Virginia General Assembly Passes Legislation to Join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2020
CONTACT:
Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director, 804-305-1472, harrison@chesapeakeclimate.org
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, 240-630-1889, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org

 

Virginia General Assembly Passes Legislation to Join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

“When There Is Enough Effort and Will, Powerful Ideas Can Triumph”

 

RICHMOND, VA — Today, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act (HB 981SB 1027). The State Senate voted 22-18 and the House of Delegates voted 51-47 to pass the legislation, which commits Virginia to joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The chambers now need to approve final changes to the bill, which is expected to happen imminently.

RGGI is a carbon-trading program, already in place in ten states from Maine to Maryland, which reduces carbon emissions from dirty gas- and coal-fired power plants by putting a price on carbon. Joining RGGI will create nearly $1 billion in revenue for the state by the year 2030. The bill will invest that money in flood protection for vulnerable residents in Virginia, and energy efficiency gains for low-income residents.

Statement from Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director of the CCAN Action Fund:

“The state of Virginia is like a house being overwhelmed by the big storm of climate change. But today, the General Assembly made a down payment on reinforcing the foundation of that house while addressing the core cause of the storm itself.

“Many thanks to Senator Lynwood Lewis and Delegate Charniele Herring for leading the fight to pass the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act. By passing this bill, we will make polluters pay for their climate damage. We will then invest that money in home weatherization for low-income Virginians and sea level rise adaptation for vulnerable coastal residents. This is a win-win for protecting our common societal home.

“The Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund was the first environmental group to propose the major tenets of this bill six years ago. Today’s passage is a testament to the fact that when there is enough effort and will, powerful ideas can triumph.

“We want to thank all our coalition partners who worked so hard on this bill for so many years, as well as our staff organizers and policy advocates. We look forward to the Governor’s signature on this bill in the very near future.”

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CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 17 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC, and nationwide.