Earlier this year, Gov. McAuliffe issued an executive order directing state regulators to come up with rules that would limit carbon emissions from power plants in the wake of President Trump’s rollback of the Clean Power Plan. In mid-November, Virginia regulators gave preliminary approval to the plan.
Under the proposal approved by the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board, the state would cap emissions from most power plants—about 33 across the state—beginning in 2020, followed by a 30 percent reduction over the following decade. Virginia would also become the first Southern state with a carbon cap-and-trade program. Power plants that are eligible would be required to participate in this program, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Michael Dowd, director of the air and renewable energy division of the Department of Environmental Quality, told the Associated Press that, based on preliminary modeling, ratepayer increases are expected to be less than 2 percent more than what they would already have been without this plan.
The plan is now open for public comment and potential changes, and the Air Pollution Control Board will vote again on a final version, which could take a year.