Virginians, we have the power to ensure clean air, protect health, and build a healthy economy in our state.
By signing the petition below, you are telling your representatives that addressing climate change must be a priority, starting with Virginia’s proven cap-and-trade program for power plants.
Sign now to make your voice heard and to be part of the solution to curbing climate change in Virginia.
Dear House Appropriation and Senate Finance Committee Members:
Please find attached a petition signed by concerned Virginians, urging the General Assembly to remove the budget restriction currently preventing the Commonwealth from implementing its cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The already-finalized program is an inexpensive way to take real action on climate change, while improving Virginia’s economy, the environment, and our health.
Virginia can be a leader in the south when it comes to addressing the causes of climate change. Please vote to cut Virginia carbon and let this proven program get underway.
Last legislative session, the General Assembly restricted the use of any state funds to implement a proven program that would have made Virginia a regional leader on climate change.
Carbon dioxide is the leading cause of climate change, with one of the largest sources in Virginia coming from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. Virginia’s program taps into an already successful cap-and-trade initiative called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI (pronounced like “Reggie”). Utilities must buy allowances through the established RGGI auction for each ton of carbon dioxide they produce. The number of allowances is reduced each year, which would result in Virginia’s power plants emitting 30 percent less carbon dioxide into the air after just 10 years.
Not only will this program help us start addressing climate change, it will also make the air we breathe cleaner, improve public and environmental wellbeing, and build a healthy economy. Over the first decade of RGGI, participating states have benefitted by an estimated $5.7 billion attributed to improved public health, while experiencing economic benefits of $4 billion. Dominion Energy, the largest utility in Virginia, has said that if the state had started the program on time, the first year alone could have resulted in a $7.8 million credit to customers.
Despite the significant public health and economic gains poised for Virginia, the General Assembly elected to withhold about $200,000 in funding necessary to get this program going—a tiny fraction of the Commonwealth’s nearly $60 billion operating budget.
The General Assembly must restore the necessary funding immediately. Seventy percent of Virginians already support setting strict carbon dioxide limits on coal-fired plants, and cutting carbon with an established cap-and-trade program is proven and inexpensive. It is time to start making real progress on climate change.