Youngkin vows to change ‘wrong’ Va. law that would ban new gas cars

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin vows to change a law that would require Virginians to follow California’s plan that would require all new vehicles to run on electricity by 2035, and ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars.

“The next step there is to work with our legislature to overturn that,” Youngkin told reporters during a visit to a Stafford, Virginia, high school. “Let’s be clear — what the Democratic legislature, what the Democratic governor did, was outsource the responsibility of governing Virginia.”

Youngkin’s predecessor, Ralph Northam, signed legislation last year that links the commonwealth’s emissions policies to the California Air Resources Board. The California board last week approved a plan to ban the sale of gas and diesel vehicles in the state by 2035.

”That bill, which actually cedes control of decision-making for Virginians, to California, is wrong,” he said. “Virginians should govern for Virginia.”

“We’re going to go to work to turn it around,” in Richmond, said Youngkin, who earlier in the week called the law “ridiculous” and “ludicrous,” and said he was “already at work to prevent this ridiculous edict from being forced on Virginians.”

He will likely face a fight in Richmond. While Republicans control the House of Delegates, Democrats, including Senate President L. Louise Lucas, control the Senate.

Environmental lawyer Trip Pollard, of the Southern Environmental Law Center, who helped craft the legislation Northam signed, told WTOP’s DMV Download on Wednesday that it’s not so simple.

“We’ve got a choice between California standards and the federal standards. Virginia cannot make up its own standards,” he said.

Pollard added, “We don’t want 50 different state standards that automakers have to meet,”

He also pointed out that almost every major manufacturer plans to be all-electric by 2035.

“This is where consumers want to go, and it’s also where the manufacturers want to go,” Pollard said.

Youngkin said he’s committed to seeing Virginia lawmakers changing the law.

“We’re elected by 8.6 million Virginians to go to work on their behalf, and that’s what I do every day.”

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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