Earlier last week Governor-Elect Youngkin stated he would use an Executive Order to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). In response Rev. Dr. Faith Harris, Co-Director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light issued the following statement:
“Governor-Elect Youngkin’s aspiration to withdraw Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative casts a dark cloud over the heads of Virginia communities on the brink of climate disaster. In Hampton Roads, Buchanan, and elsewhere flood-prone communities have been the recipients of the RGGI funds to mitigate the devastating impacts of flooding. Taking away funding for vulnerable frontline communities for flood mitigation and financing for low-income communities to lower their bills through energy efficiency is the wrong focus for the new administration.
A more impactful way to lower energy costs for Virginia families is to address Dominion Energy’s ever-changing tactics instead of grabbing even more unearned profits and keeping over earnings by breaking up its monopoly. Virginia’s participation in RGGI will only raise energy costs for ratepayers if the State Corporation Commission and the Governor agree to allow Dominion Energy to shift the cost of polluting our air and water, what it pays into RGGI, onto ratepayers. A cap and trade program like RGGI aims to reduce fossil fuel pollution from power plants. To allow Dominion Energy to pass along these fees to ratepayers de-incentivizes Dominion Energy from transitioning to clean energy resources.
The Biblical text speaks to the issues of the poor “the wicked and his pride prosecute the poor…for the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, he blesses the greedy…” (Psalm 10:2 -3). We urge the Governor-Elect to fight these proposed increases. Dominion has delayed repaying the 1 billion in overcharges it has already extracted from ratepayers in the last decade. A better way forward is to break up Dominion Energy’s monopoly and cap these new ways. It seeks to drain money from the pockets of hard-working families and skirt its responsibility to reduce carbon emissions.
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light stands with communities overburdened by high energy costs and who pay a disproportionate share of their income to Dominion Energy and other energy companies. We also stand for bold and decisive action to reduce carbon emissions created by energy production and protect Virginians from climate change’s increasing impacts. We call upon Governor-Elect Youngkin to provide leadership for a just transition to clean energy which will create thousands of high-paying green jobs, spur Virginia’s economy, and do our part to reduce the causes of global climate change.”
About Virginia Interfaith Power & Light: Virginia Interfaith Power & Light collaborates among people of faith and conscience to grow healthy communities by advancing climate and environmental justice. For more information, visit https://www.vaipl.org.