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Virginia Adopts Regulation to Limit Carbon Pollution, Fight Climate Change

April 19, 2019

Contact: Greg Bilyeu


New rule will reduce power plant CO2 emissions by 30 percent in the next decade 

RICHMOND—Today the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board approved a new regulation to reduce and cap carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from large fossil fuel fired electric power generating facilities.

This regulation when implemented will reduce carbon emissions from these facilities by 30 percent by 2030, with an initial cap of 28 million tons of CO2. Virginia will become the 12th state in the nation, and the first southern state, to regulate carbon pollution.

Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler applauded the Board’s action: “Reducing climate pollution and the impacts of climate change is critically important to protecting public health, safety and the economic well-being of the Commonwealth. Today’s historic vote sets the Commonwealth on a path to slow global warming, and signals to clean energy businesses that Virginia is poised for a significant expansion of solar and wind power.”

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in communities in Virginia and across the country. According to the United States National Climate Assessment, in the absence of significant global action to reduce carbon pollution, rising temperatures, sea level rise, and more extreme weather events are expected to increasingly disrupt and damage critical infrastructure and property, labor productivity, and the vitality of our communities. The 2018 assessment finds that rising temperatures are projected to reduce the efficiency of power generation while increasing energy demands, resulting in higher electricity costs.

“Today, the Commonwealth of Virginia has taken a huge step toward protecting the environment and public health for Virginians. We will continue to explore all options to implement this rule in a cost-effective way,” said DEQ Director David Paylor.

The regulation passed today ensures that Virginia is “trading-ready” to allow for the use of market-based mechanisms and the exchange of CO2 allowances through a multi-state carbon market. In the coming months, the Northam Administration will continue to explore options that comply with state law to ensure that regulated entities are able to reduce pollution at the lowest cost through a number of market-based approaches.



Approval of the regulation comes after two years of regulatory actions. DEQ began work on the new regulation in 2017, subsequent to Executive Directive 11, by convening a regulatory advisory committee.  The committee’s recommendations were included in a draft regulation presented to the Air Board in Nov. 2017. The Board approved and DEQ published the draft regulation for public comments. After receiving thousands of public comments, DEQ presented a re-proposal of the regulation with a lower initial budget for emissions to the Board in Sept. and Oct. 2018. The Board approved the revision in Oct. 2018 and DEQ published the re-proposal for public comments. Prior to its vote today, the Board considered public comments received on the original proposal and the revised proposal. A detailed timeline is available on the agency’s website.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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