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AG Mark Herring Opinion: Virginia Air Pollution Control Board Can Set Statewide Cap on Greenhouse Gases

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Just got the following memo (see below) from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office. According to Herring’s office, “Attorney General Herring has issued the attached official opinion at the request of Delegate David Toscano, who inquired about the authority of the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and whether the Board has the authority to establish some sort of statewide cap on emissions.” Key points are (bolding added by me for emphasis):

1) “In Virginia, the Board is the governmental entity legally authorized to regulate the emission of air pollutants.”

2) “The Board is authorized to develop comprehensive programs for the ‘abatement[] and control of all sources of air pollution in the Commonwealth . . . .’”

3) “…§ 10.1-1308(A)… allows the Board to promulgate regulations ‘abating, controlling and prohibiting air pollution throughout or in any part of the Commonwealth . . . .’”

4) Therefore, “the State Air Pollution Control Board is legally authorized to regulate GHG emissions, including establishing a statewide cap on GHG emissions for all new and existing fossil fuel electric generating plants.”