As the commonwealth's most costly natural disaster, flooding affects Virginians regardless of where they live, from the Shenandoah Valley to the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia recognized this threat when, in 2020, the General Assembly enacted legislation to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and dedicated a portion of the revenues to establish the Community Flood Preparedness Fund. Since that time, hundreds of millions of dollars have been provided to flood-prone communities to develop resilience plans that identify vulnerabilities; increase local technical capacity and expertise; and fund mitigation projects to reduce flood damage such as installing living shorelines, protecting wetlands, or developing new stormwater management projects. The fund represents Virginia's only funding source for community scale flood mitigation projects.
Unfortunately, Governor Glenn Youngkin's administration continues to push to withdraw Virginia from RGGI, a move that would jeopardize the commonwealth's preparedness for future flooding. Despite public opposition to the idea of a withdrawal from RGGI, the Youngkin administration has issued a questionable withdrawal regulation that conflicts with existing law passed by the General Assembly.
The pending regulation is up for public comment. With your help, we can encourage the Youngkin administration to reverse course and maintain Virginia's participation in RGGI as a way to make sure the commonwealth stays flood-ready.
To whom it may concern:
As your constituent, I urge you to reverse course on this regulation and maintain Virginia's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Among other important benefits to my community, participation in RGGI underpins the Community Flood Preparedness Fund, a program critical to preparing Virginians for more frequent and costly flooding. This fund represents the only dedicated funding source for community-scale flood mitigation projects in Virginia. Pulling out of RGGI will leave Virginia woefully unprepared for future floods, our most costly natural hazard.
Authorized by the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in 2020, the Community Flood Preparedness Fund provides flood-prone localities with grants for projects and planning initiatives designed to reduce their flood risk. This kind of spending on risk reduction is prudent, as research shows that every $1 invested in disaster mitigation can save at least $6 in future costs. Polls indicate that 84% of registered voters in Virginia—across party lines—favor a state-run fund to help owners of homes and businesses invest in measures to reduce flood risk in their communities. And already, communities like mine are taking advantage of this valuable program and are working to build a flood-safe future for Virginia.
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I urge you to ensure Virginia's continued participation in RGGI.
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