Virginia enviro groups file notice they will challenge Youngkin’s RGGI withdrawal
Environmental attorneys Monday filed notice that they intend to file a legal challenge against Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed regulation to withdraw Virginia from the regional carbon market known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the notice of appeal in Richmond City Circuit Court on July 31 on behalf of Appalachian Voices, the Association of Energy Conservation Professionals, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions and Virginia Interfaith Power and Light. The filings indicate the action will be taken against the State Air Pollution Control Board and the Department of Environmental Quality, as well as its director, Michael Rolband.
“Throughout this process, the administration has brushed aside serious questions concerning their lack of authority to take this action, and ignored the thousands of Virginians who have steadfastly opposed this misguided process,” said SELC Senior Attorney Nate Benforado. “We are disappointed it has come to this but look forward to presenting our arguments to the court.”
RGGI is an 11-state market that aims to incentivize electricity producers to generate fewer carbon emissions by requiring them to purchase allowances for every ton of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere. There is a limited number of allowances available that decreases each year. In Virginia, regulated electric utilities — which account for roughly three-quarters of power grid emissions — are allowed to pass on the costs of allowances to ratepayers.
Virginia joined RGGI in 2021 after legislation known as the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act passed the Democratic-controlled General Assembly in 2020.
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