For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022
Lee Francis | Deputy Director
Virginia League of Conservation Voters
(434) 989-3197 | firstname.lastname@example.org
RICHMOND – Today, the State Air Pollution Control Board, with a majority of pro-fossil fuel appointees stacked by the Youngkin Administration, voted to proceed with what many believe is an illegal repeal of Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – a successful program that’s cutting air pollution, accelerating our clean energy transition, and returning hundreds of millions of dollars to our state to reduce energy costs and combat flooding.
In response to this action, Michael Town, executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, issued the following statement:
“Today, Governor Youngkin’s vision for Virginia became abundantly clear: flooded streets, endangered communities, and more Virginians breathing dirtier air. When Youngkin’s rigged Air Board voted to move forward with his illegal push to single-handedly override Virginia law by taking Virginia out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, they also voted to eliminate one of our best tools to cut pollution, to take vital resources away from communities battling dangerous flooding, and to defund programs that help low-income Virginians cut energy costs.
At a time when we need to be doing everything we can to address climate change, which affects us all, this politically motivated repeal effort is not only misguided, it’s downright reckless. Youngkin has offered no plan to address climate change, no plan to address its current impacts on Virginia, and no plan to secure a clean energy future. Youngkin would be better-served using his time as Governor to act in the best interest of all Virginians, instead of what’s best for his 2024 Presidential campaign.”
RGGI is Helping Virginians:
Since January of 2021, RGGI has raised approximately $450 million to address flooding in communities across the state and to lower electric bills through investments in energy efficiency for low-income Virginians. Governor Youngkin is trying to take these resources away, with no plan to address the risk of flooding or help low-income households.
Established in 2009, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative reduces pollution from power plants, protecting public health, expanding clean energy, addressing climate change, driving economic growth, and lowering the cost of electricity in the process.
RGGI is Widely Popular:
Polling shows that Virginians support climate action by huge margins, including our participation in RGGI. In the first round of public comment, the overwhelming majority of comments supported staying in the program.
Youngkin Lacks the Authority to Pull Us Out of this Program:
Our participation in RGGI is mandated by laws passed by the General Assembly in 2020. Due to separation of powers outlined in our state constitution, Governor Youngkin lacks the authority to single-handedly reverse any law previously passed by the General Assembly, including our membership in RGGI. Only the legislature has that power, and they have so far rejected legislative attempts to pull us out of RGGI.
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.