News | January 30, 2023

Virginians speak up to defend proven climate solution

Join us in protecting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in Virginia
Virginians protest at a state Air Pollution Control Board meeting. (@Stephanie Gross)

Don’t repeal RGGI. Climate solutions work.

Senior Attorney Nate Benforado recently sent the message below to SELC supporters in Virginia. Join him and others across the Commonwealth pushing back on efforts to take Virginia out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a proven solution to cutting carbon pollution.

Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, better known as RGGI, is already helping Virginians across the state. In the decade before Virginia’s RGGI participation, power plant owners failed to reduce emissions on their own. In just two years of participating in RGGI, Virginia is already seeing results. Power plants have reduced their air pollution significantly, which means Virginia is making progress on climate change while improving local air quality and public health. Thanks to the proven design of RGGI, these emissions reductions are expected to continue.

Senior Attorney Nate Benforado

While the program is working to reduce air pollution, Virginia is also benefiting from the sale of its carbon allowances. Through eight quarterly auctions, Virginia has already received more than $523 million in proceeds that are helping low-income families save on energy bills, and providing dedicated funding to localities to take on resilience planning projects that would otherwise have gone unfunded.

Despite this progress, despite the public’s widespread support of RGGI, and despite objections from lawmakers, the Youngkin administration is intent on moving forward with a plan to leave RGGI. Not only is this plan inconsistent with the law, it relies on inaccurate claims and misleading rhetoric. The Air Pollution Control Board has now helped further his mission, voting to move a draft repeal proposal forward.

Join me and others across the state and let the Air Pollution Control Board know RGGI is law. The Board does not have the authority to repeal RGGI, and citizens of the Commonwealth will not stand by quietly while a proven tool in the fight against climate change is threatened. Join us in standing up for RGGI.