Press Release | April 9, 2018

The Commonwealth Leads the South in Fighting Climate Change

New carbon regulations will cut costs and health hazards for Virginians

Charlottesville, VA— By enacting carbon regulations, Virginia is taking an historic and crucial step to curbing climate change and advancing toward smart energy choices in the Commonwealth.  The Southern Environmental Law Center has submitted comments on the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) regulations for a carbon cap-and-trade program.
“Virginia is showing great leadership in our region by recognizing carbon emissions for what they are – a threat that exacerbates climate change and requires responsible action at the local and state level,” said Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Will Cleveland. “With the federal government refusing to accept reality and responsibility, the task of curbing carbon emissions with smart regulations falls to the states. Let’s make sure we get this right in Virginia.”
In shaping and finalizing these regulations SELC calls on DEQ to ensure the following:

  • Implement a strong but realistic cap: specifically the lower of 33 million tons (the most stringent option proposed) or projected actual carbon emissions for 2019 based on updated modeling.
  • Cover every electric power facility in Virginia over 25 megawatts that emits carbon dioxide, regardless of fuel type or date of construction and operation.
  • Link with the existing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) trading program to reduce compliance costs for utilities in Virginia. 
  • Revisit the carbon cap in ten years to set further emissions reduction goals beyond 2030.
  • Prevent utility windfall profits, and instead ensure excess revenues go to customers.


For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 70 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our

Are you a reporter and would like more information? Please visit our press contact page for a full list of SELC’s press contacts.

Press Contacts

Will Cleveland

Senior Attorney