Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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Department of Environmental Quality
Board
Air Pollution Control Board
chapter
Regulation for Emissions Trading [9 VAC 5 ‑ 140]
Action Reduce and Cap Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuel Fired Electric Power Generating Facilities (Rev. C17)
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 3/6/2019
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2/27/19  3:01 pm
Commenter: Samantha Ahdoot, MD, VCCA Chair

Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action Supports Virginia’s Revised Plan to Reduce and Cap Carbon
 

On behalf of over 300 doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and students across
our state, Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action supports the revised proposal to reduce
and cap carbon dioxide emissions in Virginia.

Rising carbon dioxide concentrations and resulting climate change pose significant risks
to human health from extreme weather events, heat illness, air pollution related asthma,
allergies, food and water contamination and infectious diseases. These effects are felt
disproportionately in vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly and the
disadvantaged.

The health of Virginians is being harmed by climate change today and effects are
expected to become more apparent as the climate continues to warm. Research done
by the Science Museum of Virginia shows that healthcare visits for heat illness in
Virginia increase dramatically when the temperature rises above 95 degrees. According
NOAA Regional Climate Centers data, Richmond has five more days above 95 degrees
today than in the 1970’s, placing more Virginians at risk of heat illness. Virginia
Department of Health statistics document that between May and September of 2018,
2,723 Virginians were treated in an Emergency Room or Urgent Care for heat illness.

Warming temperatures are creating more favorable conditions for some infectious
disease causing pathogens and their vectors, including mosquitos and ticks. There has
also been a shift in plant blooming time, affecting air quality, allergies and asthma
attacks. Allergy Partners Richmond documents that the peak tree pollen count in
Richmond now arrives one week earlier and is 50% higher than in the 1980’s.

Clinicians throughout Virginia support reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the
Commonwealth to avert further climate warming that threatens Virginians health and
safety. The revised proposal reduces the initial 2020 cap from 33-34 million tons per
year to 28 million tons. This significant reduction will protect Virginians through reduced
heat-trapping emissions and warming. In addition, it will further reduce other noxious air
pollutants. Reductions in air pollution in the nine Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
(RGGI) participating states have resulted in major public health benefits and between $3
billion and $8 billion in health cost savings. A five year study of public health benefits
among states that participate in RGGI found that reduced air pollution resulted in the
avoidance of hundreds of heart attacks and premature deaths and thousands of asthma
exacerbations.  

Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action applauds Governor Northam and the Department of
Environmental Quality for moving the Commonwealth towards a cleaner and healthier
future for its citizens with this revised proposal.