The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is under attack by Governor Youngkin and his polluter buddies. We must protect this climate and community protection program.
RGGI is a common-sense approach to reducing climate pollution in Virginia. It creates limits on pollution from power plants, attaches a price to pollution that's paid by power companies, and reinvests that money into Virginia's communities. It seems obvious that polluters should have to pay for the damage they cause, but it appears that Youngkin disagrees.
What does RGGI do?
Infographic from Virginia Interfaith Power and Light
Because of RGGI, Virginia has generated more than half a billion dollars for our communities. The funds from RGGI go towards:
- Strengthening communities on the frontlines of climate change, especially Virginia's coastal communities that are impacted by sea level rise.
- Lowering electric bills by providing funding to improve energy efficiency in homes. More energy efficient homes = lower electric bills.
- Creating new clean energy projects like solar and wind, non-polluting projects that protect our planet and our health.
It's also worth noting that -- by creating limits and a price on pollution -- RGGI removes the financial incentives to build new fossil fuel plants.
We know RGGI works because multiple other states have greatly benefited from the program.
- RGGI is responsible for creating 45,000 good jobs in participating states and RGGI states have seen their economies grow 31 percent faster than non-RGGI states.
- Electricity prices in RGGI states dropped by almost 6% as they went up by almost 9% throughout the rest of the country.
- RGGI states reduce climate-warming emissions 90% faster than the rest of the country.
- RGGI has significantly improved public health in participating states by transitioning away from energy generation that pollutes air and water, improving public health by an estimated $5.7 billion.
Don't let Youngkin, polluters, and bad-faith politicians gaslight you into believing that RGGI is a "bad deal" for Virginia. Here's a breakdown of the falsehoods they are pedalling vs reality.
|RGGI is a "direct tax" that forces Virginians to pay more for energy that powers our homes and businesses.||The fee on climate pollution is paid by the power sector utilities. RGGI does not require any costs to be passed on to customers, but Dominion Energy chose to include a small RGGI cost pertaining to “administrative fees.” Dominion Energy also has a history of overcharging customers.|
|RGGI increases our electricity bills.||
States participating in RGGI have largely experienced a drop in electricity prices by as much as 6%. Non-RGGI states have seen an increase by almost 9%. One report shows that every dollar raised by RGGI and reinvested into energy efficiency results in $10 in energy bill savings.
|RGGI does not do anything to lower pollution.||Yes it does, that’s literally the point of it. The limits on pollution increase over time and polluting more than a set limit results in harsh monetary consequences for power companies failing to comply. The more they pollute the more they pay and vice versa.|
|RGGI doesn’t raise enough funds to improve Virginia’s communities.||RGGI has raised more than $400 million for Virginia that could be invested back into our communities to help families lower electric bills as well as strengthen communities most impacted by climate change. Youngkin has already used RGGI funds to aid communities harmed by flooding over the summer. Youngkin does NOT have a plan to replace these RGGI funds if Virginia discontinues the program.|
|Virginians want out of RGGI.||More than two-thirds of Virginians support RGGI. It’s popular to hold polluters accountable.|
|RGGI is part of a radical environmental agenda.||RGGI sets limits on the pollution that is hurting our planet AND our health. RGGI states have enjoyed an estimated $5.7 billion in health cost savings. Less pollution = less illness (obviously). Less illness = less healthcare costs.|
The Governor can unilaterally end RGGI in Virginia.
RGGI was enshrined into law by Virginia’s state legislature (with bipartisan support by-the-way). Basic civic classes will tell you that a Governor cannot repeal a law – that power resides with state lawmakers. Youngkin's attempt to end RGGI through executive action alone is illegal.