Home Climate change Oily Governor Youngkin’s Clean Car BS

Oily Governor Youngkin’s Clean Car BS

Youngkin and Miyares are playing their fiddles for fossil fuel dollars while the whole world burns.


By Kindler

It should be awfully clear by now whom Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin represents – not the people of the Commonwealth, but the special interests that control the Republican party, chief among them the Big Oil, Gas and Coal fatcats who funnel millions of dollars to the GOP in order to maintain their dirty legacy.

Youngkin almost never goes against the diktat of the fossil fuel lobby and lately, that has meant working to violate laws enacted by the legislature and his predecessor, Governor Ralph Northam.  First, he proclaimed his plan to break the law that brought Virginia into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), contravening the 2020 Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act which brought with it millions of dollars in funds for disaster resistance and energy efficiency funding.

And now, he and Attorney General Jason Miyares are declaring their monarchical right to violate the Clean Car Standard enacted in 2021 – and, as befits a party with a convicted felon and pathological liar as its presidential standard-bearer, they are defending their law-breaking by spreading disinformation about electric vehicles and the Virginia law promoting them.

Youngkin and his Republican cronies love to make it sound like the supposedly communist state of California is being allowed to force its laws on the Commonwealth through a “misguided electric vehicle mandate imposed by unelected leaders nearly 3,000 miles away.”  But that’s baloney. First, as stated, he’s talking about a law passed by the Virginia General Assembly and signed by Virginia’s last governor.

Second, per federal law, each state gets to choose between two vehicle emission frameworks, either the baseline standard set by the US EPA or the alternative, more stringent approach promulgated by California.  Currently, 18 states representing a third of the country go with the latter option. So, this has nothing to do with “freedom” – it’s simply a matter of choosing the alternative promising to minimize the climate hell our children and grandchildren will have to endure.

(Speaking of climate hell, it got up to 121.8 degrees in New Delhi last week and is heading to that territory in the US Southwest as we speak – but Republicans want to make the climate situation much, much worse in order to squeeze a few more bucks out of their fossil fuel donors.  In this, Youngkin is, as always, following his leader, Trump, who has promised oil executives that he’ll enact all the policies they want if they give him $1 billion in donations.)

Youngkin also makes it sound like the Clean Car Standard is going to force everyone to buy an EV tomorrow. Once again, nope – the law focuses on establishing a steady transition under which manufacturers are required to increase EV sales from the current level of 9% to 22% by the end of next year, with all light duty vehicles required to reach zero emissions by 2035. As the rules are focused on manufacturers, it’s not like police will be stopping you on the highway if you’re driving a gas-powered car.

And also note that the definition of “zero emissions” here includes plug-in hybrids as well as fully electric vehicles. As a plug-in hybrid driver myself, I can attest to this convenient alternative allowing you to cover much of your local driving gas-free without ever having to worry about “range anxiety” for longer trips.

Per the Washington Post, “Youngkin also depicted his action on the clean-car requirements as a matter of national security, saying that Chinese companies dominate the supply chain for electric vehicles.” Well, this is mighty rich coming from the governor who killed Virginia’s chance to get a Ford EV battery plant built in Southside Virginia that would’ve provided 2500 American jobs.

If he really cares about reducing Chinese influence on such industries, he should become a cheerleader for Biden administration policies, e.g., those under the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS Act that are precisely focused on bringing more clean energy manufacturing businesses and jobs to the U.S.  And by the way, when Edmunds posted its list of top ten EV brands sold in the U.S., there was not a Chinese company among them.

In short, Youngkin and Miyares are just being oily in the service of Big Oil and playing their fiddles for fossil fuel dollars while the whole world burns.  It’s shameful and it only inspires me to work harder to replace these clowns with a full slate of Democrats to take over the state and bring us back to working to be a leader, not a laggard, in the clean energy transition.

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