Protect Virginia's Climate Legacy

The climate crisis is here, and it’s hurting every community in Virginia. Flooding from sea-level rise has become one of the most challenging public policy issues ever to face coastal Virginia. Intense storms are devastating agriculture across the state. Dangerous heat waves are causing asthma hospitalizations, heart attacks, and more. 

Yet Governor Glenn Youngkin had barely started his term in office when he began dragging Virginia backwards on climate. The Governor and his allies have attempted to dismantle Virginia’s clean energy wins through bad-faith budget amendments, direct attack legislation and regulatory tweaks.

We’re working to protect Virginia’s core climate policies: the Virginia Clean Economy Act, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and our Clean Car Standards.

Join us to preserve Virginia’s role as a national climate leader so we can continue to protect our communities in 2023 and beyond. 

Virginia Has Made Historic Progress on Climate

For decades, Virginia was in the back of the pack when it came to climate action. The Commonwealth’s energy policy has been influenced by utility monopoly Dominion Energy for years, leading to high bills for dirty energy, all in the name of Dominion’s profits. The company has a track record supporting bills that rip off ratepayers and making plans to massively build out gas infrastructure.

This all changed in two short years, when the makeup of the General Assembly shifted to a more climate-friendly legislature in 2019 and 2020 During this time, then-Governor Northam declared by executive order that Virginia would join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — a regional carbon market that caps and reduces pollution — and the General Assembly passed a law that codifies Virginia’s participation and allows the people of the Commonwealth to access millions of dollars for climate resilience and lower electricity bills. 

Then, the legislature passed the historic Virginia Clean Economy Act, which made the state a national leader on clean energy and carbon reduction by requiring a 100% clean, renewable  power grid by 2045, with a benchmark of 41% by 2030. This policy reverses decades of bad energy policy in Virginia by mandating the shutdown of most of the state’s coal plants by 2025, opening the gate to the biggest offshore wind farm in America turbocharging our solar energy buildout, and mandating the use of LESS electricity statewide in the future. It was so significant that Dominion pointed to it as the reason that the company had to abandon its previous plans to build a huge fracked gas pipeline and other major gas infrastructure. 

Watch the Video:
Virginians March BACKWARDS to Protest Youngkin’s Backward Climate Policies

Now We’re Holding the Line: Fending Off Attacks from a Dangerous Governor and Legislature

In 2021, we faced numerous attacks on RGGI and the Clean Economy Act. Thankfully, the Virginia Senate remained strong in their promise to vote down direct repeals, rollbacks or reallocations of these two landmark climate policies. But fossil-fuel interests have gotten wiser, and are now looking to pick apart the Clean Economy Act piece by piece – as well as pushing for repeal of our policy to usher in electric vehicles in Virginia. 

We have our work cut out for us this session: from efforts to keep coal and gas plants alive and exempt industrial polluters from their fair share of the cost of building clean energy, to Dominion-sponsored efforts to scalp ratepayers and numerous attacks on Clean Car Standards– we need all hands on deck.

Here are the bills we’re fighting this session:

  • Dominion’s “Utility Reform” Cash-Grab Bill (HB 1770 / SB 1265): This bill is “long, dense, and deadly effective in crushing competition and protecting profits,” according to the Virginia Mercury. 
  • Methane ban pre-emption bill (HB 1783, SB 1485): The world is catching on to the dangers of methane gas, and the fossil fuel industry is terrified. This bill would strip localities of the ability to move towards new, electric residential buildings. As Ivy Main, said in her commentary: “Obnoxiously, it calls the right to use gas ‘energy justice,’ which is surely the best reason to oppose it.”
  • Clean Car Standards repeal bills (SB 778, SB 779, SB 781, SB 782, SB 785, HB 1372, HB 1378): There have been no fewer than seven bills introduced to repeal Virginia’s great Advanced Clean Car Standards. These standards make buying electric vehicles easier in the Commonwealth, a great need if we want to electrify our transportation and move away from oil and gas for good.
  • Attack on Public Transportation Bill (SB 1106): The bill creates a slush fund for the Governor to build transportation projects wherever he needs to do a political favor. It would cause us to lose out on $15 million for public transit per year.

Speak up to stop these bills! Join us in Richmond on January 31 for Conservation Lobby Day.

PS. You can track all of the bills the environmental community is supporting or opposing on the Virginia Conservation Network website.)

CCAN Climate Defenders Action Teams: A Grassroots Powerhouse

To combat these attacks, CCAN Action Fund and our allies have recruited a team of climate defenders to protect Virginia’s incredible progress. Every week we share the latest on the General Assembly session and reach out to constituents of key legislators to encourage them to take a stand against climate regression.

You have two opportunities each week from January 11 through February 24 to join the ranks of the session defenders: Mondays starting at 12:30 PM or Wednesdays starting at 5:30 PM. 

There Are Many Ways YOU Can Take Action