We’re suing to hold the line on Virginia’s climate progress
We just officially challenged the Youngkin administration’s effort to withdraw Virginia from a program proven to tackle the root cause of climate change — the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, better known as RGGI.
The petition states the state Air Pollution Control Board, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and its director Michael Rolband, do not have the authority to end the state’s participation in the successful carbon trading program.
“It is critical that we continue our participation in RGGI, a proven climate solution,” says SELC Senior Attorney Nate Benforado. “Virginians know that we need this program and that we have no time to waste. We will be doing everything we can — as quickly as we can — to enforce the law and maintain this successful program.”
Virginia joined RGGI in 2021 after the General Assembly passed a 2020 law requiring Virginia’s participation in the successful regional program, becoming the first Southern state to participate. In just over two years Virginia has already made substantial gains in reducing and controlling air pollution from power plants, while bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars to help low-income households save on energy bills and support localities planning for and protecting against recurrent flooding.
We filed the petition today in Fairfax Circuit Court on behalf of the Association of Energy Conservation Professionals, Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, Appalachian Voices, and Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions.
Given the intense warning signs we’ve received this summer, from record-setting heat to the horrifying wildfires affecting more and more Americans, it makes no sense to pull outAndrea McGimsey, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions
Two of the participants in today’s action were also part of an amicus brief that SELC filed in 2021 in defense of the state’s participation in RGGI.
Rev. Dr. Faith Harris, executive director at Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, reiterates that RGGI is working and should continue to be part of the state’s plan to combat climate change.
“The weatherization and flood preparedness funds created due to our participation in RGGI were sound and practical solutions to stabilize Virginia’s economy in the face of rising energy costs, sea levels, temperatures, and severe weather conditions,” she said. “RGGI is working for Virginia, and Virginians know it.”
More and more are calling for solutions to the worsening impacts of climate change.
“Given the intense warning signs we’ve received this summer, from record-setting heat to the horrifying wildfires affecting more and more Americans, it makes no sense to pull out,” said Andrea McGimsey, executive director of Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions. “With this lawsuit, we are standing up for climate justice and all life on our beautiful planet — our one and only home.”