ALEC Policy Champions: Virginia Gov. Youngkin, Sec. Voyles, Senator Stuart, Senator McDougle and Del. Want to lead the exit from California’s EV mandate – American Legislative Exchange Council

An important victory for Virginia’s autonomy and the interests of its citizens

In a major victory for Virginia’s autonomy and the interests of its citizens, Governor Glenn Youngkin, Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles, Senator Richard Stuart, Senator Ryan McDougle and Representative Tony Wilt successfully led the effort to expel Virginia to remove the strict state of California. vehicle emissions mandate.

In 2021, the Virginia Legislature passed a law linking the state’s vehicle emissions standards to those of California’s Air Resource Board (CARB). The decision effectively transferred Virginia’s decision-making power to an unelected body of bureaucrats in California, led by Governor Gavin Newsom. The consequences of this voluntary surrender of sovereignty became abundantly clear when CARB voted to phase out the number of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, a mandate that would also apply to Virginia.

Governor Glenn Youngkin has been an outspoken critic of this legislative act. “I think this is just an absurd moment when legislators elected by Virginians, a governor elected by Virginians, have introduced a law that abdicates their responsibility to make these decisions for Virginians,” he noted in a interview. His leadership has played an important role in reducing this excess.

Secretary Travis Voyles, along with Senators Richard Stuart and Ryan McDougle and Representative Tony Wilt, played a critical role in drafting and advocating legislation to restore Virginia’s control over vehicle emissions standards. Their dedication allowed Virginia to create policies tailored to its unique needs, rather than conforming to California’s specific environmental challenges.

Historically, California has maintained higher emissions standards because of the specific geographic and atmospheric conditions that worsen air pollution. However, Virginia does not share these terms. Furthermore, market dynamics differ significantly; less than 2% of vehicles sold in Virginia last year were electric, compared to 16% in California. This discrepancy highlighted the impracticality of applying California’s standards to Virginia.

The principle of federalism underlines the importance of local solutions to local problems. By reaffirming Virginia’s sovereignty, Governor Youngkin and his team have reaffirmed this principle and ensured that Virginia’s policies are made by Virginians for Virginians. This step protects the state’s economy and respects the preferences and needs of its residents.

The challenges California faces, such as grid operators asking residents to reduce energy use (including electric vehicle charging) due to the threat of rolling power outages, further underscore the pitfalls of blindly adopting another state’s policy without taking into account take into account local circumstances and possibilities.

Governor Youngkin’s position was clear: “California, which has proven itself incompetent at governing its own state, why on earth would we import their laws into Virginia?” This sentiment resonated with many Virginians and legislators who saw the need to maintain independence from the Commonwealth.

We are proud of the efforts of Governor Glenn Youngkin, Secretary Travis Voyles, Senator Richard Stuart, Senator Ryan McDougle, and Representative Tony Wilt, and are pleased to award them the title of ALEC Policy Champions. Each has led the crucial fight to protect Virginia’s autonomy and ensure that policies reflect the state’s unique needs and priorities.

The leadership of these policy champions has set a precedent for other states to follow.

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