For Immediate Release:
Friday, March 31, 2023
Lee Francis | Deputy Director
Virginia League of Conservation Voters
(434) 989-3197 | firstname.lastname@example.org
RICHMOND – Today, at the conclusion of the 60-day public comment period, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters submitted a petition to the public record with 2,085 signatures opposing Governor Youngkin’s misguided and illegal efforts to take Virginia out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative through a regulatory repeal effort.
Virginia LCV’s petition joins a public record that overwhelmingly demonstrates Virginians’ support of this successful program, which to-date has brought nearly $590 million of revenue to the Commonwealth to help localities protect their communities from flooding and to lower energy costs for low-income families – all while cutting harmful power plant pollution.
In response to today’s petition submission, Michael Town, executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, issued the following statement:
“Governor Youngkin’s ongoing efforts to take us backwards on climate action are not just wrong and misguided – they’re blatantly out of touch with the two-thirds of Virginians who soundly support staying the course on cutting power plant pollution and addressing the climate crisis. Fortunately, Virginians are speaking out – the public record soundly demonstrates Virginians’ opposition to Youngkin’s climate rollbacks, and for good reason. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is working for Virginia, bringing vital, dedicated resources to our state to protect communities from floodwaters and lower energy costs for those who need it most. In working to take Virginia out of this program, Youngkin is turning his back on our state’s most climate-impacted communities and putting politics above what’s right for our Commonwealth.”
Background: In 2020, the General Assembly voted to join RGGI. Since 2021 – when our membership first took effect – this program has returned nearly $590 million of revenue to our state to fund flooding resilience efforts and low-income energy efficiency programs with more coming in the door every quarter – all while cutting harmful power plant pollution and driving our transition to a clean energy future
Pulling Virginia out of this program would eliminate these dedicated funding streams and hamstring efforts to help localities plan and adapt to worsening climate change – leaving money on the table and robbing Virginia of the clear, long-term benefits of this proven program.
States that were early members of RGGI back in 2009 have seen nearly $6 billion of public health benefits and upwards of $3 billion of direct revenue. At the same time, they’ve seen drastic reductions in air pollution, lower electricity costs, and economic growth that has outpaced the rest of the nation.
In addition to the clear benefits of staying in this program, it’s clear that Governor Youngkin lacks the authority to take our state out of RGGI. The General Assembly voted to join RGGI by statute and only a vote by both chambers of our legislature can lawfully take Virginia back out of this program. Legislative efforts to do so have so far been unsuccessful.
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 www.valcv.org.