RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A coalition of environmental groups announced plans July 31 to file a lawsuit to try to block Virginia from withdrawing from a multistate compact designed to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Southern Environmental Law Center filed notice with state regulators indicating the coalition’s intention to sue in Fairfax County Circuit Court to keep Virginia in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin made withdrawal from the compact a priority, citing its impact on the cost of electricity. The State Corporation Commission has estimated the typical monthly bill could increase by $2.00 to $2.50 for the years 2027 to 2030.

In June, the state’s Air Pollution Control Board voted 4-3 to repeal Virginia’s participation in the initiative.

The initiative is an effort by mid-Atlantic and Northeast states to reduce power plants’ carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system. In 2021, Virginia became the first Southern state to join the compact. Participating states require certain power plants to purchase allowances to emit carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

The environmental groups say that the Air Pollution Control Board doesn’t have the authority to withdraw from the initiative because the General Assembly voted in 2020 to join.

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