youngkin pollution emissions virginia
Image by Ralf Vetterle from Pixabay

As Youngkin tries to pull Virginia out of RGGI, experts warn of looming consequences for low-income residents and threatened communities

Jake Bolster writes for Inside Climate News about how Virginia's Air Pollution Control Board has moved the state one step closer to exiting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and fulfilling an executive order issued by Gov. Glenn Youngkin the day he took office.


In a nutshell:

The Air Pollution Control Board's decision, which repeals Virginia's participation in the initiative, has sparked legal challenges as critics argue that the board cannot reverse a binding 2020 decision by the state General Assembly. RGGI has generated over $650 million for the state, funding energy efficiency programs and climate resilience projects, but without its funds, progress in these areas could be reversed, affecting low-income communities in particular. Power plant emissions in Virginia have dropped by 16.8 percent since joining the RGGI, illustrating the program's effectiveness.

Key quote:

“It’s just a disaster of a decision,” said Nate Benforado, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The big picture:

Virginia's potential withdrawal from the RGGI could have significant implications for the state's overall health outcomes. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions brings about a range of health benefits that extend beyond mitigating climate change. Transitioning to cleaner energy sources and reducing reliance on fossil fuels improves air quality and reduces the prevalence of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and lung diseases.

Read more at Inside Climate News.

For additional context, read Brian Bienkowski's piece on how toxic air pollution and climate change as a result of fossil fuel emissions pose grave dangers to children.

“Cancer Alley” residents exposed to more than the lifetime exposure limit for cancer-causing compound: Report

"We are sick and tired of being sick and tired."

HOUSTON – Louisiana communities are experiencing up to 1,000 times the lifetime exposure limit for the cancer-causing compound ethylene oxide, according to a new study published in Environmental Science and Technology.

Keep reading...Show less
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less

Flooding costs US economy hundreds of billions annually

Increasingly severe flooding is costing the U.S. economy between $179.8 and $496 billion each year, according to new data from the Senate Joint Economic Committee.

Andrew Freedman reports for Axios.

Keep reading...Show less

Degrowth movement challenges traditional views on economic growth

Economic growth, long seen as universally beneficial, is increasingly scrutinized by the rising 'degrowth' movement, which argues for reducing consumption to address inequality and environmental damage.

Jennifer Szalai reports for The New York Times.

Keep reading...Show less

European election results could hinder ambitious climate policies

Recent gains by far-right parties in the European Parliament elections may obstruct efforts to implement more ambitious climate policies, though key net-zero commitments are expected to persist.

Carissa Wong reports for Nature.

Keep reading...Show less
Former Australian leaders urge Coalition to exit Paris climate accord
Credit: Michael/Unsplash

Former Australian leaders urge Coalition to exit Paris climate accord

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and Keith Pitt have called for the Coalition to abandon the Paris climate agreement, while Prime Minister Anthony Albanese criticized opposition leader Peter Dutton for opposing emissions reduction targets.

Karen Middleton reports for The Guardian.

Keep reading...Show less
Burgum shifts from green policies to pro-oil stance amid Trump's campaign
Credit: Pixabay

Burgum shifts from green policies to pro-oil stance amid Trump's campaign

Doug Burgum, North Dakota’s Republican governor, has transitioned from promoting environmentally friendly policies to supporting the oil and gas industry as he aids Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Lisa Friedman reports forThe New York Times.

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
planetary health diet

This diet will likely keep you alive longer — and help the planet

New research finds the Planetary Health Diet lowers our risk to most major causes of death.

environmental justice

LISTEN: Jose Ramon Becerra Vera on democratizing science

“In their own way, they’re becoming experts, not just of their experiences but also of the data collection process.”

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

“Of all the levels of radium in produced water or brine around the world that I’ve looked at, I have encountered none that are consistently as high as what comes out of the Marcellus Shale.”

environmental justice pittsburgh

Environmental justice advocates find hope, healing and community in Pittsburgh

Advocates and researchers gathered to not only discuss ongoing fights but victories, self-care and cautious optimism about the path ahead.

air pollution pittsburgh

Amidst a controversial international sale, U.S. Steel falls behind in cleaner steelmaking

U.S. Steel’s proposed sale to Nippon Steel stokes concerns over labor rights and national security, all while the company continues to break clean air laws in Western Pennsylvania.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.