Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: March 14, 2019
Contacts: Alenaa Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Vetoes Legislation Limiting Commonwealth’s Ability to Combat Power Plant Pollution

RICHMOND—Governor Northam today vetoed House Bill 2611, which would prohibit the Commonwealth from entering into a regional program to reduce carbon dioxide air pollution from power plants unless authorized by two-thirds of the General Assembly. This measure violates the Virginia Constitution and would significantly undercut efforts to reduce air pollution and combat climate change. The Governor’s veto statement is below.

March 14, 2019

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 2611. This bill would prohibit the Governor, local governments, and a majority of those voting in the General Assembly from enacting or entering any regional program to reduce carbon dioxide air pollution from power plants unless explicitly authorized by a super-majority (two-thirds) vote of the General Assembly.

Climate change, extreme weather, and sea level rise endanger public safety, economic vitality and the natural and built environments. To address these challenges and protect the people of Virginia, the Commonwealth must be able to use all available tools to combat climate change. 

These tools include the ability to adopt regulations, rules, and guidance that mitigate the impacts of climate change by reducing carbon pollution in the Commonwealth. In addition, allowing energy producers to comply with regulation through credit trading would lessen costs to producers and consumers while generating revenue that could be spent to make Virginia more resilient to extreme weather events, sea level rise, and flooding.

We should not be limited in our ability to protect the environment and in turn, the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Further, House Bill 2611 violates two provisions of the Virginia Constitution: Article III, Section 1 (Separation of Powers) and Article IV, Section 11 (Enactment of Laws).

Accordingly, I veto this bill.



Ralph S. Northam

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