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VA Senate Democrats Reject Environmental Protection Rollbacks

"The attempted rollbacks would have...endangered Virginia’s future ability to defend our natural environment from the threats of global warming and sea level rise.”

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Thank you as always to the Virginia Senate Democratic “firewall,” which has been busy deep-sixing some really godawful Republican legislation. Let’s all make damn sure we keep the Senate BLUE next year!

Senate Democrats Reject Environmental Protection Rollbacks

RICHMOND, Va.: Senate Democrats stand strong against repeals of environmental protections, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Virginia Clean Economy Act.

Majority Leader Dick Saslaw said: “Virginia’s future economy relies on forward-thinking, innovative approaches to prepare the Commonwealth for the challenges of tomorrow. Climate change is an existential threat, and developing a clean economy that not only addresses those threats but also readies the energy sector for the demands of tomorrow is imperative for continued growth and environmental responsibility.”

Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said: “Virginia Democrats created the VCEA and RGGI agreements in conjunction with environmentalists, utility companies, and other stakeholders to create an all-hands-on-deck approach to our climate and energy crises. The attempted rollbacks would have thrown away years of collaboration, and endangered Virginia’s future ability to defend our natural environment from the threats of global warming and sea level rise.”

Today, the Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources sent HB892 (Kilgore) to the Finance and Appropriations Committee, where its provisions were not included in the Senate Budget.

The committee killed HB1301 (Kilgore), repealing the Virginia Clean Economy Act.

Yesterday, the Commerce and Labor Energy Subcommittee recommended rejection of the following bills, which will now go before the full Commerce and Labor Committee:

  • HB73 (Ware) – Removes energy efficiency standards for pilot programs, aggregate capacity requirements for renewable energy facilities, and the SCC’s power to determine reasonable cost recovery for renewable energy facilities.
  • HB74 (Ware) – Guts the Virginia Clean Economy Act by allowing carbon-dioxide emitting energy generation locations to subvert fair pricing standards.
  • HB118 (Freitas) – Repeals provisions related to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative requiring the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board to adopt regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The bill also repeals provisions that prohibit construction of new energy-generating projects that produce carbon dioxide emissions.
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