SELC responds to contradictory RGGI report from Governor Glenn Youngkin
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Governor Glenn Youngkin released a report this week prepared by Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality concerning the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The report stands in stark contrast to previous DEQ reports on RGGI.
Governor Youngkin directed DEQ in Executive Order 9 to start the process of ending Virginia’s participation in RGGI, and requested the report in an apparent attempt to support the move.
Although the Governor’s March 15 press release calls RGGI a “bad deal,” the actual data in the report shows that RGGI works well and that Virginia needs the emissions reduction program.
Nate Benforado, a senior attorney in our Charlottesville office, reiterated the data demonstrating how RGGI is, in fact, good for Virginia. For example:
- The report shows that over the last decade, Virginia’s emissions “remained fairly constant” (p 14) while RGGI states saw their emissions drop by 30% (Figure 8).
- The report even acknowledges that Virginia will not hit the VCEA climate goals and 2045 net-zero carbon emissions goal without an emissions reduction program (p 14).
“The conclusions in this report really don’t match the data. While the Governor attempts to brush aside the need for RGGI, the report actually confirms the need for RGGI,” said Benforado. He goes on to say, “The report appears designed to support a partisan repeal effort rather than to provide an objective look at available information. In the past, the agency has taken the stance that cap and trade programs like RGGI are a proven, cost-effective way to reduce carbon pollution. If Governor Youngkin is concerned about Dominion being better incentivized to reduce its emissions, let’s work on that. But repealing RGGI doesn’t fix the long-standing problem of Dominion overcharging its customers, not just for RGGI compliance but for many projects. Repealing RGGI only helps monopoly utilities and the fossil fuel industry go back to polluting the Commonwealth’s air without having to take into account the tremendous costs greenhouse gases have on Virginians.”