|Action||Repeal CO 2 Budget Trading Program as required by Executive Order 9 (Revision A22)|
|Comment Period||Ended on 8/30/2023|
First off, the governor doesn't have the legal authority to withdraw Virginia from RGGI. Only the legislature can do that. Gov. Youngkin, perhaps thinking he's still a CEO rather than a public servant, continues to display an unsettling and dismaying disregard for whether or not his desired actions are legal.
Second, if the governor is concerned about high utility bills for Virginia ratepayers, can't he take appropriate regulatory steps to curb that issue through the State Corporation Commission?
Third, withdrawing from RGGI would be a massive mistake for Virginia. Virginia receives hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter from polluting power companies to bolster our state budget, reduce our tax burden, and most importantly, provide flood preparedness and relief.
That's especially important in regions of the state that tend to be hardest-hit by worsening flooding, such as last year's minor disaster in Southwest Virginia -- a region that likely supported Gov. Youngkin at the polls in 2021. I would say that the governor is leaving his own voters high and dry, but, well, failing to prepare for floods tends to lead to the exact opposite of that.
By incentivizing power companies to invest in and switch to clean, renewable forms of energy, the RGGI offers a superb free-market solution to air pollution and carbon emissions, while providing a powerful prod to bring more green-energy jobs to Virginia.
The power companies that spew carbon into the air deserve to pay to clean up the mess they're dumping on the rest of us -- in the form of dirtier air, widespread public health harms, and the increasingly extreme weather we're witnessing as a byproduct of human-created climate change. I've worked for a municipal power company, and I still favor the RGGI.