Virginia Sticks with Clean Car Rules

Virginia State Senate Democrats blocked legislation to withdraw the state from support of the California clean car rules, and vowed to keep such bills blocked throughout the legislative session.

It’s the latest struggle between state legislative Democrats who support keeping Virginia on the clean energy, climate action approach of the previous Democratic governor; and current Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin’s attempt to reverse course and move backwards to a dangerous fossil fuel future.

Other ongoing fights over Virginia’s energy and environmental future involve Youngkin’s continuing efforts to withdraw his state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which has helped reduce net state carbon emissions and fund state energy conservation efforts. 

Most recently, Youngkin told the Ford auto corporation to take their electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant proposal elsewhere. That decision could cost billions in investments and thousands of jobs for one of the poorest parts of the state. 

In Virginia’s 2021 elections, Youngkin led an electoral sweep by statewide Republican candidates, as well as majority control of the Virginia House of Delegates. The Virginia State Senate, however, remained narrowly in Democratic hands. (That Senate majority was bolstered by the Democratic win in a special election to fill an unexpired term earlier this month.) 

Due to the dramatically opposed stances on energy and climate policy taken by the leaders of Virginia’s two major parties, this struggle serves as another reminder of how much elections do matter for our environment.

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