Virginia cap and trade regulation for power plants ordered by governor

Virginia cap and trade

Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe signs a directive to lay the groundwork for the Virginia cap and trade system.  Governor of Virginia photo.

Virginia cap and trade system to cut GHG emissions

On Tuesday, an order to lay the groundwork for a Virginia cap and trade system to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants was ordered by the governor of the Old Dominion state.

“Today, I am proud to take executive action to cut greenhouse gases and make Virginia a leader in the global clean energy economy,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The directive known as Executive Directive 11 was designed to “fill the void” left by the Trump administration, which has been rolling back federal climate rules and regulations.

“Beginning today, Virginia will lead the way to cut carbon and lean in on the clean energy future,” McAuliffe said in a press release.

According to the statement, Executive Directive 11 will ensure the Commonwealth’s regulation is “trading ready” and includes a structure that enforces carbon-reduction mechanisms.

Since McAuliffe took office, Virginia has seen an increase from just 17 megawatts of solar installed to over 1,800 megawatts of solar currently in service or under development.

As well, revenues in the clean energy sector have grown from $300 million to $1.5 billion between 2014 and 2016.  Solar installations in the previous year are up by nearly 1,200 per cent and the number of Virginians employed by the solar industry rose 65 per cent to 3,236 which is twice the number of jobs supported by coal.

Along with the environmental benefits, McAuliffe points out the Executive Directive 11 could trigger a boost for the next generation of energy jobs.

Deborah Brown, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic cheered the decision.  “Carbon pollution from power plants leads to warmer temperatures, which enhances conditions for ozone and particle pollution, wildfires, and longer allergy seasons.”

Climate change is considered a ‘threat multiplier’ to US Navy facilities and capabilities in the United States, global stability and security of governments, populations and environments, as well as operations overseas.

Rear Admiral Ann Phillips (retired) of the US Navy said “Actions like those outlined today by Governor McAuliffe are of critical importance in Virginia to stabilize our environment, to guarantee our ability to execute our national security strategy, and to fulfill our responsibility to our citizens and our global partners.”

The regulation will be presented to the State Air Pollution Control Board for consideration for approval for public comment no later than Dec. 31.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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