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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Youngkin rolls back VA’s clean-car standards

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

Gov. Glenn Youngkin is rolling back Virginia's clean-car standards.

The General Assembly passed legislation adopting California's clean-car standards to reduce emissions in 2021. State Attorney General Jason Miyares issued an opinion saying Virginia's compliance with California's Air Resources Board is not required.

Connor Kish, director of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, said it will have vast implications.

"Steps that are being taken by the governor to unwind those standards are going to hurt air quality in Virginia," Kish contended. "If you look at where the air pollution occurs the most along highway corridors where impacted communities are going to bear a higher brunt of the tailpipe emissions."

Tailpipe exhaust makes up a majority of the state's carbon dioxide emissions. Last year, Republicans in the House passed a bill attempting to repeal the same standards.

A 2022 poll showed Virginians are overwhelmingly in favor of reducing emissions and moving to cleaner cars but Youngkin's move reduces the cleaner options available to consumers.

Some feel it aligns with Youngkin's environmental stance, although it was still unexpected.

Trip Pollard, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, feels it is akin to Youngkin pulling the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative last year. He said misinformation about the standards is guiding the governor's decision.

"One is this idea that Virginia has somehow abdicated its state sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats in California and that we can set our standards," Pollard noted. "We can't under the Clean Air Act."

Virginia's options, as with all other states, are to either use the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency or adopt more protective standards.

He added other misinformation being spread is about the environmental benefits of electric vehicles. The electricity used to power an EV in the state emits less than 17% of the carbon dioxide produced by a gas car.

Disclosure: The Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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