, even during the recession. Belote noted that some of the most promising opportunities involve retrofitting homes to be more energy-efficient, solar-power installation and wind-power development along the Virginia coastline.

Contrary to the assertions of critics, he said, reducing coal power plant pollution will be a job-creator in rural southwest Virginia, as entrepreneurs unveil new technologies to deal with the problem.

"Scrubbers...carbon capture and storage...you'd be unleashing the innovation of American capitalism on the carbon problem," he said.

Virginia also has a "Green Jobs Tax Credit" that allows companies that manufacture or operate renewable energy systems to earn a $500 income tax credit for every green job they create.

A new Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) report about clean-energy jobs is available at www.e2.org.

Alison Burns, Public News Service - VA