Hartford, CT - Today, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) commended State Rep. Matthew Lesser (D-100 Middletown) for his leadership on environmental issues throughout his time in the Connecticut General Assembly.
"Rep. Lesser has been a champion for clean water, climate change education, wildlife protection, and land conservation," said CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown. "He fought hard for the State Water Plan and public trust in water, and has been a tireless champion for green spaces and conservation. Throughout his time in the General Assembly, Rep. Lesser has kept the door open to his constituents. He heard their concerns about the environment and put their words into action. We at CTLCV are deeply proud of the work he has done to keep our air and water clean and protect our environment for generations to come."
"Here in Middletown, we've seen the benefits of Rep. Lesser's hard work and commitment to our citizens," said John Hall, local environmental advocate and Portland resident. "When we discovered snapping turtle traps in the Floating Meadows back in 2012, Rep. Lesser heard our distress and leapt into action. He convened DEEP wildlife personnel, biologists, advocates, and legislators. He worked with the citizens of Middletown and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ban the commercial trade of those turtles. This year, his bill passed, one of his many achievements fighting for Middletown's environment.”
“Matt has been an ardent leader and a go-to person for us in the county as he supported legislative initiatives that protect our environment,” said Tony Marino, a long-time advocate for the Connecticut River lower valley. “The District that Matt currently represents is concentrated in the northern part of the county in Middletown, but he has been an environmental leader for all of Middlesex County.”
During the last legislative session, Rep. Lesser co-sponsored and worked to pass:
Rep. Lesser authored important legislation to ban the disposal of fracking waste in Connecticut. CTLCV has repeatedly recognized him as an Environmental Champion for his tireless efforts to protect our clean water and air, wildlife, and open spaces. More information on Rep. Lesser is available here.
As the federal government continues to weaken safeguards and regulations, CTLCV is strengthening its commitment to work with leaders across the state to make the environment a priority.
Hartford, CT - Today, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) applauded Governor Dannel P. Malloy's signing of Public Act 18-82: Climate Change Planning and Resiliency and Public Act 18-50: Connecticut's Energy Future.
"Connecticut continues to lead the way in the fight against climate change," said CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown. "Even as the EPA and federal government weaken regulations and undermine the last administration's efforts to reduce emissions, Connecticut has stepped up to enforce tougher standards and invest in renewable energy. Now more than ever, we need leaders who are committed to continuing the environmental legacy Governor Malloy has forged.
"We've heard from our members on both sides of the aisle that clean energy is one of their highest priorities—and it's no surprise. Clean energy helps us lower our carbon footprint, create new jobs around green technology, and lower energy prices for businesses and homeowners. As we prepare to make our endorsements in the 2018 election, we at CTLCV are paying close attention to lawmakers who are ready to take up the fight against climate change."
CTLCV supported both of these bills throughout the 2018 legislative session.
Hartford, CT - Today, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) attended Governor Dannel P. Malloy's announcement ordering the implementation of the State Water Plan. This comprehensive plan balances the needs of conservation, economic development, recreation, and ecological health.
"Special interests and utility giants blocked the State Water Plan to keep the people of Connecticut from having authority over the management of their own water," said CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown. "Our water is a public trust, and the residents of Connecticut have a right to decide how it's used. This session saw significant lobbying from utility companies at the expense of Connecticut families. Lawmakers bowed to special interests when they failed to bring the State Water Plan up for a vote. Thankfully, Governor Malloy has been a champion on this issue, and we at the CTLCV applaud him for his foresight and conviction.
"As the CTLCV prepares to make endorsements for the 2018 election, we are paying close attention to those lawmakers who fought for the environment and stood up to special interests. While voters may not be able to hold utility companies accountable at the polls, they can certainly take action against lawmakers who put special interests ahead of the people they serve. Our upcoming Environmental Scorecard will report on the battle over the public trust and the State Water Plan during this recent legislative session."
The State Water Plan was developed by the Water Planning Council through an exhaustive, transparent process complete with a lengthy period for public comments. The 2018 legislative session ended without legislative review or approval by the CGA.
The CTLCV will be releasing its Environmental Scorecard online at www.ctlcv.org.
Hartford, CT - Today, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) announced the hiring of Joshua Claudio as the new Director of Development and Amanda Schoen as the new Director of Communications.
"We are thrilled to bring both Joshua and Amanda onto our team," said Executive Director Lori Brown. "This is a critical time as we prepare for the upcoming election, and Joshua and Amanda bring the passion and experience we need to grow our membership, connect with voters, and make sure lawmakers and candidates understanding the importance of the environment to their constituents."
Joshua Claudio has more than a decade of experience managing annual giving and donor relations programs, and most recently served as the national director of annual giving at Students Against Destructive Decisions. He has previously served on the Boards of the Boys and Girls Club of America (North Shore), Veterans Foundation, and the RDS Theological Institute.
Amanda Schoen brings a wealth of political and public relations experience to the team. She has previously served as Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman John B. Larson and as Communications Director for U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson. Additionally, she has consulted for numerous state, local, and national campaigns on strategy and communications.
Hartford, CT - In the absence of federal leadership, and building on a string of clean energy policy wins in states, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters(CTLCV) is joining with the national League of Conservation Voters and Leagues across the nation to double down on our progress towards a clean energy economy at the state and local level. The Leagues are launching network-wide “Clean Energy for All” campaign to move the country closer to the goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.
With an initial investment of over $2 million, the network of organizations is collectively engaging at the state and local level by:
In Connecticut, the national rollout of this campaign coincides with a key set of votes at the State Legislature’s Energy and Technology committee. With our renewable energy goals lagging behind our neighboring states, Connecticut is at a crossroads as lawmakers consider whether to increase mandates for renewable power and support a shared solar program that would expand equitable access to clean energy. At the same time, advocates are fighting efforts that would weaken critical clean energy programs like net-metering.
“Fighting for clean energy is not new, but at this critical time this campaign represents an ambitious new approach for our family of organizations by unleashing local campaigns across the country that collectively add up to a significant shift to a clean energy economy,” said Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters President.
“The demand for clean energy is going up and the price keeps going down. This campaign is about breaking down the remaining barriers that keep affordable clean energy and pollution-free communities from being accessible to everyone. And it’s about putting the power to make that happen in the hands of voters, instead of polluters,” said Lori Brown, CTLCV Executive Director. “We need the right policies in place to ensure clean energy continues to grow. We must elect climate champions who will prioritize our transition to a 100% clean energy economy.”
According to the League, the transition to clean energy is urgently needed and achievable with existing technology – and it is already underway. Wind and solar now compete and win on costs with outdated fossil fuels and clean energy jobs are significantly outpacing fossil fuel jobs. If these trends continue, clean energy has the opportunity to be a major driver of employment in every city, state, and region.
The campaign will be engaged throughout the 30 states with a conservation voter organization presence, with each state engaged in its own local, state or regional effort.
The Conservation Voter Movement is a unique network of 30 state organizations and one federal organization that closely collaborate and share expertise and resources in order to effect positive change at all levels of government.
BACKGROUND AND STATISTICS: Clean Energy
Transitioning to clean energy will avert the worst impacts of climate change while creating good jobs, boosting our economy, saving consumers money, and protecting our health.
Across the U.S. over 50 cities, more than five counties and one state, have already adopted ambitious 100% clean energy goals.
BACKGROUND AND STATISTICS: Electric School Buses
Volkswagen (VW) cheated federal emissions tests and polluted the air we breathe with toxins emitted by diesel vehicles. These toxins increase respiratory illnesses like asthma and speed up the rate of climate change. VW is on the hook for $14.7 billion dollars for putting profits over people. Governors have the opportunity to reinvest the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust in our communities, especially low-income and communities of color where students and families are most at risk of breathing dirty air and disproportionately carry the burden of pollution. By using these funds to take dirty diesel buses off our roads and replace them with clean electric buses we can protect our most vulnerable. Governors decide how the VW settlement funds are invested and states can use up to $2.7 billion for electric school buses.
Clean Buses for Healthy Niños asks that governors reinvest the VW dollars in our communities and school districts. The League movement is especially focused on bringing these dollars to low-income and communities of color where students and families are most at risk of breathing dirty air and disproportionately carry the burden of pollution. That way, our states can take dirty diesel buses off our roads and replace them with clean electric buses, protecting our most vulnerable.
Cleaner: Switching a vehicle from diesel to electric power can reduce a vehicle’s CO2 emissions by 71%.
Cheaper to Run: Switching from a diesel bus to an electric bus can reduce the fueling costs of a vehicle by over 40%.
Great Performance: Electric buses have proven their performance in all types of terrain and weather.
Safe: Electric school buses are built and tested by the same standards as any other school bus on the roads
CTLCV points to sharp contrast between contenders for District 30
Hartford, CT - The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) has identified and endorsed David Lawson as the pro-environment candidate for election to the Connecticut General Assembly, representing Senate District 30. The League says there has never been a more vivid contrast between the candidates when it comes to protecting our state's open spaces, or in their understanding of the need to keep our public lakes and streams healthy and clean.
This is one of the most unpredictable election seasons of all time for the Connecticut state legislature. CTLCV wants to be sure that voters who care about the environment have the facts to make informed choices at election time.
"David Lawson is committed to the things that make District 30 such an incredible place to live, work and play. Northwest Connecticut contains beautiful, diverse landscapes, with abundant wildlife, fresh air, and a multitude of lakes and streams. Residents of the district expect that the person they send to Hartford to represent them will work to preserve these irreplaceable assets," said Lori Brown, CTLCV Executive Director. "David Lawson shares these core values of the residents he seeks to represent."
The League points out that Lawson's opponent, Representative Craig Miner, is on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to conservation.
CTLCV has tracked and published the voting records of all CT legislators since 2000. Miner's lifetime voting history shows he cast anti-environmental votes 85 times since his first year in office, 2001. Beyond voting poorly on important issues, he has repeatedly fought against good environmental initiatives, often sacrificing the environment for some unrelated legislative pursuit. The most recent example was this past session, when he filibustered a bi-partisan bill that would have required transparency in town applications about the nature and scope of pending development projects. There are many instances where he has used his position on the legislature's environment committee to weaken environmental initiatives ranging from habitat protection and wetlands conservation, to opposing creation of the Community Investment Act that funds farmland preservation and open space. Miner is nationally recognized as one of the 12 most anti-environment candidates running for state office, according to the national League of Conservation Voters.
"If you care about the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the wonderful parks and landscapes in Connecticut, then pay close attention to what candidates are saying and doing about environmental issues," said David Bingham, CTLCV co-chair.
Since 2000, CTLCV has surveyed candidates on their positions, records, and plans for protecting the environment. This year's candidate survey contained questions about environmental issues that are likely to be considered during the 2017 legislative session beginning this January. David Lawson's responses are posted at www.ctlcv.org. Craig Miner did not respond to the survey.
David Lawson's positions on a multitude of conservation issues demonstrate that he is in sync with the residents of the district. The person elected to the powerful senate seat will help decide how to protect the state's public water supply, preserve state lands, prevent pollution, and manage energy and transportation options for all citizens.
With 33 years as an educator, Lawson knows that good information is key to ensuring the public is involved in protecting the environment, especially farmland and open space. He is committed to protecting the district's waterways and addressing polluted "runoff" impacting many in the Northwest who rely on wells. In an interview, he said he would build public consensus around solutions by helping to inform people about the issues and bring all parties to the table. His candidate survey notes his support for reducing single use plastic bags that clog waterways and harm wildlife, and he also supports stronger efforts to reduce pesticides as an essential means to help maintain the ecosystem and reduce health risks. Lawson states, "It is time to support environmental legislation that is proactive."
"The candidates we endorse are reliable in their environmental values, and pledge to prioritize environmental matters important to their constituents. We urge people in Senate District 30 to support David Lawson at the polls on November 8," said Bingham.
Connecticut's economic and environmental quality of life has always depended on its natural resources. CTLCV's endorsed candidates pledge to champion smart environmental policies that will protect these irreplaceable assets. According to the League, people don't often know whether or not a candidate shares their core values on the environment. CTLCV has done the research and wants to be sure voters know who will best represent them on these issues.
Additional information about CTLCV's Scorecard and Endorsements can be found at www.ctlcv.org.
*Senate District 30 includes the towns of Brookfield, Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Milford, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, Torrington, Warren, Winchester.
Targets Most Anti-Environment State-Level Candidates in Country
Hartford, CT - As a key part of its electoral work this year, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) announced today that Representative Craig Miner is being named to national LCV's "Dirty Dozen in the States." Modeled after LCV's trademark federal "Dirty Dozen," the state version highlights 12 of the most anti-environment state-level candidates from around the country who state LCVs are working to defeat.
"Craig Miner's record made him an obvious choice for this list of dubious distinction," said Lori Brown, CTLCV Executive director. "By naming Miner to the Dirty Dozen in the States, we are highlighting his misguided priorities for the State and the larger Senate District he now wants to represent. We're ready to inform voters about Miner's positions, which threaten our water, air, wildlife and the overall stewardship of our natural resources."
There are many reasons that Craig Miner, a 16-year incumbent in the Connecticut House of Representatives, has been recognized nationally for the Dirty Dozen state list. To name a few:
"Craig Miner's current constituents may not have known about his record on the environment while he represented them in the House. We are certain, however, that the people of Senate District 30 care deeply about protecting their lakes, open spaces, wildlife and clean air. They would be appalled to learn that their representative in Hartford does not have these interests in mind," said David Bingham, CTLCV co-chair.
According to the League, Miner was radically anti-environment in the House, and elevating him to the more powerful senate seat would have terrible consequences.
"This is a man who has used every tool at his disposal, including his position as a senior member of the state legislature's Environment Committee, to weaken many of our state's critical protection laws," said Bingham.
Conservation Voter Leagues across the nation are working to defeat state lawmakers on the "Dirty Dozen in the States" national list. The candidates named are some of the most anti-environment politicians running in competitive state-level races for governor, state senate or state house this cycle.
The "Dirty Dozen in the States" is modeled after LCV's "Dirty Dozen," which has targeted candidates for federal office - regardless of party affiliation - who consistently side against the environment, and are running in races in which LCV has a serious chance to affect the outcome. LCV has named candidates to the Dirty Dozen for twenty years. Last cycle, state LCVs defeated seven of the twelve "Dirty Dozen in the States" candidates.
Additional information about CTLCV's Scorecard and Endorsements can be found at www.ctlcv.org.
Senate District 30 includes the towns of Brookfield, Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Milford, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, Torrington, Warren, Winchester.
This communication is paid for by the CTLCV Political Action Committee. This message was made independent of any candidate or political party. Contributions to the CTLCV PAC were made by CTLCV, Inc., the League of Conservation Voters, Inc., and David Bingham. Additional information about the CTLCV PAC may be found on the State Elections Enforcement Commission's internet website.
Hartford, CT - In addition to the recent endorsement of 48 candidates for the Connecticut General Assembly, the CT League of Conservation Voters announces the elevation of 14 incumbents to the high position of LEGISLATIVE CHAMPION for the 2016 legislative session.
Both Democrat and Republican incumbents were highlighted in the League's recent Environmental Scorecard. The list includes:
"These 14 people are being recognized for their outstanding leadership during the past session. They are our 'go to' people when we need an extra dose of passion, commitment and knowledge of the important environmental issues of the day. Each one has shown keen leadership skills and made a difference this year," said Lori Brown, CTLCV Executive Director.
Information about these environmental champions, is posted on CTLCV's website at www.ctlcv.org. Visit both the ELECTION and SCORECARD pages, or contact the League at 860-236-5442 for details.
Hartford, CT - In one of the most unpredictable election seasons of all time for the Connecticut state legislature--with 22 open seats, hotly competitive races, razor thin margins for some incumbents, and control of our state Senate in the balance--every single vote is going to count.
To help move the dial in favor of some of the state's most active environmental leaders, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) has identified and endorsed candidates from both parties for election to the Connecticut General Assembly.
"The economy may dominate the headlines and candidate debates, but the people we elect will also decide how we protect our public water supply, preserve state lands, prevent pollution, and manage energy and transportation options for all citizens," said David Bingham, CTLCV co-chair.
In Connecticut General Assembly races, CTLCV endorses the following candidates:
Several of the League's top environmental champions are being targeted for defeat by special interests with big dollars to spend. In response, CTLCV has created its own Political Action Committee to promote a strong bi-partisan slate of endorsed candidates for voters to consider on election day.
"If you care about the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the wonderful parks and landscapes in Connecticut, then pay close attention to what candidates are saying about environmental issues," said Bingham.
"The candidates we endorse are reliable in their environmental values, and pledge to prioritize environmental matters important to their constituents. We urge people in their districts to support them at the polls on November 8," said Ken Bernhard, CTLCV Co-Chair.
According to CTLCV, people don't often know whether or not a candidate shares their core values on the environment. CTLCV has done the research and wants to be sure voters know who will best represent them on these issues.
Since 2000, CTLCV has surveyed candidates on their positions, records, and plans for protecting the environment. This year's candidate survey contained questions about environmental issues that are likely to be considered during the 2017 legislative session beginning this January. Responses of all candidates, regardless of endorsement, are posted at www.ctlcv.org.
CTLCV has kept tabs on how legislators are voting once in office. An annual Environmental Scorecard is also posted on its site, reporting how each incumbent lawmaker voted on key bills each session.
"Connecticut's economic and environmental quality of life has always depended on our natural resources. We are counting on our endorsed candidates to champion smart environmental policies that will protect these irreplaceable assets," said Bernhard. "The environment is our greatest asset, worth investing in through thick and thin for the long term health of our state."
Hartford, CT- The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV), a bipartisan environmental legislative watchdog, has just released its annual Environmental Scorecard. The Scorecard evaluates how members of Connecticut's state legislature performed on the most important environmental bills of 2016.
According to CTLCV, all Connecticut Legislators say they are in favor of protecting the natural environment. But are they?
The Scorecard shows the votes that were scored and explains bills that really mattered for the environment this year. Equally important, the Scorecard exposes legislators whose maneuverings quietly killed good bills or who tried to dismantle important laws we count on to protect our public water supply, our open spaces, and prevent exposure to toxic chemicals.
Connecticut it also has its share of legislative champions who fought very hard against efforts to weaken environmental protections. In a legislative session dominated by fiscal woes and disputes, our champions managed to push through critical legislation that safeguards our land, air, and water for the benefit of our entire state. A special section of this year's scorecard is dedicated to legislators who took leadership on one or more key environmental issues this year.
"To enact good environmental laws, we need good people at the state legislature to fight for us," said Lori Brown, CTLCV Executive Director. "The Scorecard is our best tool for giving credit where it is due. This year's Scorecard reflects some very hard-fought wins, and we owe thanks to our champions in both chambers."
A major victory this year was passage of a bill calling for a state referendum to better protect state-owned lands. Another big win resulted in better protections for habitat that supports important pollinators and restricts the use of certain pesticides that are especially lethal to them. These and other statewide successes are shared by every community in Connecticut.
Pro-environment legislation that did not pass this year sought to protect our public water supply against the extractive water bottling industry. That battle is expected to continue next session along other efforts that were derailed, such as an initiative to ban toxic flame retardant chemicals in children's clothing, and enacting a ban on single-use plastic bags.
THE BUDGET IMPACT
By and large, funding for environmental programs was reduced. But for some key programs, such as the clean water fund, cuts were not extreme.
The most serious damage to environmental protection in Connecticut is caused by recurring budget cuts to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). DEEP is having difficulty meeting its core mission and responsibilities, and this year's cuts make the problems worse: help to towns and cities on wetlands issues no longer exists. Oversight of pesticide application is now only paperwork, not verified in the field. Monitoring of sewage treatment plants and hazardous waste has been greatly reduced, leaving uncertainties about how serious problems may be. Public parks are ever under threat of closure and disrepair. And non-compliance with environmental laws is increasing, apparently because no one is watching.
The public may learn more about the 2016 session, view the Scorecard, and track the progress of legislators regarding environmental issues next session by visiting www.ctlcv.org, or by calling the League at 860-236-5442.