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TAKE ACTION NOW! Public Comment Period Open Now Until March 31st!!!!

Protect RGGI

On his first day in office, Governor Glenn Youngkin issued an Executive Order with the intention of removing Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), as enacted by Virginia's General Assembly in 2020. 

In this most recent General Assembly session, VCCA members and our allies in the environmental conservation community were successful in defeating legislation aimed at repealing Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. 

But Virginia's participation in RGGI and the fight for a clean energy economy is far from over.  

Where are we in the process: In December 2022, the Air Pollution Control Board voted to put out for public comment a proposed regulation that would repeal the regulation required for Virginia’s participation in RGGI. That proposed regulation was reviewed by the executive branch and the public will now have until March 31 to comment on this notice.

We encourage all VCCA Members and other health professionals concerned about the health impacts of climate change to support RGGI by submitting a comment on the Virginia Townhall website.


The administration needs to understand the broad public support for this program- particularly among the health community.

To submit a comment follow the instructions below. 


  1. Visit the Virginia Townhall website.

  2. Click on the "Comment Period" (see image to the right)

  3. Click "Enter a Comment"

  4. Submit your comment!

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While it is best to make your comment unique, we have provided talking points and a sample comment below.  

Talking Points on RGGI

  • Oppose the repeal. Explain why you want Virginia to maintain its participation in RGGI.

  • RGGI is working great for Virginia. Emphasize the data show RGGI is working. Since 
    joining RGGI, Virginia’s power plant emissions have consistently decreased, dropping
    16.8% overall as compared to 2020 pre-RGGI levels. These recent reductions follow a
    decade without RGGI, where Virginia’s emissions were “fairly constant” with “no
    discernible trend”. 

  • RGGI improves public health. Point out that decreased air pollution means fewer
    asthma attacks, premature births, and missed days of school and work. In just six years,
    participating states realized $5.7 billion in public health benefits thanks to RGGI. 

  • RGGI is helping Virginians right now. Explain that Virginia’s participation in RGGI
    generates funds that are:

    • ​providing safe, affordable and energy-efficient homes to low-income families in
      ways that were never possible before RGGI. Staying in RGGI at least through 2030
      could upgrade 130,000 homes, saving $89 million annually with average annual
      savings of $676 per household, and sustaining more than 2,000 jobs.

    • providing dedicated funding to localities to plan for and prevent recurrent flooding.
      There is a massive need for this funding. Flooding damages, for example, will cost
      the state $79.1 billion if left unchecked. 

  • RGGI helps protect utility customers from high bills. Explain that fossil fuel costs are
    soaring, significantly driving up customer bills. RGGI ensures that power plant owners
    steadily reduce reliance on fossil fuels, protecting customers from these volatile commodities.

Sample Comment: 

Health professionals across the Commonwealth support climate action and keeping Virginia in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). 

Decades of research demonstrate the adverse health impacts of air pollutants such as particulate matter and ground-level ozone. These include increased asthma cases and exacerbations, reduced child lung function growth, increased heart attacks and premature death. (Lancet, 2017) Certain population groups, such as the elderly, children, and those with chronic illnesses, are especially vulnerable. (USCGRP, 2018) The EPA estimates that programs that improve air quality result in public health benefits that exceed the costs of achieving air quality targets by a 30:1 ratio. (U.S. EPA, 2011)

States participating in RGGI have already seen significant public health benefits as a result of the program. RGGI-driven reductions in pollution have resulted in an estimated $5.7 billion in health and productivity benefits. Between 2009-2014, reduced pollution as a result of RGGI prevented hundreds of premature adult deaths, thousands of asthma exacerbations (Manion et al, 2017) and over 500 new cases of child asthma. (Perera et al, 2020)

These and numerous other studies demonstrate that market-driven carbon reductions improve public health. We urge you to stay in RGGI to protect the health of all Virginians.




Lancet, 2017: Estimates and 25-year trends of the global burden of disease attributable to ambient air pollution: an analysis of data from the Global Burden of Diseases Study 2015.

USGCRP, 2018: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II [Reidmiller, D.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock, and B.C. Stewart (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 1515 pp. doi: 10.7930/NCA4.2018

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2011. The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act: 1990 to 2020.

Manion M, Zarakas C, Wnuck S, Haskell J, Belova A, Cooley D, et al. Analysis of the Public Health Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Abt Associates, Cambridge, MA. 2017.

Perera, F., Cooley, D., Berberian, A., Mills, D., & Kinney, P. (2020). Co-benefits to children’s health of the US regional greenhouse gas initiative. Environmental Health Perspectives, 128(7), 077006.

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