His thoughts — No more RGGI in Virginia

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

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Recently, Governor Youngkin began the process of changing policy to remove Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Republicans made some significant promises on the campaign trail in 2021, including a pledge to get Virginia out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — a cap-and-trade system driving up power bills for every Virginian.

While Democrats in the General Assembly blocked our efforts to act legislatively. Governor Youngkin has begun the process through administrative policy, much to the consternation of Democrats.

RGGI, is a multi-state compact established by states in the northeast to cap their emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants.

Each year RGGI sets a limit for how much carbon can be emitted by utilities in member states, and auctions off the rights to those emissions, offering fewer credits each year for sale.

Virginia utilities must either retire coal-fired units and replace them with natural gas or other sources — or purchase credits on the open market.

The State Corporation Commission found that the net cost for Dominion alone would be $6 billion in terms of credits and “stranded assets” — power plants that can’t be used — resulting in up to a 10% increase on the average electric bill, or $144 per year.

Worse, even after the disruption and expense, RGGI does not reduce carbon emissions.

Democrats have cried foul, but once again they’ve been caught out by their own bad legislation.

When Democrats passed the law authorizing participation in RGGI, they made it permissive, not mandatory.

Said simply, the law says the Commonwealth & “is authorized to participate, but it is not required to do so”. Authorized is not the same as shall; no matter how much Democrats protest to the contrary.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.