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  6:02 pm
Commenter: Steve Banashek

Virginia Needs to Stay in RGGI

Please stay in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  As a long-time Alexandria resident, I’ve seen first-hand the increase in flooding events on our waterfront.  And it’s not just from the increase in heavy rain events, flooding also occurs during clear weather high tides as it does in the Tidewater area.  These events will increase as the climate warms.

Enacted into law during the 2020 General Assembly session, the Commonwealth must participate in RGGI under the law’s mandate.  As is widely known, the states that have participated in RGGI before the Virginia law was enacted have a long history of emission reductions as acknowledged in a March 2022 DEQ analysis.  Before RGGI, Virginia’s emissions did not decline over the prior decade and without RGGI meeting the Virginia Clean Economy Act’s 2050 goal of carbon-free electricity generation will not be possible.

In addition to the climate benefits of emissions reduction, RGGI improves public health.  The decrease in air pollution means that residents of the Commonwealth experience fewer asthma attacks, premature births, and missed days of school and work.  Over the ten years of participation by RGGI states, benefits have been realized to the tune of almost $6 billion.

The funds that RGGI generates as a result of Virginia’s participation in RGGI provide safe, affordable and energy-efficient homes to low-income families as well as dedicated funding to localities to plan for and prevent recurrent flooding such as that occurring here in Alexandria.  These funding needs will only increase over time and the funds generated will help offset the close to $80 billion in flooding damages the state will incur if not addressed.

For these reasons and more, Virginia needs to stay in RGGI.

CommentID: 201118