Report: Youngkin’s team makes case for Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative withdrawal

RICHMOND, Va.(WRIC) – New state documents show why Gov. Glenn Youngkin believes he’s right to stick to his plan of withdrawing Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The 78-page Freedom of Information Act request by 8News released on Tuesday night includes the report created by Youngkin’s Executive Order 9. It was designed to re-evaluate the state’s participation in the RGGI, while simultaneously beginning the regulatory process to end participation.

The report says that re-evaluation was “based on new information that points to higher costs for residential and industrial ratepayers”. The report acknowledges new information was largely limited because Virginia only began fully participating in RGGI on January 1, 2021. RGGI aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by allowing power producers that emit too much carbon to purchase “allowances” through an auction in order to comply with the initiative.

With information from the state’s largest regulated utility, Dominion Energy, the report states the corporation filed to increase rates in order to recover the costs of compliance with the carbon-trading rule showed “the ability for power-generators to fully pass on costs to consumers.”

The report then questioned the efficacy of RGGI’s mission to reduce CO2 emissions, since it claims the initiative provides no incentive to reduce if costs can simply be passed along to consumers.

It also notes carbon emissions rates had already been reduced by over 50% in the past 10 years prior to the Commonwealth’s participation in RGGI.

It’s not clear at this time how Youngkin plans to move forward with the RGGI withdrawal. Democrats already rejected a legislative effort, which would have been the least complicated path to doing so.

Read the full RGGI withdrawal report here:

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.

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