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  10:25 am
Commenter: Katherine Waynick

RGGI is good for VA residents

Knowing that Alexandria, VA has a long history with flooding, my husband and I referenced an unusual resource during our home search, FEMA flood maps. When we were able to purchase, we felt confident that this was one concern we wouldn’t have to worry about. Six years and two major floods later, we now know that is not the case. Our pocket of the city is not impacted by tidal flooding, or the combined sewer system of Old Town. We are not in a flood plane and yet we are in an area commonly impacted by flash flooding. We have come to recognize that this is largely due to two factors. One is aging infrastructure, installed in a time when design standards were much lower than they are today, relative to rain rates. The second is the weather itself. As we experience longer periods of warmer weather, the atmosphere is able to physically hold more water, resulting in more intense storms with the power to drop large volumes of water at high intensity rates. Together, these factors have created a perfect storm devastating not only the neighbors on our street, but to hundreds of families across the city.

When I started advocating for change, I was happy to learn that these were known issues, only to learn that they had not been marked for public project because of funding concerns. We simply didn’t bring in enough funding through our stormwater utility fee (SWU) to address both water quality (Chesapeake Bay mandates) and water quantity (large volumes of stormwater) issues. In the past two years I am happy to say that City leaders have taken great strides to address that by finding every way possible to increase that funding. The most obvious and impactful has been to increase our SWU fee but funding for projects has also been allocated from federal funds, as well as through RGGI grants.

Across all funding sources, the RGGI program is one that has impressed me the most. It is a call to action across the Commonwealth to become more resilient, and it does so by impacting real change in terms of emissions. Municipalities are encouraged to learn from one another in terms of best practices and, most impressive to me, it is not just a resource for coastal cities or municipalities along rivers. It is a fund that stands to supplement funding in every corner of Virginia, including our mountain regions so devastated by recent flooding.

I recognize there are concerns with the program, most notably that it further increases costs to consumers. I also recognize that other participant states have found meaningful and workable solutions to this and other concerns. I would like to see our leaders in Richmond do the same. Address the core concerns in a way that still allows us to participate in this valuable program. Projects in my neighborhood have been undertaken and had a positive impact in storms as a result of this program. I think it is only right and equitable that we continue to allow that opportunity for our neighbors across the Commonwealth.

CommentID: 198186