Senate Votes To Kill Bills that Would Have Undone Popular Clean Energy, Climate Programs
RICHMOND, Va. – Today, Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) voted in the Agriculture Committee to block a bill to remove Virginia from participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program. The vote comes one day after another Senate committee killed a separate House bill to repeal the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which McClellan carried in the Senate in 2020.
A new Wason Center poll out Monday showed that 67% of Virginians support VCEA and RGGI, with strong support across party lines. 62% of Independents and 41% of Republicans support VCEA, along with 94% of Democrats, according to the poll.
“The Virginia Clean Economy Act and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative moved Virginia from the bottom of the pack to become a national leader in clean energy job creation and addressing climate change,” Sen. McClellan said. “These votes to protect the VCEA and RGGI show that Virginia remains committed to progress on climate. The Senate of Virginia stands with two-thirds of Virginians who support the VCEA and RGGI. Already, the VCEA is creating thousands of clean energy jobs across our Commonwealth and helping communities hit hard by climate change. Now is not the time to turn back the clock, we must continue to lead in the clean energy economy.”
McClellan has been a champion for clean energy and climate action in the Virginia legislature. She was the Senate patron of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which made Virginia the first southern state with a 100 percent clean electricity standard. McClellan was also the Senate patron of the Solar Freedom Act, a law to increase electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and the Pipeline Accountability, Oversight, and Protection of Virginia’s Water Act. McClellan was chief co-patron of the Virginia Clean Car Standard.
Since the VCEA’s passage in 2020, Virginia is now ranked in the top 5 states for solar energy installation, and Virginia has brought in thousands of new clean energy jobs, including 300 offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing jobs coming to the Portsmouth Marine Terminal. According to Advanced Energy Economy, Virginia has more than 93,000 clean energy jobs and is expected to see up to an 8 percent job growth in the sector.