Governor Glenn Youngkin issued the following statement on the State Air Pollution Control Board’s vote to repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) regulation, as directed by the Governor’s Executive Order 9.
“Today’s commonsense decision by the Air Board to repeal RGGI protects Virginians 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,” said Governor Youngkin.
Prior to RGGI, electricity generation increased while CO2 per MWh was almost cut in half in Virginia over the last ten years.
The General Assembly adopted legislation in 2020 which authorized but did not mandate the Air Board to adopt regulations which require Virginia’s participation in RGGI. As such, Governor Youngkin signed Executive Order 9 in January 2022 to direct the Department of Environmental Quality to examine the impact of RGGI and start the process of ending Virginia’s participation.
RGGI requires power-producers in Virginia to purchase carbon offsets from auctions managed by the interstate compact. The cost of those offsets are fully passed on to power customers who have zero choice because of the Commonwealth’s regulated utility model. Funds collected by the sale of these offsets are spent on Virginia government programs. Participation in RGGI is in effect a direct tax on all households and businesses, and there is a zero incentive for power producers to reduce carbon emissions.
“The Office of the Attorney General has confirmed the State Air Pollution Control Board has the legal authority to take action on the regulatory proposal using the full regulatory process – and today, the Board voted to do just that – furthering Virginians access to a reliable, affordable, clean and growing supply of power,” Governor Youngkin added.
This standard regulatory process for removal from RGGI will provide stability and an orderly withdrawal which will provide greater regulatory certainty and help prevent market fluctuations impacting consumers.
As the Governor outlined in his Energy Plan last year, impractical policy decisions and inadequate planning have left the Commonwealth facing substantial challenges on reliability and base load generation.
“While Virginians will see a lower energy bill in due time because we are withdrawing from RGGI and are one step closer with today’s vote, we need to ensure Virginia has a reliable, affordable, clean and growing supply of power by embracing an all-of-the-above energy plan that includes natural gas, nuclear, renewables and the exploration of emerging sources to satisfy the growing needs of Commonwealth residents and businesses. We’re working every day to reduce costs to hardworking Virginians–like the RGGI carbon tax–and make Virginia the best place to live, work and do business,” said Governor Youngkin.