Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam beat GOP challenger Ed Gillespie for governor of Virginia Tuesday, solidifying the state’s path to joining a 9-state cap-and-trade system, The Washington Examiner reports.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) will present a draft cap-and-trade program designed to limit emissions from fossil fuel power plants for approval by the state’s pollution board next week.
The proposal is a result of an executive order Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed in May mandating regulators create rules similar to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a coalition of nine eastern states formed to cut carbon emissions in the energy industry, according to Reuters.
McAullife issued the order in response to the Trump administration’s stance on climate change, as well as its efforts to roll back environmental regulations.
“Governor McAuliffe’s executive order is the worst kind of virtue signaling,” Virginia Republican party Chairman John Whitbeck told Reuters at the time.
The RGGI praised VDEQ for crafting rules aligning with the group’s own environmental regulations and ends.
“Larger markets increase economic efficiency and cost-effectiveness, align more closely with the regional nature of our electric grid, and can help drive even greater consumer savings,” RGGI said in a statement. “These economic benefits come hand-in-hand with benefits to our environment, climate, and public health.”
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