March 16, 2022 News & Press Releases

2022 Legislative Recap: Virginia Democrats Won’t Budge on Combating Climate Change and Protecting the Environment

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Richmond, VA – This session, Democrats went big and fought for generational investments in preserving and protecting our environment and funding the fight against climate change.  Gov. Youngkin and Republicans attempted to roll back our progress and worsen the ongoing effects of climate change by:

  • Slashing hundreds of millions in funding for key environmental and land conservation programs.
  • Appointing Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist and Trump crony as Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources.
  • Withdrawing Virginia from the RGGI, which would have cut $180 million for clean energy and flood preparedness.
  • Slashing an additional $26 million for agricultural Best Management Practices that support local farmers and foresters.
  • Repealing key provisions of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, weakening our transition to clean energy.
  • Gutting Virginia’s clean car standard, which is essential to reducing dangerous emissions.

Virginia Democrats fought tooth and nail and killed Republican attempts to weaken our defenses and ensure Virginia remains a leader in the fight against climate change. Democrats also included major funding initiatives in their budget:

  • Funding Virginia’s agricultural Best Management Practices.
  • Providing over $100 million to address combined sewage overflow.
  • Securing tens of millions in funding for land conservation and state parks.

“The Democratic Party is the only party in Virginia dedicated to tackling the worsening effects of climate change, which is causing major flooding in our communities, polluting our air and waters and putting our future at risk, and this session is evidence,” said DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “Since day one of the session, Republicans launched attack after attack on our environment, attempting to install a coal lobbyist and Trump’s former EPA head to ‘protect’ our natural resources and remove Virginia from the RGGI. Virginia Democrats have sent a clear message to Governor Youngkin and his allies – that we will not budge when it comes to protecting our environment and combating the effects of climate change.”