|Action||Repeal CO 2 Budget Trading Program as required by Executive Order 9 (Revision A22)|
|Comment Period||Ended on 3/31/2023|
We must STAY IN RGGI, and should REJECT any efforts to withdraw from RGGI:
Participation in RGGI is not only required by Virginia law – it also lowers harmful emissions, benefits Virginia’s economy and the health and safety of its residents, and helps mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.
• PARTICIPATION IN RGGI IS THE LAW: A 2020 state law mandates RGGI participation. The Governor took an oath to uphold the law, and his Administration cannot pick and choose which laws to obey or disobey.
• RGGI IS GOOD FOR VIRGINIA’S ECONOMY: RGGI has brought well over a half-billion dollars to Virginia for flood mitigation, which saves billions of dollars in preventable flood damages, and for low-income energy efficiency, which lowers electricity demand, creates thousands of good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced, and greatly benefits the most vulnerable ratepayers (see e.g., https://www.virginiamercury.com/2022/08/25/rggi-funds-have-been-a-game-changer-for-many-low-income-homes/).
• RGGI LOWERS EMISSIONS AND HELPS PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE CLIMATE: RGGI helps lower carbon emissions (see, e.g., https://www.virginiamercury.com/2023/03/29/yes-rggi-works/), which in addition to mitigating the worst effects of climate change, also directly benefits public health. As one study concluded, in the first six years of RGGI’s regional implementation, it “improved air quality throughout the Northeast states and created major benefits to public health and productivity” by avoiding “hundreds of cases of premature deaths, heart attacks, hospitalizations, and emergency room (ER) visits; tens of thousands of lost work days, and hundreds of thousands of cases of restricted activity days due to poor air quality” – yielding an estimated $5.7 billion in health and productivity benefits (see https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/sites/g/files/ehbemt476/files/documents/2021-11/analysis-health-impacts-rggi-2017.pdf).
• YOUR ROLE IS TO PROTECT AND BOLSTER AIR QUALITY: The Virginia Air Pollution Control Board should feel a legal, scientific, prudential, and moral responsibility to work to improve our air quality – not try to weaken it for reasons of politics or any other irrelevant reasons. The citizens of the Commonwealth are imploring you to do the right thing, and to vote to reject efforts to withdraw from RGGI. WE NEED RGGI. Thank you.