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WASHINGTON, May 16 (Reuters) - Virginia's governor issued an order on Tuesday to lay the groundwork for a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants to "fill the void" left by the Trump administration, which has been rolling back federal climate rules.
Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Directive 11, an order instructing Virginia's environmental regulators to craft rules targeting power sector carbon emissions by Dec. 31.
McAuliffe specifically asked regulators to propose a rule for the state air pollution control board that would enable the state to participate in a multi-state carbon permit trading program such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative for northeastern states.
"As the federal government abdicates its role on this important issue, it is critical for states to fill the void. Beginning today, Virginia will lead the way to cut carbon...,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
The main federal environmental regulator, the Environmental Protection Agency, has been actively rolling back Obama administration rules aimed at combating climate change, including the Clean Power Plan that aimed to slash carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
McAuliffe said Virginia is especially sensitive to the impact of climate change and deals with the frequent threat of storm surges and flooding.
Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Dan Grebler