Virginia Governor Vetoes Bill Preventing Participation in Regional Carbon-Trading Program

Democratic Governor Ralph Northam vetoed legislation on March 14 that would prohibit the state from joining a regional carbon program to reduce power plant emissions, without a two-thirds majority vote from both the legislative chambers. Northam also vetoed a similar bill related to limiting emissions from vehicles, saying that the measures violate the state constitution and would undermine efforts to combat climate change. (HB 2611, HB 2269)

Virginia is considering its own proposed cap-and-trade rule designed to link with the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, the nation’s first mandatory cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Last December, Virginia joined eight Northeast and mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia to devise a regional, low-carbon transportation policy proposal that would cap and reduce emissions from transportation fuels, and invest proceeds from the program into low-carbon and more resilient transportation infrastructure.

Northam vetoed a proposal (HB 1270) last year, which would have required a majority vote by the House and Senate, in order to join the RGGI.