Air Pollution Control Board advances RGGI repeal proposal
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Today, during its last meeting of 2022, Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board advanced a proposal to remove the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, better known as RGGI.
Virginia joined RGGI after the General Assembly passed a 2020 law requiring Virginia’s participation in the successful regional program. Other states participating in the program are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Since becoming the first Southern state to participate in RGGI, 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 localities plan and protect against recurrent flooding.
Nonetheless, Governor Glenn Youngkin has been on a mission to remove the state from RGGI since taking office in 2022. Today’s vote—which will put the proposed repeal out for public comment—brings him one step closer to his goal.
Nate Benforado, a senior attorney in SELC’s Charlottesville office, said the Air Board’s action was disappointing but not surprising given the administration’s campaign against this successful program.
“The administration continues to march down this repeal path despite the fact it has no such authority to repeal this regulation. The law requires Virginia’s participation in RGGI, and the administration must abide by the General Assembly’s decision. But equally troubling is the fact that the administration appears uninterested in listening to its own residents. The public overwhelmingly opposed this action, but the administration is poised to plow through this irresponsible and unlawful repeal, no matter what people say and no matter the harm to Virginia.”
Members of the public will have an opportunity to comment on the repeal proposal during an upcoming 60-day comment period. Following public comment, the proposed action will come back to the Air Board for a final vote.