RGGI is an important stepping stone for our state to provide funds to those affected by energy burden and severe flooding while also providing an incentive to act on climate and reduce Virginia's carbon emissions.
The regional greenhouse gas initiative is more than a carbon capping program. RGGI allows us to take money from polluters and put money back in the hands of impacted communities. This initiative is a genuine opportunity to support our neighbors all over Virginia who are already experiencing the negative impacts of climate change.
Although Virginia fully began participating in RGGI in only 2021, the program has already resulted in more than $378 million to the Commonwealth. In just one fiscal year, RGGI funds have also lowered energy bills for thousands of low-wealth households. It has also funded the construction of more than 2,300 highly efficient affordable housing units. On top of those whopping efforts, the program has also awawrded forty-nine grants totaling over $30 million to combat flooding, with more on the way, through the Community Flood Preparedness Fund. Once again, all possible because Virginia participates in RGGI.
RGGI funds help to give meaningful change that positively impacts the everyday lives of many VA residents. Take a moment to iimagine the relief thousands of families have felt from having $200 extra to spend on living necessities instead of electric bills or receiving funds to help protect a community you lived in all of your life against flooding.
If Virginia pulls out of RGGI, we would be eliminating an opportunity to grant resources and support, leaving many of Virginia’s most vulnerable communities, historically under-resourced and overlooked, behind yet again. To push VA out of RGGI would be blatantly ignoring what Virginia residents so clearly wish to keep.