Attorney General Mark R. Herring has fought for clean air and water, open spaces, clean energy, and to hold polluters accountable. He has been a consistent voice for progress in developing clean energy and addressing climate change because of Virginia’s unique vulnerability to climate change and sea-level rise.
Most recently, Attorney General Herring and his team successfully defended one of Virginia’s most significant climate change mitigation programs—participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)—against a legal challenge that sought to terminate the regulations that allow the Commonwealth to operate its CO2 Budget Trading Program.
He has made Virginia the first Chesapeake Bay state to successfully defend the Bay cleanup plan in court against a legal attack by out-of-state special interests and attorneys general from states as far away as Alaska.
In 2016, Attorney General Herring secured the largest environmental damages settlement in Virginia history. He has also brought successful enforcement actions against polluters who damage Virginia waterways.
As part of the “Green 20,” Attorney General Herring is working with a group of his fellow attorneys general who have committed to addressing climate change, protect progress made in recent years, and promote cleaner energy. Attorney General Herring is defending President Obama’s Clean Power Plan in court because it is an ambitious, achievable, and lawful roadmap for enjoying the health, environmental, and economic benefits of cleaner air. He has opposed the Trump Administration’s attempts to withdraw the Clean Power Plan and kill pending litigation regarding its lawfulness.
In official opinions, Attorney General Herring has clarified and confirmed the ability of the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and the authority of local governments to regulate “fracking.” Working with then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Attorney General Herring has helped grow solar, wind, and renewable energy sectors in Virginia, including new solar projects that will power state government facilities.
Attorney General Herring fought in court to defend Virginia’s conservation easement tax credit program and spoke out strongly in opposition to President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and Chesapeake Bay Program.