|Action||Repeal CO 2 Budget Trading Program as required by Executive Order 9 (Revision A22)|
|Comment Period||Ended on 3/31/2023|
The Virginia State Conference NAACP strongly opposes all efforts to withdraw Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and urges the Air Pollution Control Board to advise Governor Youngkin, the VA Department of Environmental Quality and all relevant departments and agencies, that RGGI is a critical community-supported program that must be properly maintained, funded, and staffed to ensure awareness, equitable access, and timely disbursement of funds to communities it is intended to serve. Furthermore, RGGI’s original purpose, which is to provide funds to those who are under-represented and over-burdened by poor air quality, unhealthy environments, and/or threatened by flooding, must not be diminished or reallocated to other uses.
RGGI incentivizes polluting facilities to reduce harmful emissions, thus lowering harmful effects to surrounding communities, air, land, and water. Decreased pollution means fewer asthma attacks, premature births, and missed days of school and work. NAACP’s report in collaboration with Clean Air Task Force, Fumes Across the Fence-Line: The Health Impacts of Air Pollution from Oil & Gas Facilities on African American Communities, states, “The air in many African American communities violates air quality standards for ozone smog. Rates of asthma are relatively high in African American communities. And, because of ozone increases due to natural gas emissions during the summer ozone season, African American children are burdened by 138,000 asthma attacks and 101,000 lost school days each year.”
Since joining the multi-state initiative, Virginians have experienced cleaner air–power plant emissions have decreased by approximately 16.8% compared to pre-RGGI2020; the other 11 participating states are also reporting a decline in emissions. Also, funds generated by RGGI provide an affordable way for households, particularly low-to-moderate-income households, to cut their energy bills by installing energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades, while localities are able to implement innovative and viable solutions to combat recurrent flooding. RGGI also spurs economic growth and employment and business opportunities (hire local!). A just transition to a clean environment, business and employment growth, community resiliency, and healthy homes is achieved. To date, VA has collected over $550 million!!!! Unless there is an alternative funding source of this scope, it is irresponsible to withdraw and end the program.
People of color and low-income communities are disproportionately affected by exposure to air pollution, and standards, such as RGGI, that help to protect and build communities are critical. This is why the Virginia NAACP and its units continue to call for the reduction (elimination) of oil and gas pollution and a focus on clean energy sources in VA. Our communities can no longer carry the burden with the least to gain. We must do all that we can to ensure a clean, just and healthy future.
The Virginia State Conference NAACP strongly opposes all efforts to withdraw Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and urges the Air Pollution Control Board to advise Governor Youngkin, the VA Department of Environmental Quality, and all relevant departments and agencies, that RGGI is a critical community-supported program that must be properly maintained, funded, and staffed to ensure awareness, equitable access, and timely disbursement of funds to communities it is intended to serve.
Robert Barnette Karen Campblin
Robert Barnette, President Karen Campblin, ECJ Chair
Virginia State Conference NAACP Virginia State Conference NAACP
Virginia State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
PO Box 27212 • Richmond, VA 23261 • (804) 321-5678 • naacpva.org