Home Energy and Environment BREAKING: Virginia Air Pollution Control Board Votes 5-2 to Limit CO2 Pollution,...

BREAKING: Virginia Air Pollution Control Board Votes 5-2 to Limit CO2 Pollution, Participate in RGGI

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Good news for a change; see below for a press release from Virginia Interfaith Power and Light [note: will add other statements as they come in], as well as some video! According to the Virginia Sierra Club, the vote was 5-2: “In favor: Hoagland, Moreno, Rovner, Kapur, & Bush. Against: Ferguson, Langford.”

Air Board Caps Carbon Pollution

Richmond, VA – Today, Virginia became a climate leader in the south by finalizing a long-awaited standard to protect Virginia families and communities from carbon pollution.

A vote by the Air Pollution Control Board approved Executive Directive 11, which caps greenhouse gas emissions by allowing Virginia power plants to trade allowances for carbon pollution with the nine states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Cutting emissions is essential for healthier communities and cleaner air. Having these common sense safeguards in place is an important step towards a safer climate.

Governor Northam is well aware that the home we share is a precious gift from our Creator and that we must protect it for future generations. We urge the governor to continue being a good steward by heeding the urgent call to act on climate.

According to the World Health Organization, over the next ten years, we will start to see around 250,000 additional deaths every year worldwide because of climate change. At this late point, wasting time means more casualties.

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Virginia Interfaith Power & Light is a nonprofit organization that collaborates, as people of faith, to grow healthy communities and advance climate justice through education, advocacy, and worship with over 2,500 supporters across the state. We are a program of Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. For more information, visit http://www.vaipl.org.

From Environment Virginia:

Virginia approves plan to cut carbon emissions

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)’s Air Pollution Control Board has approved a plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The plan would reduce global warming emissions in the state by 30 percent between 2020 and 2030, and it establishes the framework for Virginia to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a collaborative effort amongst member states to reduce carbon emissions through a cap and trade program.

Elly Boehmer, state director of Environment Virginia, issued the following statement:

“This is a big victory for our climate and our health. We’re grateful for the efforts of former Gov. McAuliffe for starting this process, and the Northam administration for championing it since taking office.

“Gov. Northam has an opportunity to once again show climate leadership. Unfortunately, the current state budget bill includes language that would prevent Virginia from participating in effective climate programs such as RGGI. We ask the Governor to reject this attempt to bring our state backwards and instead continue to help Virginia lead on tackling climate change.”

From the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund:

CCAN: Virginia Air Pollution Control Board Approves Historic Carbon Rule

CCAN Calls on Governor Northam to Veto Amendments that would Block the Rule

RICHMOND, VA — Today, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board approved historic regulations to allow Virginia to link with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This new Carbon Rule will lead to a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from Virginia’s largest power plants and establish important environmental justice provisions to ensure that frontline communities are protected. Unfortunately, without action from the Governor, new language in the budget would block Virginia from participating in the program.

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

“We applaud the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board for approving a historic cap on carbon in Virginia. Over the next decade, Virginia’s biggest power plants will see a thirty percent reduction in carbon emissions. This is the most ambitious action any southern state has taken on climate during the Trump Presidency.

“Unfortunately, this historic climate action is in danger of being obstructed by dangerous partisan language in the recently passed budget that would block Virginia from trading in the RGGI market. We at CCAN call on Governor Northam to use his constitutional authority to veto these amendments and protect Virginia’s climate legacy.

“Today’s vote is not only a big step in the right direction on curbing climate change, it’s an issue of public health. Current RGGI states have avoided health effects like asthma attacks and premature adult deaths since joining the program.

“The facts are clear: joining RGGI is a win-win for Virginia. We look forward to the Governor’s veto and passing equitable legislation to formally join RGGI in the 2020 legislative session.”

Background:

For over four years, CCAN Action Fund and its partners have worked tirelessly to pass legislation to join RGGI. After multiple partisan votes to reject climate action, Governor McAuliffe announced Executive Directive 11 in 2017, which would provide a pathway to link with the RGGI market and set a cap on carbon. After two years and over 15,000 public comments, the Air Pollution Control Board voted to approve this new regulation in April 2019.  See our fact sheet on joining RGGI here.

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CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 16 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.