New GOP Governor's Anti-Climate Agenda Takes Shape in Virginia

New Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin made promises on the campaign trail to reverse the state's commitment to climate reductions.

Read Time: 2 minutes

January 21, 2022, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Glenn Youngkin gesturing with his hands while speaking to the media and the public while campaigning for governor of Virginia at the Alexandria Farmers Market.

Glenn Youngkin while on the campaign trail in October 2021. | Michael Robb Photography / Shutterstock

An opinion piece by Ivy Main, written for the Virginia Mercury, reports "unfortunate signs" that new Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is preparing to be less the moderate Republican he promised to be, and more a "burn-the-house-down extremist" on environmental policy.

The first piece of evidence for these strong words are the governor's decision on day one of his tenure to sign an  executive order notifying the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality of his intention to withdraw Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. According to Main, and as detailed in a separate article by Patrick Wilson for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Gov. Youngkin might require legislative approval from a still-Democrat-controlled State legislature to accomplish that goal.

Here's how Wilson describes the RGGI program:

Energy producers in states that participate in RGGI trade emission reductions for credits, or buy credits to emit carbon dioxide past a cap. The revenue the state gets from the program is directed to programs that help low-income people reduce energy usage — thereby lowering their cost of electricity — and for programs combating sea level rise in coastal areas.

Main's other evidence is Gov. Youngkin's decision to nominate Trump-era EPA chief Andrew Wheeler as the state's secretary of natural resources—a move that would also require approval from the State Legislature.

The source article notes that GOP legislators are following the new governor's lead, filing new legislation that would work against efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Thursday, January 20, 2022 in The Virginia Mercury

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