Will Virginia Be Ruled from Sacramento?

by Kerry Dougherty

Turns out former Gov. Ralph Northam is the gift that keeps on giving.

Not only do Virginia’s school children continue to suffer academically because of Northam’s hasty, hysterical and prolonged school closures, but most of us were shocked this week to learn that California’s boneheaded new rules regarding a draconian move to electric vehicles will apply to the Old Dominion as well, thanks to a bill Northam signed into law in 2021, linking Virginia to California’s clean air standards, the strictest in the world.

Lucky us.

Before the California measure was finalized last week, Steve Haner wrote for the Suffolk News-Herald that thanks to Northam and his Democratic cronies in the General Assembly, we are now serfs to California’s wacky politics.

Virginia’s auto industry overlords in California have a new set of proposed mandates for both electric and internal combustion vehicles that, once adopted, will automatically apply here in the commonwealth.

They do not advance the date for banning the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles earlier than 2035 but do increase the incremental targets for percentage of EV sales in earlier years.

Virginia’s dying news media cannot cover this state anymore, so don’t expect coverage of actions in Sacramento. And, of course, the corporate media is now dominated by editors, writers and owners committed to the war on fossil fuels…

The claim is that adopting this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2040, which is conceivable only if the claim applies solely to motor vehicle emissions. The slide also shows vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions going down about 20% in that period if these regulations are not imposed. The regulations have even less impact on vehicle nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions, also dropping on their own…

Bowing under federal regulations is one thing, as Virginians get to vote for members of Congress and the president. No one in Virginia votes for California’s legislators or governor (or can sign a California initiative and referendum petition).

But we do vote on the Virginia legislature again in 16 (15) months.

In other words, Virginians are now bound by far-left climate rules dreamed up by Californians.

How did we get to such an insane place? By giving control of the General Assembly and the Governor’s Mansion to Democrats, however briefly. Like their radical counterparts in Washington, left-wing politicians in Richmond proved to be talented at doing a great deal of damage in a short amount of time.

In 2021, the liberal Virginia Mercury described HB1965 and the rest of the climate package this way:

Preeminent within the package was House Bill 1965 from Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Henrico. Bagby’s clean cars bill allows the State Air Pollution Control Board to adopt not only California’s low-emission vehicle standards, which are stricter than those imposed by the federal government, but also its zero-emission vehicle standards that set binding targets for electric vehicle sales as a proportion of all sales by manufacturers in the state.

Now that Virginia has come to its senses and wrenched partial control from the hands of Democrats, conservative leaders say they will try to undo the damage done by their predecessors. That won’t be easy unless at least one Democrat in the Virginia Senate defects.

“House Republicans will advance legislation in 2023 to put Virginians back in charge of Virginia’s auto emission standards and its vehicle marketplace. Virginia is not, and should not be, California,” House Speaker Todd Gilbert said in a statement.

Look, electric vehicles are fine. If you want one. But why would Virginia adopt the radical plans of a state which is undergoing an exodus of citizens eager to escape the laws coming out of Sacramento?

According to CNBC, the population of California has been declining for 30 years, with 360,000 Californians moving to other states in 2021.

Where did they head? Not to leftie paradises like New York or Massachusetts. Instead, they went to Texas and Florida.

A poll of Virginians would undoubtedly show that they don’t want to live in California either. But here we are, thanks to Northam and company.

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.