RGGI is already helping thousands of low-wealth families reduce energy bills and climate impacts. It also helps localities across the state to deal with increasingly devastating floods. RGGI in Virginia has generated $228
million that is already being used to create more energy efficient affordable housing units, help low-income families reduce energy bills, and enhance community flood prevention and protection efforts. These investments save money in the long-term, and protect lives and property.
Flooding is the most costly and common natural disaster in Virginia, and there is a huge need to invest in helping localities prevent damage from this growing threat.
Flood damages in Virginia’s coastal region, for example, will increase from $400 million to $5.1 billion a year over the next 60 years unless we act now.
Virginia’s funds also help inland communities deal with repeated flooding. Southwestern Virginia, for example, has been hit hard by recurrent flooding in recent years, including devastating flooding in Buchanan County this summer that destroyed 20 homes and took a life. Buchanan received a grant to develop a resilience plan that will identify specific projects to help prevent damage from flooding. This type of work, while critical to a community’s long-term viability, is especially hard to fund through grants at the federal level.
In Virginia, hundreds of thousands of households face crippling energy bills.
164,000 Virginia households living below the poverty level pay about 31% of their
income on energy costs, and another 179,000 pay about 17% of their income--
far exceeding the 6% threshold considered to be non-burdensome. Despite the real help that weatherization can provide, Virginia has long backlogs
of eligible households whose weatherization upgrades cannot be completed until
certain repairs have been made—problems like leaky roofs or faulty wiring.
These “deferred” clients, who are already struggling to make ends meet, often
cannot pay for the repairs meaning the efficiency upgrades will never happen. A survey of all 17 weatherization providers in Virginia found that almost 1 in 5
homes had to be deferred. In some areas, the problem is even more acute. On
the Eastern Shore for example, three-quarters of eligible homes have repair
issues preventing these much-needed weatherization upgrades.
Virginia’s RGGI funds are being used to fill this gap—allowing these repairs to be
made so that federal funds can then be used to complete the energy saving
weatherization measures. This is the only source of funding available for this use.
Virginia should remain in RGGI