Proposed regulation would pull Virginia out of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which was enacted by legislature, delivers hundreds of millions of dollars to the state, and has overwhelming public support
RICHMOND, VA: Today, the State Air Pollution Control Board, at Governor Glenn Youngkin’s behest, voted to remove Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is an overwhelmingly popular climate policy that produces hundreds of millions of dollars per year for flood resilience, affordable housing, and energy efficiency in the Commonwealth as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Air Board, stacked with Youngkin appointees and boasting numerous fossil fuel connections, voted to repeal RGGI despite that 95% of comments provided during a public comment period were in support of the policy.
Statement from Victoria Higgins, Virginia Director for Chesapeake Climate Action Network:
“Governor Youngkin has proven time and again that his allegiances are with the fossil fuel industry, not the people of Virginia. Participation in RGGI is a commonsense policy that reduces air pollution, keeps us on track to meet our climate goals, and provides necessary funding to address the flooding we see today and that we know will get worse in the coming years. Because of RGGI’s overwhelming public support, Youngkin failed to repeal this popular policy through the legislature. It is appalling that the Governor has now turned to using unelected members of a citizen board to enact his extremist agenda. This transparently undemocratic and illegitimate attempt at repeal reveals the lengths to which Youngkin will go to drag Virginia backwards on climate.”
The state legislature voted to join the Commonwealth to RGGI during the 2020 General Assembly. Removing the state from the program requires action by the legislature, which was affirmed by 61 state lawmakers in a letter to the Board in September. Pushing repeal through the Air Board is Youngkin’s third attempt to undo the policy, after failing in the legislature and through executive action.
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Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. Founded in 2002, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.chesapeakeclimate.org