Virginia: Senate passes GOP bill to prevent climate change mitigation

environment climate changeSenate Republicans, in a 21-19 party-line vote, passed a bill to bar the governor or any state agency from participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), without a two-thirds majority vote from each legislative chamber.

Currently, nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participate in the market-based carbon cap-and-trade program.

HB 2611 also passed the House of Delegates on a party-line vote of 51-48 earlier this year.

“Virginia is ground zero for sea level rise,” Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) said. “This is a climate crisis, with consistent floods in every corner of the state especially on the coast… RGGI would help Virginia by funding flooding solutions and improving economic development in every corner of the Commonwealth.”

“By passing this bill, Republicans have made their position on climate change clear,” said Del. Cheryl Turpin (D-Virginia Beach). “We have a responsibility to fight for the best interests of all Virginians and despite this disappointing setback, we will continue working to move our Commonwealth forward.”

HB2611 (2019) is nearly identical to HB1270 (2018), which was vetoed by Gov. Ralph Northam. The only difference between the two bills is that the 2019 bill would require a 2/3 vote by the House and Senate in order to join RGGI.

The vetoed 2018 bill would have required a majority vote by the House and Senate in order to join RGGI.

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