ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — On Wednesday morning, environmental advocates gathered in Roanoke to show support for Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

According to officials, the program requires fossil-fuel-fired electric power plants to pay for each ton of carbon they emit.

However, Gov. Glenn Youngkin has said he wants to withdraw the Commonwealth from the multi-state partnership.

Emily Piontek, a field coordinator with Appalachian Voices, says she hopes the Roanoke rally on Wednesday, Aug. 31 will show officials there is public support behind the program.

“Personally, it just feels really exciting to me to have all these people show up, to be able to provide an opportunity for them to make their voices heard on climate here in this part of the state” said Piontek.

She adds that since Virginia entered the RGGI in 2020, there has been more than $378 million of critical funding.

Organizers also point to the recent flooding around Appalachia as a reason to continue to address climate change.

Meg Root, the sustainability program assistant for Roanoke, also spoke during the rally about the immediate impacts that RGGI has on the city and the importance of sustainability.

Rallies in five other Virginia localities were also set to take place on Wednesday.