Friday, June 30, 2023

ICYMI: RGGI is Nothing More Than a Tax

Commonwealth of Virginia

Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin

In Case You Missed It:

RGGI is Nothing More Than a Tax

The Richmond Times-Dispatch

By Delegate Chris Head

Fact check: The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is really a tax that does nothing to actually reduce carbon pollution. The Times-Dispatch has printed multiple letters misrepresenting RGGI, an interstate compact that applies a regressive tax on every Virginian who uses electricity. RGGI requires power producers to purchase an off set for every ton of carbon emitted by their facilities. Unlike any other state in RGGI, Virginians get their electricity from regulated utilities with complete monopoly, and the entire cost is passed on to customers. The cut-and-paste talking points just don't work. The cost of buying the RGGI off sets is applied across the board in an add-on to customers' bills, hitting everyone regardless of their power usage.

The state's largest utility, Dominion Energy, could not be more clear about the fact that the tax does nothing to reduce carbon pollution, stating: "RGGI does not further this goal but instead imparts unnecessary additional costs on Virginia customers with no evidences of incremental benefits." Proponents argue that RGGI taxes fund important priorities, especially resiliency to flooding. This should be funded directly by the governor and General Assembly with taxes collected by and controlled by leaders elected by Virginians. Gov. Glenn Youngkin has proposed, and both chambers of the General Assembly support, over $600 million in environmental improvements, with a full $100 million of that dedicated to resiliency.

The right path forward is to continue to fund those priorities without resorting to a backdoor tax that drives up the cost of living in the commonwealth.

Del. Chris Head


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Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Governor Youngkin Announces Expansion of Forest Products Company in Wythe County

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin



Office of the Governor

Contact: Macaulay Porter


Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services 

Contact: Michael Wallace 



Musser Biomass and Wood Products, LLC 

Contact: Ed Musser  


Governor Youngkin Announces Expansion of Forest Products Company in Wythe County

Musser Biomass and Wood Products to create new jobs in Southwest Virginia and double production to meet surging customer demand

RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin announced today that Musser Biomass and Wood Products, a division of family-owned and -operated Musser Lumber Company, will invest $7.5 million and create ten new, high-paying jobs to expand its operation in Wythe County. The expansion will more than double production of dried hardwood chips and sawdust the company supplies to composite decking manufacturers, plastic extrusion companies, and BBQ and heating wood pellet companies. Musser Biomass and Wood Products will also significantly increase its purchase volumes of hardwood residuals from regional sawmills, which will create a new market for this operational byproduct. 

“Virginia’s forestry industry adds more than $23 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy and employs over 108,000 Virginians, making it our third largest private sector industry,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Supporting companies like Musser Biomass and Wood Products helps to keep this industry strong and also spurs economic development in our rural communities.” 


“I commend the Musser family for investing in the equipment and facilities needed to better connect Virginia forestland owners with the fast-growing market of wood residuals,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “I am pleased that the Commonwealth could partner with Wythe County through the Governor’s AFID Fund to support the expansion of this long-standing family business.”  

Established in 1968 by Mike Musser and his sons Ed and Mick, Musser Lumber Company specializes in drying, surfacing, and planing of hardwood lumber for flooring and paneling. The company sources lumber from dozens of sawmills and plays an important role in the supply chain for Virginia forest products by packing and shipping Virginia hardwood lumber to customers across the country and around the world. In 2020, in an opportunity to expand its operations, the Mussers established Musser Biomass and Wood Products, which has enabled the company to purchase sawdust and wood chips from their mill supply base and grow its sales of these materials. Musser Biomass and Wood Products plans to bring on a second dryer this year and then open a pulpwood and log yard to supply its dryer operations. 

“We continue to execute our long-term plans to make Musser Biomass and Wood Products the top source for hardwood fiber solutions in the biomass industry. From heating and BBQ pellets, composite decking and other biomass markets, we are truly redefining the dry wood fiber market,” said Musser Biomass and Wood Products President Ed Musser. “We are very appreciative of the support we have received from both our local administrators and the Governor.” 

“This homegrown company continues to expand both their facility footprint and their capacity to bring superior products to a variety of hardwood markets,” said Wythe County Board of Supervisors Chairman Brian Vaught. “The Wythe County Board of Supervisors applauds Musser Lumber on its impressive growth and extends congratulations to the Musser family.” 

“When Musser Lumber Company and Musser Biomass and Wood Products grow, it’s good for the people of Wythe County and all of Southwest Virginia,” said Chairman of the Joint Industrial Development Authority of Wythe County David Kause. “For two generations, this family’s businesses have led the way in the wood products industry, and they continue to lead today. The Joint Industrial Development Authority and its board and staff join in applauding this investment.” 

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Wythe County and the Joint Industrial Development Authority of Wythe County to secure the project for the Commonwealth. Governor Youngkin approved a $75,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which Wythe County will match with local funds. 

Today’s announcement builds on the success of the company’s 2020 AFID award, which funded the purchase of a state-of-the-art, high-efficiency wood residual drying system, by adding a second such system. Manufactured by Belgium-based DRYER ONE, these units use lower temperatures and higher airflow to process over 80,000 tons of wood fiber annually, all while using 30% less energy and producing less dust and volatile organic compound pollution.  

“As a proud native of Southwest Virginia, I am delighted to see the Commonwealth supporting hard working family businesses in this region,” said Senator Todd Pillion. “Musser Biomass and Wood Products’ continued expansion not only provides jobs that support the citizens and families of Wythe County, that expansion is also compounded with the downstream reinvestment of those dollar in other local businesses and services.” 

“The Musser family has been serving and investing in Wythe County since 1968 and I am pleased to see the Commonwealth continuing to support their efforts, not once but twice,” said Delegate Jeff Campbell. “This state grant, matched by local dollars, has far reaching impact beyond Wythe County and will have a true economic impact for Southwest Virginia.” 

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Friday, June 23, 2023

Good Morning, Pennsylvania: Grocery sales; school vouchers; I-95 update