CCAN Statement: Virginia Air Pollution Control Board Approves Historic Carbon Rule

CCAN Calls on Governor Northam to Veto Amendments that Block It

RICHMOND, VA — Today, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board approved historic regulations to allow Virginia to link with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This new Carbon Rule will lead to a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from Virginia’s largest power plants and establish important environmental justice provisions to ensure that frontline communities are protected. Unfortunately, without action from the Governor, new language in the budget would block Virginia from participating in the program.

Statement from Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network:

“We applaud Virginia Air Pollution Control Board for approving a historic cap on carbon in Virginia. Over the next decade, Virginia’s biggest power plants will see a thirty percent reduction in carbon emissions. This is the most ambitious action any southern state has taken on climate during the Trump Presidency.

“Unfortunately, this historic climate action is in danger of being obstructed by dangerous partisan language in the recently passed budget that would block Virginia from trading in the RGGI market. We at CCAN call on Governor Northam to use his constitutional authority to veto these amendments and protect Virginia’s climate legacy.

“Today’s vote is not only a big step in the right direction on curbing climate change, it’s an issue of public health. Current RGGI states have avoided health effects like asthma attacks and premature adult deaths since joining the program.

“The facts are clear: joining RGGI is a win-win for Virginia. We look forward to the Governor’s veto and passing equitable legislation to formally join RGGI in the 2020 legislative session.”

Background:

For over four years, CCAN Action Fund and its partners have worked tirelessly to pass legislation to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). After multiple partisan votes to reject climate action, Governor McAuliffe announced Executive Directive 11 in 2017, which would provide a pathway to link with the RGGI market and set a cap on carbon. after two years and over 15,000 public comments, the Air Pollution Control Board voted to approve this new regulation in April 2019.  See our fact sheet on joining RGGI here.

###

CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 16 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.