|Action||Repeal CO 2 Budget Trading Program as required by Executive Order 9 (Revision A22)|
|Comment Period||Ended on 8/30/2023|
Hello, my name is Natalie Pien from Leesburg, VA. I am a member of the Board of Directors for Piedmont Environmental Council and for Chesapeake Climate Action Network. I am also on the Executive Committee of the Sierra Club Great Falls Group plus the Advisory Committee for Food and Water Watch.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit my comments opposing withdrawing VA from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, aka RGGI. You have heard expert testimony on reasons not to withdraw Va from, including facts such as
RGGI is Va law and it is illegal to withdraw from it despite the governor’s misguided dislike for RGGI.
States participating in RGGI have decreased greenhouse gas emissions
Virginia’s emissions did not decrease until its recent participation in RGGI. Since joining RGGI, Virginia’s power plant emissions have consistently decreased—by 12.5% between 2020 and 2021 and by nearly 8% between 2021 and 2022. These recent reductions follow a decade without RGGI, where Virginia’s emissions were “fairly constant” with “no discernible trend”.
Revenues generated far exceed expectations
RGGI is the only funding mechanism to fund programs for: flood resilience in Va’s coastal communities; energy efficiency to lower utility costs; low income, frontline communities experiencing climate change impacts.
RGGI is a key component to achieve decarbonization of the electrical grid as mandated by the Virginia Clean Economy Act
RGGI improves public health. Decreased air pollution means fewer asthma attacks, premature births, and missed days of school and work. In just six years, participating states realized $5.7 billion in public health benefits thanks to RGGI..
My comments reflect my personal reasons to stay in RGGI. I am a retired public school teacher and have a nine year old step-granddaughter, a 19 month old granddaughter, and two more on the way. I was able to live in the 19 month old’s home and take care of her for the first 8 months of her life. I was able to keep her out of daycare and in a safer home environment. It’s not so easy to protect her from the impacts of climate change, but keeping VA in RGGI is critical.
My daughter Elise studied Physical Therapy in Norfolk, the second most climate change vulnerable area in the U.S. When she graduated and moved inland, we couldn’t have been more relieved. My in-laws lived in Tidewater and after a hurricane that knocked out power, my husband drove a generator to them. Thankfully, roads and bridges were passable. My widowed mother-in-law still resides in Tidewater highly subject to climate change impacts. Her safety is at climate change risk.
While my family’s future welfare motivates me, I also think about my thousand former students I taught for over 10 years. All teachers strive to prepare each student to achieve their full potential. Isn’t it cruel and unfair to leave them a world where they must struggle to survive? For the sake of my family, my students, all Virginians, and the planet, do not withdraw from RGGI.