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Virginia Democrats Force State To Adopt California’s Crackdown On Gas Cars

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Multiple Republican attempts to repeal a 2021 law that aimed to curb carbon emissions by linking state regulations to California regulations were rejected Tuesday by the Virginia Senate Democrats.

Multiple GOP-introduced measures were ultimately defeated by senators on the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee. They had been combined into one measure in a party-line vote 8-7. Virginia Republicans including Gov. Glenn Youngkin and other Virginia Republicans have vocally opposed the 2021 legislation. They argue that it threatens grid reliability, and requires the state to take unrealistic measures.

“As the governor stated,” Macaulay Porter, a spokesperson of Youngkin, said in an statement.

Former Democratic Governor. Ralph Northam, a former Democratic governor signed the Clean Cars bill in March 2021. This legislation was intended to support Virginia’s clean-energy transition and increase the number of electric cars sold throughout the state. Environmental groups praised the bill. It also requires Virginia to adopt California’s tailpipe emissions standards.

Republicans opposed Clean Cars legislation when Northam signed it into statute. They again voiced their disapproval in August when a California agency for environmental protection proposed a rule that would require all new vehicles to be electric and ban new sales of gas-powered cars, beginning in 2035. Virginia must adopt the same rule under its 2021 law.

Youngkin pledged in his 2022 Energy Plan, released in October, to “repeal” the legislative mandate that ties Virginia to California’s mandate for electric vehicles to preserve grid reliability. He stated that he would “prevent the ridiculous edict being forced upon Virginians.”

The measures that Democrats rejected on Tuesday were introduced by Republicans.

“The vote today shows Youngkin’s attacks on Virginia’s bedrock climate laws have a dead end. He should stand for pollution progress, not oppose it,” stated Walton Shepherd, Virginia policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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