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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10/24/22  10:40 am
Commenter: Audrey Clement

Pull Out From RGGI Legally Questionable

While others have pointed out the many environmental benefits of participation in RGGI, I am concerned about the lawfulness of pulling out by executive action. Supporters of RGGI contend that only the General Assembly, which authorized participation, can vote to pull out. 

“RGGI has already proven it reduces pollution at the same time that it brings in desperately needed resources,” Nate Benforado, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, said in a statement.

“But instead of supporting this popular program to reduce carbon pollution, the Youngkin administration has consistently sought to take unlawful action to end Virginia’s participation in RGGI – despite the fact that neither the governor nor regulators have the authority to do so,” Benforado added. “The lawmakers who do have that authority in the General Assembly know RGGI is already delivering real resources to Virginians on the frontlines of climate change.”

Opponents of RGGI argue that while Virginia is authorized to participate in RGGI, it doesn't have to. Yet if the Governor repeals RGGI either through executive order or regulatory action of a state agency such as the Air Pollution Control Board, he will have in effect vetoed the state's participation in the pact--an option which is not spelled out under the law that authorized RGGI.

I urge the state to seek court review of RGGI's authorizing statute before not after the state withdraws from the pact.

CommentID: 194778