Hartford, Conn. (June 6, 2019) – With the regular legislative session now over, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) applauds the passage of major environmental bills that will help our state reduce pollution, protect our natural resources, and fight climate change.
“Having a pro-environmental majority in the General Assembly has made all the difference when it comes to passing strong policies and fighting dangerous rollbacks,” said Lori Brown, Executive Director of CTLCV. “This year, our champions from previous sessions were joined by new freshmen who are passionate about protecting the air we breathe, water we drink, and future we believe in. Though many new lawmakers faced a packed agenda and a steep learning curve, they rose to the occasion to score real victories for our environment.”
Major environmental wins include:
In addition to these wins, Connecticut also preserved funding for the Community Investment Account, dramatically reduced planned cuts to Passport to Parks, and did not implement further diversions to the Energy Efficiency Fund. However, the pending $54 million diversion from the Energy Efficiency Fund was not repealed despite repeated public outcry and the efforts of numerous lawmakers.
“Lawmakers began this session with an ambitious and diverse agenda,” said Amanda Schoen, Deputy Director of CTLCV. “With other hot-button issues on the table, it seemed at times like the environment was an afterthought. But our members stayed vocal and our champions in the legislature didn’t back down, and even with ten minutes to go until the end of session, they delivered huge wins for clean water, clean energy, and climate action.”
In addition to the many wins for the environment, CTLCV also helped stop proposed rollbacks or weakening of environmental protection laws.
“Last session, we had to fight tooth and nail to stop bad bills all session long,” said Brown. “This year, though we saw attempts to undermine the bedrock of our environmental laws—the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act—and the return of old threats like Consent Orders and 90-day automatic permitting, our champions swatted down those attacks early, and those bad bills never resurfaced.”
Though the 2019 legislative session delivered decisive wins for the environment, it was not without a few defeats as well. In addition to the pending diversion of Energy Efficiency funds, this session brought other losses:
“Overall, lawmakers delivered real wins for the environment, and even our losses helped us advance major issues and give us goals to work towards next session,” said Schoen. “Our freshmen champions are eager to protect our environment for the next generation. They saw the outpouring of support from members of CTLCV and our partner organizations, and how deeply these issues affect us all. We look forward to building on these victories as we go forward.”
A full accounting of environmental legislation and lawmakers’ votes will be released in CTLCV’s Environmental Scorecard later this summer.
CTLCV Applauds Connecticut’s Commitment to Renewable Energy
Hartford, Conn. (June 4, 2019) – The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) applauds the Senate’s passage of Connecticut’s first major investment in offshore wind. The bill, HB 7156, would require the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to begin soliciting bids for up to 2,000 MW from renewable offshore wind sources within the next 14 days. It includes protections for labor as well as mitigation for wildlife and environmental impacts, making it one of the strongest offshore wind bills in the nation. Governor Ned Lamont has already pledged his support for this bill, which will position Connecticut as a leader in clean energy and provide a plan to transition away from fossil fuels.
“Offshore wind is the key to fighting climate change, creating jobs, and lowering energy costs, and we at CTLCV are thrilled to see it pass with such strong bipartisan support,” said CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown. “This bill shows Governor Lamont and the General Assembly are thinking about our future. Investing in offshore wind now means we will have clean alternatives to fossil fuels, natural gas, and nuclear energy in the decades to come. It will create green collar jobs in both the development and maintenance of new windfarms—all of which will be done with an eye to mitigating impacts on wildlife and the environment. Our green economy starts today.”
On Tuesday, May 14 the Connecticut House of Representatives moved the offshore wind bill forward with a vote of 134 – 10, sending the message that Connecticut is ready for offshore wind. Today, the Connecticut State Senate unanimously approved by a vote of 36-0, moving the bill forward for Governor Lamont’s signature.
“Our environmental champions on both sides of the aisle worked hard to make offshore wind a reality,” said CTLCV Deputy Director Amanda Schoen. “This is what real climate action looks like. Governor Lamont made it clear at our Environmental Summit and in his budget address that he would move our state into a clean energy future, and we applaud him for his leadership. Our champions in the legislature answered his call, and the result is one of the strongest, most environmentally friendly offshore wind bills in the nation.”
This bill comes after the recent announcement that $93 million will be invested into State Pier in New London to upgrade the pier as a center of the offshore wind industry in the Northeast. Upgrades to the pier are expected to begin in January of 2020 and be completed by March of 2023. Construction of Revolution Wind, the currently planned wind farm just south of Martha’s Vineyard, is scheduled begin in late 2023.