(RICHMOND)—The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have passed legislation that would allow Virginia to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program under which Virginia energy generation plants will steadily reduce carbon emissions. Under SB 1027 and HB 981, fifty percent of the funds generated by participation in RGGI—estimated at $100 million annually—would be used for energy efficiency programs to help low-income families. Forty-five percent would go to the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund to assist communities in addressing recurrent flooding. The remaining five percent would fund the costs of administering the program.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Peggy Sanner issued the following statement.
“Joining RGGI is an indispensable step toward the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change challenges. This program will also decrease pollution to the Chesapeake Bay and help Virginia prepare for sea level rise and extreme weather.
“RGGI will reduce the air pollution from power plants that enters our region’s rivers and streams through deposition, a significant source of nitrogen pollution to the Bay. Investing a portion of the proceeds from RGGI in flood preparedness will be a major benefit for families, businesses, and communities already suffering from the effects of climate change.
“We applaud the bill’s patrons, Senator Lynwood Lewis and Del. Charniele Herring, and the many members of the General Assembly who have supported this momentous step. We anticipate swift action on this legislation by Governor Northam, who has long advocated Virginia’s participation in the RGGI program.”