Press Room

Practical, Ambitious Virginia Clean Economy Act Passes General Assembly

The Commonwealth takes bold next step toward becoming first in the Southeast to pass clean energy standard legislation.

WASHINGTON – “Birds are telling us that it’s time to act on climate change and we need practical, ambitious climate solutions now more than ever. As the Virginia Clean Economy Act moves one step closer to state law, Virginia recognized that we don’t have time to waste,” said Renee Stone, vice president for climate at the National Audubon Society. “It is a substantial step to reducing carbon emissions and improving the future for climate-vulnerable birds – like the Piping Plover and Wood Thrush – and communities alike from the coasts of the Chesapeake Bay to the Blue Ridge Mountains as the impacts of climate change only increase.”

Today, the Virginia Clean Economy Act passed both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly with a 52-47 vote in the House of Delegates (HB 1526) and a 21-19 vote in the State Senate (SB 851). This legislation provides a blueprint for achieving a 100% carbon-free electricity grid and net-zero emissions by 2050, aligning with the goals of Audubon’s Climate Initiative and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The bill allows for better consumer choice in clean energy and the growth of a free energy market by strengthening the role of distributed generation. It creates a more reliable, efficient electricity grid in Virginia that is better prepared for the integration of renewable energy options by establishing an energy storage deployment target. The act also calls for Virginia to join 10 other states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which takes a regional approach to driving down and improving the regulation of emissions throughout the Northeast.

“Leadership from clean energy advocates and elected officials in a key southern state like Virginia illustrates the building momentum for climate action across the country – and for achieving a net-zero emissions economy nationwide. We urge Governor Northam and the General Assembly to continue on this course of climate leadership and hope it inspires others to adopt meaningful clean energy standard legislation,” said Stone.

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About Audubon
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

Media Contact: Chandler Lennon, chandler.lennon@audubon.org, 212.979.3063

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