Governor Glenn Youngkin Says Virginia Will Ignore California Emissions Rules

On Wednesday, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) announced that, as of the end of 2024, the commonwealth will no longer attempt to enforce the vehicle emissions rules demanded by the state of California.

As reported by ABC News, Youngkin’s announcement comes after Attorney General Jason Miyares (R-Va.) released his opinion on Tuesday declaring that Virginia is not legally required to follow the orders of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The new CARB regulations are set to take effect on January 1st, 2025.

“EV mandates like California’s are unworkable and out of touch with reality, and thankfully the law does not bind us to their regulations,” said Miyares. “California does not control which cars Virginians buy and any thoughts that automobile manufacturers should face millions of dollars in civil penalties rather than allowing our citizens to choose their own vehicles is completely absurd.”

“Once again, Virginia is declaring independence –- this time from a misguided electric vehicle mandate imposed by unelected leaders nearly 3,000 miles away from the Commonwealth,” said Youngkin in a statement. He went on to call such vehicle regulations, including laws dictating which kinds of cars people can buy, “fundamentally wrong.”

“He seems to think he has more power than Vladimir Putin,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Surovell (D-Va.) following Youngkin’s announcement. “The governor is breaking the law and the AG is giving him cover.”

The far-left Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) also issued a statement falsely calling Youngkin’s decision “illegal,” as well as “shortsighted and bad policy.”

“The Clean Cars standards will help spur the transition to cleaner vehicles and bring significant health and environmental benefits to all Virginians,” said Trip Pollard, an SELC attorney. “That is why the General Assembly adopted them. The Governor tried to get the legislature to repeal the law and failed; he cannot just dictate a different outcome.”

Following Youngkin’s decision, the state of Virginia will return to federal standards for carbon emissions at the end of 2024. Natural and Historic Resources Secretary Travis Voyles confirmed on Wednesday that, as per Miyares’ declaration, state law in Virginia does not require the State Air Pollution Control Board to obey California’s rules.

Youngkin’s decision is the latest attempt to overturn previous strict “green” laws enacted back when Virginia was under complete Democratic control. In 2021, a “clean cars” law was passed by the then-Democratic state legislature and signed into law by then-Governor Ralph Northam (D-Va.). The law demands that a certain percentage of vehicles sold in Virginia be either electric or hybrid, starting in 2024. Republican attempts to have the law repealed have been unsuccessful.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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