Virginia Wants To Leave The Regional Carbon Trading Program

Virginia Wants To Leave The Regional Carbon Trading Program - Carbon Herald
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Last week, regulators in Virginia voted to leave the regional carbon trading program, much to the disapproval of clean energy proponents. 

The state of Virginia joined the multistate carbon trading program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, three years ago in an aim to meet climate objectives. 

The vote was held by the Air Pollution Control Board and has to do with the objection from electric utilities regarding carbon emissions cuts mandated by the initiative. 

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin made the repeal of the state’s membership a priority for his administration as soon as he took office in 2022. 

Youngkin believes that joining the RGGI is not the right course of action for Virginia, which he mentioned shortly after the vote took place last Wednesday. 

Furthermore, Youngkin went on to say that the Air Pollution Control Board’s decision to repeal the state’s RGGI membership will protect residents from “the failed program that is not only a regressive tax on families and businesses across the Commonwealth, but also does nothing to reduce pollution.”

Relevant: Washington Raises $300 Million From New Cap-and-Invest Market

The vote is set to be finalized by the end of this year after being reviewed by the governor’s office. 

However, experts are certain that such action will likely cause legal pushback from environmental organizations, seeking to challenge the board’s authority to make decisions of this kind. 

Democratic state lawmakers argue that Virginia’s membership in the carbon trading program was mandated by the General Assembly and, therefore, the state can only be made to exit RGGI if a new law is passed. 

Environmentalists fear that if Virginia were to truly leave the carbon trading program, the move would get in the way of the state’s clean energy transition.

Read more: West Virginia Passes Bills On Carbon Storage And Hydrogen Hubs

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