Repost from The Virginia Star.
Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin announced that he will use an executive order to pull Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), an 11-state cap-and-trade initiative aimed at reducing utility carbon dioxide emissions by requiring utilities to bid for carbon dioxide allowances in state auctions. Youngkin’s commitment is one of his first specific energy and environmental policy statements, but he couched it as part of his broader plan to lower Virginians’ cost of living.
“RGGI will cost ratepayers over the next four years an estimated $1 billion to $1.2 billion,” Youngkin said Wednesday to the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. “RGGI describes itself as a regional market for carbon, but it is really a carbon tax that is fully passed on to ratepayers. It’s a bad deal for Virginians. It’s a bad deal for Virginia businesses, and as Governor, I will withdraw us from RGGI by Executive Action. I promised to lower the cost of living in Virginia and this is just the beginning.”
“We’ll also need to address over-taxation. Virginians were overtaxed $2.6 billion last year, it’s gonna be even more this year, and oh, by the way, as we move into Fiscal Year ’23 and ’24, it’s expected to grow beyond that. My Day One plan calls for significant tax reduction.”
Virginia was the first state in the South to enter RGGI. According to a 2020 announcement from Governor Ralph Northam, proceeds from the auctions go to community flood preparedness, coastal resilience, and energy efficiency programs for low-income Virginians.
“As the southernmost state to join RGGI, Virginia is sending a powerful signal that our Commonwealth is committed to fighting climate change and securing a clean energy future,” Northam said at the time. “This initiative provides a unique opportunity to meet the urgency of the environmental threats facing our planet, while positioning Virginia as a center of economic activity in the transition to renewable energy.”
Youngkin’s statement was praised by House of Delegates Republicans.