Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Virginia are fighting an increasingly intense battle over their states’ potential participation in a regional carbon trading market, putting the two swing states on the sidelines of a critical review that will shape the program’ s future.

New legislation in both states aims to determine whether they are in or out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, marking yet another round of volatility for a program that has already been the subject of court battles.

RGGI released an updated timeline for the review, which kicked off in 2021, extending it by nearly a year from its original estimated completion in January 2023 to December 2023 — yet it continues in 2024.

The delays are largely attributable to the uncertainties in the two states’ participation, said Paola Tamayo, policy analyst at Acadia Center, a climate advocacy nonprofit.

“It’s an indication of the sort of state versus regional tension that has persisted for a long time,” said Jamie Dickerson, senior director of climate and clean energy programs at Acadia Center. “But for all the frustrations of a little bit of a stop and start program review process, I think the RGGI states are still in it to win it. They’re seeing the benefits of the program.”

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