January 9, 2017
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Dear :

Today Governor-elect Ralph Northam announced that he will support legislation to formally join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and invest the proceeds into programs that benefit the public. This announcement marks a positive step forward by Virginia in its effort to address climate change and improve public health.

By joining RGGI, Virginia would realize tremendous economic, environmental and public health benefits. In this email, we are sharing with you some information on RGGI, why it has been a public health success, and how you can stay involved in this issue.

RGGI is a "cap and invest" or "cap and trade" program that has been reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants in nine Northeastern states since 2009. The program requires that electrical generating plants purchase an "allowance" for each metric ton of CO2 emitted during the generation of electricity. Requiring companies that generate electricity to pay for polluting rewards generators that are more efficient. The funds generated from purchasing allowances are typically invested in energy efficiency, clean energy and ratepayer assistance.

A study by Abt Associates (1) found that the reductions in air pollution in the RGGI states between 2009-2014 produced significant health co-benefits across the region. These benefits include:

  • 300-830 fewer premature deaths
  • 35-390 fewer non-fatal heart attacks
  • 420-510 fewer cases of acute bronchitis
  • 8,200-9,900 fewer asthma attacks, and 200-230 fewer asthma ER visits
  • 180-220 fewer hospital admissions for pollution-related disease
  • 39,000-47,000 fewer lost work days
  • >240,000 fewer days of restricted activity for individuals with pollution-related disease.

The best estimate of the total monetized benefit to citizens of RGGI states from these reductions in pollution-related disease is $5.7 billion.

As we move into the legislative session, we can be sure that opponents in Virginia will say that RGGI will stifle economic growth. That is not true. Results show that RGGI achieved impressive reductions in pollution as the economies of the member states grew, and the funds raised from RGGI created new jobs and investments in clean renewable energy.

For more information, Chesapeake PSR published a Health and Energy Brief that contains information on the economic, environmental and public health benefits of RGGI and why we believe Virginia should join RGGI.

If you would like to be a health advocate for RGGI, please contact us here. Lowering carbon emissions is one of Chesapeake PSR's main priorities this year. As we develop our plan to help make this happen, we hope you will join us in our effort. It won't happen without a sustained effort by all of us working together.


Timothy Whitehouse
Executive Director


(1) Abt Associates. 2017. Analysis of the Public Health Benefits of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Available at www.abtassociates.com/RGGI 





Chesapeake PSR is a strong health voice on issues of environment, social justice and peace. Our volunteer activists are medical and health professionals and interested individuals. Please volunteer with Chesapeake PSR, donate, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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