Senate committee leaves millions of dollars on the table, jeopardizes our climate

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018

Lee Francis | Communications Manager
Virginia League of Conservation Voters
(804) 225-1902 |

RICHMOND – Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources voted 8-7 to kill Senate Bill 696, which would have allowed Virginia to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state cap-and-trade program that would have steered as much as $200 million back to the commonwealth.

The bill directed revenues from the sale of carbon allowances in the RGGI marketplace toward flooding resiliency, energy efficiency and clean energy projects, agricultural best management practices, and economic development efforts in southwest Virginia.

“Today, lawmakers unfortunately voted along party lines not to take action to protect our coastline, grow our clean energy sector, secure much-needed funding to help farmers clean the Bay, and give the coalfields the boost they desperately need,” said Michael Town, executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. “Climate change isn’t going away by itself, which is why we need strong action today, not tomorrow. Fortunately, Governor Northam has made acting on climate a priority and we will work with his administration to make progress on cutting carbon and advancing clean energy for the good of public health and our economy, even when the legislature refuses to.”

SB 696’s bipartisan House companion, House Bill 1273, has been referred to a House Commerce and Labor subcommittee but has not yet been scheduled for a vote.

About us:
The Virginia League of Conservation Voters serves as the political voice of the state’s conservation community, working to make sure Virginia’s elected officials recognize that our natural heritage is an environmental and economic treasure for all. Virginia LCV works with conservation leaders across Virginia and strives for a conservation majority in state government. We secure good public policies on the state level and hold public officials accountable for their positions on environmental issues. For more information, visit