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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10/19/22  11:46 am
Commenter: Katherine Smith

Oppose the attempt to remove Virginia from RGGI

I'm writing to oppose Governor Youngkin's attempt to remove Virginia from the RGGI. As a native Virginian and advocate for conservation and climate action, I desperately wish to see Virginia maintain its participation in this vital climate program. The data is clear: RGGI is effective at reducing emissions and his administration knows this as they admitted it in a recent report. Human-caused climate change is the greatest threat to humanity that we are facing in this modern age and is not something we can simply ignore and do nothing about if we wish to protect this planet for generations to come. Without the RGGI, Virginia's emissions will not decline and we will not be able to meet the carbon-free power goal by 2050 as it was set forth in the Virginia Clean Economy Act. The governor's intended action is unlawful. The 2020 law mandates that Virginia participate in RGGI. 

RGGI is beneficial for Virginians for several reasons which include improvement of public health problems caused by air pollution including asthma attacks, premature births, and less days of missed school and work. States that participate in RGGI have shown $5.7 billion in public health benefits. The RGGI also provides dedicated funding for localities to plan for and prevent flooding. In light of recent severe flooding events, it is unfathomable that the governor would want to take that away from Virginians who are suffering from the flooding effects as a result of climate change. Flooding damages could cost the state $79.1 billion if they are left unchecked. 

Instead of removing Virginia from the RGGI, I request that this administration focus on fixing the utility code, which is the real issue this administration is wrongly blaming on RGGI. Our electric bills are high because monopoly companies providing electricity like Dominion and Appalachian Power have been allowed to rewrite the utility code in their favor and over-investing in fossil fuel power plants. If this administration really cares about residents of Virginia and the cost of utilities, they will abandon this unlawful attempt and support monopoly utility rate reforms.

Thank you for your time.

CommentID: 190790