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RICHMOND—Governor Northam today vetoed House Bill 2269, which would prohibit the Commonwealth from entering into a regional program to reduce carbon dioxide air pollution from vehicles and other transportation sources 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 2269. 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 air pollution from vehicles and other transportation sources 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. The Governor and state agencies should not be limited in their ability to protect the environment and in turn, the citizens of the Commonwealth.
America’s leaders have taken several bipartisan actions to protect human health from air pollution, as they did with the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the amendments to it in 1977 and 1990. Slowing climate change and reducing its potentially devastating impacts should be no different, especially in a Commonwealth that faces some of the worst climate-related challenges of any state.
Like other air pollutants, the emissions that cause climate change do not respect state lines, district lines, or other political boundaries. In the absence of a federal plan, Virginia is obligated to join other states and face this threat to our collective public safety and economic health.
Finally, House Bill 2269 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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