Youngkin Administration Will Repeal RGGI Involvement by the End of 2023

Acting Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles said the Youngkin administration is planning to complete repeal of Virginia’s involvement in a greenhouse gas regulatory program by the end of 2023.

“The administration will put forth in the coming weeks a notice of intended regulatory action, or NOIRA, which will repeal the trading rule and end Virginia’s participation in RGGI [Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative]. This NOIRA will set the stage for a full administrative process act, or APA, regulatory action,” Voyles said at a Wednesday meeting of the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board.

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Republicans Say California’s 2035 Ban on Gasoline-Powered Cars Will Apply in Virginia

Glenn Youngkin

California regulators moved forward with a plan to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035, a policy that also impacts Virginia and other states that have chosen to link their emissions law to California’s. In the wake of the decision reported by The New York Times, Virginia Republicans are once again expressing frustration over the 2021 legislation that tied Virginia’s regulations to California’s zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) requirements.

“In an effort to turn Virginia into California, liberal politicians who previously ran our government sold Virginia out by subjecting Virginia drivers to California vehicle laws,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Twitter statement Friday.

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Youngkin’s Middle Road on Environment Frustrates Environmentalists and Hard-Line Republicans

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s environmental policy is frustrating both environmentalists and hard-line Republicans. Since he took office, Youngkin has touted a middle road on energy policy although some Republicans think solar and wind are harmful for Virginia. On the other hand, Youngkin has reversed a plan to phase out single-use plastics for state agencies and tried unsuccessfully to withdraw from a regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program.

“We were obviously very disappointed in the direction that the administration is taking regarding offshore wind, but we’re not the only ones,” SUVGOP Senior Advisor Terry Johnson, a former Bush appointee, told The Virginia Star.

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Governor Youngkin Says New Report Shows That Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Is Carbon Tax Passed on to Consumers

Glenn Youngkin

Governor Glenn Youngkin is trying to withdraw Virginia from participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI,) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) published a Youngkin-ordered report on the program, which requires utilities to bid on carbon dioxide allowances.

“Costs are soaring for Virginia families and as governor, I pledged to address over taxation and Virginia’s high cost of living. That’s why I signed Executive Order Nine to direct DEQ to examine the impact of RGGI and start the process of ending Virginia’s participation. This report reveals that RGGI is in reality a carbon tax passed on to families, individuals and businesses throughout the Commonwealth – it’s a bad deal for Virginians,” Youngkin said in a press release Tuesday.

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Virginia Senate Kill Key House Republican Bills, but Some Policies Have a Chance in the Budget

Democrat-controlled Senate committees have been killing House Republican bills, blocking policy changes on elections, guns, and the environment. More bills on education, abortion, and taxes are set to be heard in committees that have already killed similar Senate bills. However, even if those bills are killed, some of them still have a chance to be included in the budget.

“There’s still a lot of time left, we got the budget document we’re working on. A lot of our funding opportunities are in the budget,” House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) told The Virginia Star. “A lot of these bills that we’re talking about are in the budget. We took out RGGI [Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative] in our budget.”

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Governor Glenn Youngkin Takes Oath of Office, Promises 11 Immediate Executive Actions on CRT, Masks, Vaccines, and Other Campaign Commitments

Governor Glenn Youngkin, Attorney General Jason Miyares, and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears took their oaths of office on Saturday afternoon, followed by a howitzer salute from the Army National Guard. Then, Youngkin gave his first speech as governor, with an emphasis on a “common path forward” and with renewed promises from his campaign.

“Our politics have become too toxic. Soundbites have replaced solutions — taking precedence over good faith problem-solving,” he said. “My fellow Virginians, I come to this moment, and to this office, knowing we must bind the wounds of division. Restore trust. Find common cause for the common good.”

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Outgoing Attorney General Herring Says Governor-Elect Youngkin Can’t Pull Virginia from Key Environmental Initiative

Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion Wednesday saying that Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin cannot pull Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI,) a program where utilities have to bid for carbon dioxide emissions allowances. Youngkin has said he would use executive action to leave the RGGI. Herring’s opinion says that since Virginia entering the initiative was the result of laws passed by the General Assembly, Youngkin can’t use executive action alone to pull Virginia from the program.

“Climate change remains an urgent and ever-growing threat to Virginians, their safety, their health, and their communities. Virginia’s participation in RGGI is crucial to reducing our carbon pollution, while simultaneously investing hundreds of millions of dollars in mitigation and resilience efforts,” Herring said in a press release

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Youngkin Picks Trump EPA Chief for Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources

Former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will be Secretary of Natural Resources, and former Federal Reserve System Chief Information Officer Margaret “Lyn” McDemid will be Secretary of Administration, Youngkin’s campaign announced Wednesday. Youngkin also announced that Michael Rolband will be Director of Environmental Quality.

“Virginia needs a diverse energy portfolio in place to fuel our economic growth, continued preservation of our natural resources, and a comprehensive plan to tackle rising sea levels. Andrew and Michael share my vision in finding new ways to innovate and use our natural resources to provide Virginia with a stable, dependable, and growing power supply that will meet Virginia’s power demands without passing the costs on to the consumer,” said Governor-elect Youngkin.

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Landmark Democratic Initiative Virginia Clean Economy Act Under Fire From Republicans

The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) is one of the signature pieces of legislation Democrats passed during their control of Virginia’s General Assembly and the governor’s mansion. It set deadlines for utilities to be 100-percent carbon, set energy efficiency standards for utilities, declared that solar and wind are “in the public interest,” created a Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund, and brought Virginia into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI,) a program where utilities have to bid for carbon dioxide emissions allowances.

The day after the act passed out of the House in February 2020, House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) called Democrats’ actions including the VCEA historic, but warned that those bills would have far-reaching impacts, including higher energy prices for citizens and businesses.

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Youngkin Will Pull Virginia Out of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Says He Supports All-of-the-Above Energy Policy

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin announced that he will use an executive order to pull Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), an 11-state cap-and-trade initiative aimed at reducing utility carbon dioxide emissions by requiring utilities to bid for carbon dioxide allowances in state auctions. Youngkin’s commitment is one of his first specific energy and environmental policy statements, but he couched it as part of his broader plan to lower Virginians’ cost of living.

“RGGI will cost ratepayers over the next four years an estimated $1 billion to $1.2 billion dollars,” Youngkin said Wednesday to the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.. “RGGI describes itself as a regional market for carbon, but it is really a carbon tax that is fully passed on to ratepayers. It’s a bad deal for Virginians. It’s a bad deal for Virginia businesses, and as Governor, I will withdraw us from RGGI by Executive Action. I promised to lower the cost of living in Virginia and this is just the beginning.” 

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