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Now that Republicans control the House of Delegates, will the Clean Economy Act be revisited?

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Now that Republicans have won control of the Executive Mansion and the House of Delegates, will they be able to roll back some of the new environmental regulations approved by Democrats over the last two years?

The Virginia Clean Economy Act was a landmark piece of legislation for Democrats in 2020. It called for massive investments in offshore wind and zero carbon emissions by 2050. Now that Republicans will be controlling the administration and the House of Delegates, Steve Haner at the Thomas Jefferson Institute says the Clean Economy Act may require some cleaning up.

"The Clean Economy Act is definitely something that people want to revisit and amend," Haner explains. "Whether they want to repeal it outright that's another question. But amendments for sure, and I think the amendments can get through the House."

But the House is only half the story at the General Assembly. Democrats are still in control of the Senate, although they'll no longer have a lieutenant governor to break ties. Senator George Barker is a Democrat from Fairfax County who says Democrats may be able to prevent efforts to gut the Clean Economy Act from ever reaching the Senate floor.

"If the bill, a bill, does come over backing down on some of the climate change types of things from the House, and it's certainly possible it will," Barker says. "I think we have the ability to deal with it in the Senate and box it up and it'll probably never get to the floor and have the bill basically defeated in the committee."

That would be the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, which has 12 Democrats and only three Republicans.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.