Virginia Advances Climate Action, but Snags Remain

WASHINGTON  – The Virginia Air Pollution Control Board today finalized a groundbreaking climate plan to reduce carbon pollution from Virginia’s power plants three percent annually over the next decade. The plan also allows power plants to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-invest program that has cut power plant carbon pollution in half since 2009 in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

The board’s vote comes as Gov. Ralph Northam is weighing a veto of a budget measure the General Assembly passed that would prohibit Virginia’s participation in the RGGI program. Northam has until May 3 to act.

The following is a statement from Walton Shepherd, Virginia policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Virginia is advancing the boldest plan in the South to curb carbon pollution from power plants, but two snags must be cleared up, and soon, for the commonwealth to truly be a national leader on climate change. 

“First, the new climate standard contains a pro-polluter giveaway: it promotes burning wood for electricity--which also drives climate change. And, second, Gov. Northam must now demonstrate leadership by vetoing the General Assembly’s procedural roadblock of the plan.

“Dropping the flawed promotion of biomass and vetoing the anti-RGGI measure are all that stand in the way of Virginia taking a huge leap forward combating the growing dangers of climate change.”

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​


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