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PNS Daily Newscast - April 20, 2018 


The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

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Virginia DEQ Seeks Public Opinion on Limiting Carbon Emissions

Curbing pollution from power plants, that can cause or exacerbate health problems, is the goal of the Virginia DEQ's Carbon Reduction Plan. But will the plan be strong enough? (Adrienne Eichner)
Curbing pollution from power plants, that can cause or exacerbate health problems, is the goal of the Virginia DEQ's Carbon Reduction Plan. But will the plan be strong enough? (Adrienne Eichner)
March 22, 2018

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginians can still make their voices heard about the state Department of Environmental Quality's plan to reduce carbon emissions in Virginia by 2030.

The final public hearing was held on Monday and is followed by a nearly three-week public comment period that concludes on April 9. Following the comment period, the DEQ will release its plans of action that describes what it expects to change in upcoming years.

Kate Addleson, director of the Sierra Club's Virginia Chapter, is urging people to take the time to voice any changes they want to see.

"We would just strongly encourage people across the Commonwealth to take a minute and weigh in, let the Department of Environmental Quality and Gov. Northam's team know," Addleson said.

Opponents of the plan believe it will make Virginia-based businesses less competitive, and that carbon emissions from non-fossil-fuel sources, such as wood, should be considered "carbon neutral" and not regulated.

More than 350 Virginians attended the six hearings across the state, and about 150 voiced their opinions in favor of reducing the amount of carbon emissions, mainly emissions from fossil-fuel-burning power plants.

The Virginia Carbon Reduction Plan is supposed to reduce these power-plant emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030.

Addleson's group and others would like to see more actions by the state, such as ensuring that the plan will work past 2030, and that lower-income communities affected the most by harmful emissions are monitored to ensure that their situations are improving.

Addleson predicts the release after the public comment period will provide much insight into what the future emission numbers will look like.

"We expect to see a final standard release from the Department of Environmental Quality that will basically provide a roadmap for Virginia," she explained, "and help our utility companies – as well as those of us who are residents or have businesses in the state – to know what the future of energy is going to look like in Virginia, and what to expect."

This carbon reduction plan is a similar approach that nine other states have taken to reduce their own carbon emissions as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), commonly known as "Reggie."

If the plan goes through, Virginia will be linked directly to the initiative, which includes New York and Maryland.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - VA