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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10/25/22  10:08 am
Commenter: Dr. Rachel Levy, Hanover County

Preserve RGGI

I oppose Governor Youngkin's plan to remove Virginia from RGGI. The Governor's action is not lawful. RGGI is a vital program with multiple benefits, and it's effective!

RGGI was passed into law by the General Assembly in 2020. Therefore, it is up to the legislators in the General Assembly, if they so choose, to pass a law de-activating it. The Governor is part of the executive branch which enforces and implements the law. The General Assembly, the legislative branch makes laws, not the Governor.

Under RGGI, utilities pay Virginia for emissions they produce. These funds are subsequently allocated to local communities to address and mitigate against the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, which is increasingly common in many parts of the Commonwealth. The funds are also used to weatherize homes and to reduce energy bills of lower income citizens, and at the same time emissions. In just the first year, Virginia communities received over $228 million from RGGI. Our local communities cannot afford to address and mitigate flooding on their own, especially in rural areas, and Governor Youngkin has provided no plan to replace that funding.

RGGI has worked well. Over time, it has lowered greenhouse gas emissions. With RGGI in place, the Commonwealth of Virginia will be able to produce carbon-free power by 2050 as specified in the Virginia Clean Economy Act. Without it, we won't be able to achieve that. RGGI has also improved public health (to the tune of $5.7 for participating states!). Decreases in air pollution have reduced asthma attacks, premature births, and other pollution-induced conditions. RGGI has been good for the economy in other ways--it's created jobs for roofers, electricians, HVAC professionals, and clean energy workers.

We must slow the advance of climate change and address and mitigate against its impacts. RGGI helps us to do that. It's a popular and effective program, and it's beyond the Governor's lawful scope of power to end it.

CommentID: 196191