SELC statement on Community Flood Preparedness Grants funded through RGGI
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Today Governor Northam announced grant recipients of the first round of the new Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund, which is financed through revenue Virginia recently began receiving from its participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). In response to the announcement, SELC Senior Attorney Morgan Butler released the following statement:
“Flooding is the most common—and the most expensive—natural hazard we face in Virginia. Not only are our coastlines at risk from rising seas and more powerful storms, but more intense rainfall is threatening communities across the entire Commonwealth. We are pleased to see Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative fuel real investment into building flood resilience in vulnerable communities.”
The General Assembly and the Northam administration worked together in recent years to establish the Community Flood Preparedness Fund as a source for grants and loans to help protect communities from the increased flooding the Commonwealth is experiencing due to more severe weather events and sea-level rise. The Fund is intended to address both coastal and riverine flooding and is available to all local governments and Native American tribes throughout the Commonwealth, with a special emphasis placed on the most economically vulnerable communities. The first round of grants from the Community Flood Preparedness Fund totaled approximately $7.8 million dollars. Applications for the second round are due on November 5, 2021, and a third round is expected this winter.
Virginia is the first Southern state to join RGGI, and so far the Commonwealth has received more than $140 million in revenue from the sale of carbon emission allowances through its participation in the program. Just under half of Virginia’s RGGI revenues finance the Community Flood Preparedness Fund, while the other half is used to finance energy efficiency programs that help low-income households bring down their energy bills while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
The Southern Environmental Law Center is one of the nation’s most powerful defenders of the environment, rooted in the South. With a long track record, SELC takes on the toughest environmental challenges in court, in government, and in our communities to protect our region’s air, water, climate, wildlife, lands, and people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the organization has a staff of 170, including 90 attorneys, and is headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., with offices in Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chapel Hill, Charleston, Nashville, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. www.southernenvironment.org