RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin announced Wednesday that he would seek to use his executive powers to withdraw the commonwealth from a northern states carbon cap-and-trade program he said has overburdened ratepayers and businesses.

Environmental attorneys and other advocates quickly shot back that Virginia’s participation, approved through legislation last year, could not be undone by the governor alone.

Youngkin’s remarks about the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program between 11 mid-Atlantic and northeast states designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, came during a speech he gave to the Hampton Roads Chamber.

Youngkin, who will take office in January, pledged to withdraw Virginia from the initiative through “executive action.”

“RGGI describes itself as a regional market for carbon. But it is really a carbon tax that is fully passed on to ratepayers. It’s a bad deal for Virginians. It’s a bad deal for Virginia businesses,” he said.

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