Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Air Pollution Control Board
Regulation for Emissions Trading [9 VAC 5 ‑ 140]
Action Repeal CO 2 Budget Trading Program as required by Executive Order 9 (Revision A22)
Comment Period Ended on 10/26/2022
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10/26/22  5:33 pm
Commenter: Megan Root, City of Roanoke

RGGI is making a positive impact in Roanoke and it is critical Virginia stays in the initiative

I work for the City of Roanoke in the Office of Sustainability and strive to promote sustainable development in our City. As we move forward in our renewable energy production, it is also critical that we reduce CO2 emissions. This, and many other reasons, is why it is extremely important that Virginia stay in RGGI. Since the program started, states in RGGI have reduced their emissions by 50%—twice as fast as the nation as a whole—and raised over $4 billion to invest into local communities like ours.

The proceeds from RGGI provide essential funding for flood resiliency and energy efficiency programs, improving the health and safety of residents across the state, and are making a big impact right here in Roanoke.

Just last year, some of these funds were awarded as a grant to the City of Roanoke to create a Resiliency Plan, which some of my colleagues are hard at work creating right now. This grant came through the Community Flood Preparedness Fund, which is where around half of the funds from RGGI are placed, and as of last year, this fund has provided over $30 million to local communities all across Virginia. As droughts and floods continue to increase due to climate change, this funding will be critical in protecting Roanoke and our state against the harmful impacts to come.

The other half of the proceeds from RGGI go to low-income energy efficiency programs, which in this area goes to groups such as Total Action for Progress, or TAP, for their weatherization programs. Weatherized homes help families consume less energy and save money on energy bills. This is especially important because low-income families spend a significantly higher percentage of their income on energy bills compared to other households, mostly because affordable housing is not weatherized properly. Home weatherization can help residents save an average of 25% on utility bills, which helps to even the playing field on energy costs for low-income families, and also reduces emissions from energy use.

Therefore, through Virginia’s participation in RGGI, our City is receiving essential funding to both weatherize homes and make us more resilient to the negative effects of climate change, and we can’t afford to have these programs disappear—especially as extreme weather events are wreaking havoc all across the country. It will also help us achieve our City's goals of a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, which will keep us within a safe limit of warming and protect our planet from severe and irreversible damage. 

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