Some people believe that electricity just magically appears when you ip a switch. That is not too bad, if you are ve years old. After that, you ought to have been taught by your parents that it isn’t free and should only be used when you need it. Doing things like turning off lights when you aren’t using them and not turning the thermometer too high or too low helps. Parents should teach their children that money spent on electric bills is money that can’t be spent on other things you like to do or have. It appears some parents didn’t teach their children very well.
There are too many who have no idea how electricity is made and what it costs to get it from its source to your home or business. Regrettably, Governor Northam is one of those. He seems to believe that the power companies can produce electricity from one source as cheaply as the next. In turn, he must believe they can simply ignore those costs and charge you the same price for the power you use.
Recently, he proposed that Virginia become the state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional compact created to limit carbon dioxide emissions from large electric plants. Joining Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. It uses a cap and trade system with declining caps on emissions, coupled with a carbon tax on each ton of emitted carbon dioxide.
It will work like this:
RGGI membership will raise electric prices in the form of a carbon tax consumers will end up paying. All existing RGGI states have higher electricity prices than Virginia, several of them more than 50 percent higher. That carbon tax, which will be paid by consumers in the form of higher electric rates, is expected to be $6 billion over several years. Effectively that will become a $6 billion tax that the Governor expects you to pay and then he and his allies can then rant about the evil power companies.
Virginia should not join RGGI and impose a carbon tax on CO2 emissions from electric power plants within the state. This will hurt Virginia’s economy and it offers very little benefit.
Currently Virginia is steadily reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere and will continue to do so without the heavy hand of state government. A major factor in that reduction is the natural gas plants that have been built in the last decade. Gas can produce power cleaner and much more efficiently than coal and cheaper when additional gas can be transported to Virginia by pipelines. Currently, solar and wind are now being subsidized by you, the taxpayer, through federal tax and state incentives. This will continue for the foreseeable future.
The RGGI goal of 30 percent reductions over 10 years will not satisfy environmental activists convinced that carbon dioxide is causing catastrophic climate change. The most often stated goals range from 50 to 100 percent electricity generation from non-carbon sources. Once Virginia joins RGGI, more drastic reductions will probably be demanded.
All of us want clean air, but when your electric bill grows by multiples because of this plan, many will not be able to absorb these increases. Do not at all be surprised when someone proposes that it become a responsibility of the state to help those misfortunate families.
Not only will this plan harm the ratepayers and the taxpayers, it will also affect our region in other ways. In Halifax and other counties, the power companies have spent millions to build plants over the years. These are assets those counties tax to pay for schools and other services. Likewise, these good paying jobs will be lost to the area.
While the existing proposal to join RGGI calls for the carbon tax proceeds to be returned to ratepayers, Governor Ralph Northam and other Democrats will wish to spend the tax dollars on other priorities.
The next time you hear someone talking about the Green New Deal, whether at the state level or the federal level, remember that it will affect your family in ways they aren’t mentioning.
FRANK RUFF JR. represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@verizon.net.