Read a PDF of our statement here
NAACP Virginia State Conference (Virginia NAACP) strongly opposes the attempt to remove the Commonwealth of Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and urges Governor Glenn Youngkin to cease his removal effort and instead direct the relevant agencies to timely disburse RGGI funds and technical support to our communities in need.
As mandated by law in 2020, Virginia joined the multi-state RGGI program to generate funds while also decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. Understanding how crucial additional funding is needed to promote community building and resiliency in already harmed areas, the law rightly directs 50% of all generated RGGI revenue to low-income energy efficiency programs and 45% to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund (CFPF), with at least a quarter of those flood funds required to be disbursed in low-income areas. These funds maximize existing programs to create healthier and thriving communities through enhancing community flood prevention and protection programs and helping families and individuals of low-wealth reduce their energy bills by installing energy efficiency and weatherization improvements.
The stark reality is that communities need the financial assistance RGGI generates. As recently reported, for example, “Norfolk has the highest rate of sea level rise on the East Coast,” and areas like Buchanan, Alexandria, the Northern Neck, and Christiansburg, to name a few, are experiencing residential, commercial, and agricultural damage from frequent flooding. In addition, heavier rain events overburden stormwater and drainage systems, exceeding capacity. These communities need effective mitigation and protective solutions now, and RGGI delivers: to date, Virginia’s only proactive flood prevention program, the CFPF, received over $265 Million from RGGI. There is no other funding source for flooding in Virginia. Furthermore, RGGI delivered nearly $300 million for low and moderate income Virginians for energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades.
Virginia NAACP joins the voices of over 8,000 Virginians who provided comments supporting Virginia remaining in RGGI. Governor Youngkin must listen to his constituents, remain in RGGI, and follow state law by directing agencies to disperse RGGI funds to those Virginians that need them most, as required by the law.