Advocates Call on Lamont, CT Lawmakers to Keep Their Commitments on TCI
CT Groups Urge Meaningful Action on Climate Change in 2022
Hartford, CT - On Tuesday Governor Lamont said he would no longer pursue passage of the Transportation Climate Initiative, then walked that statement back slightly on Wednesday saying he would sign a TCI bill if it reached his desk.
The decision to pause Connecticut’s implementation of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) has had a domino effect on the region, underscoring the important role our state plays in addressing the climate crisis. Lawmakers have missed a critical opportunity to cap transportation pollution in CT and act on our climate emergency. Connecticut was poised to be a regional leader in addressing transportation emissions, and 24 hours after Governor Lamont abandoned TCI, Massachusetts and Rhode Island backed away from the program in response.
The Transportation & Climate Initiative is a multi-state agreement that would cap transportation pollution, charge wholesale polluters for emissions, and direct the funds to improve transportation and air quality for Connecticut residents. TCI is our state’s best opportunity to address our climate mitigation and environmental justice challenges with a regional approach.
In September, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) reported that despite Connecticut's aggressive carbon emissions reductions goals laid out in the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act, transportation emissions continue to rise in our state: Connecticut is not on track to meet its 2030 and 2050 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction requirements.
Beginning with Governor Rell in 2010 and continuing throughout the past decade, supporters of TCI have worked with our fellow states to craft a robust and equitable program to address the largest source of climate pollution in our region. Citizen activists across Connecticut have spent years working to advance this critical policy as the demand for real, tangible action on climate change has grown to an all-time high.
Governor Lamont’s decision to withdraw support for the Transportation and Climate Initiative turns a blind eye to the urgency of the climate crisis we face. Inaction is a disservice to all the communities and residents that would have benefited from the pollution reductions and clean transportation investments under the program. In 2018, the Governor’s Council on Climate Change noted that transportation emissions need to fall by about one-third in order to meet our 2030 target. Only two months ago, Connecticut’s greenhouse gas inventory confirmed that we are not on track to meet the emission reductions required by our Global Warming Solutions Act.
Advocates pledge to continue to fight for TCI on behalf of Connecticut’s communities who will bear the brunt of the consequences from inaction. While there is no single “silver bullet” that will solve our transportation issues, TCI provides the essential structure around which a comprehensive approach can be built - one that guarantees the emissions reductions necessary to meet our targets and improve the quality of life of Connecticut’s residents.
Advocates offered the following statements:
“Acadia Center and our partners in the Connecticut’s Transportation Futurecoalition have worked tirelessly over the last few years to build support for action on transportation pollution through TCI. Businesses, mayors, community leaders, and public health professionals have come out in support of the program and its economic, public health, and climate benefits,” said Amy McLean, Acadia Center’s Connecticut Director and Senior Policy Advocate.
“Environmental justice leaders have worked closely with state agencies and the legislature to center equity and transportation justice in Connecticut’s implementation of the TCI. While Governor Lamont appears content to press pause on that important work, we are committed to moving it forward.”
“We cannot afford to wait for a convenient time to protect the planet,” said Louis Rosado Burch, Connecticut Program Director at Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “We are experiencing increased coastal flooding inundating our shoreline communities, and some of the nation’s worst air quality in our urban centers. Climate Change is impacting our lives every day, and it’s getting worse the longer we delay action. Pulling their support for TCI was a short-sighted move by the Lamont administration, which kicks the can even further down the road on addressing carbon pollution. Connecticut residents want bold leadership from their elected leaders. TCI is a necessity, not a luxury to be put on the shelf for another day.
“Connecticut is at a crossroads—will we take climate change seriously, or not?”, said Charles J. Rothenberger, Climate and Energy Attorney at Save the Sound. “It’s now been more than two months since the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced Connecticut is not on track to meet its required emissions reductions. The Transportation and Climate Initiative would cut emissions by 26 percent over the next ten years and invest in clean transportation and improved air quality in the communities that need it most. That’s exactly the kind of action we need, and it’s why we’ll keep fighting for this policy. Our leaders need to step up to the plate and show the same urgency in their policies that they’ve shown in their rhetoric. The cost of inaction is too steep.”
“We are up against the richest and most powerful industries in the world in the fight against climate change,” said Megan Macomber, Policy Advocate at the CT League of Conservation Voters. “The pushback on TCI shows us how loud these fossil fuel industries can be, but they do not represent the will of the majority.” According to a November 12, 2021 poll by Langer Research Associates, 78% of 18- to 29-year-olds say climate change is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
“Major climate programs like TCI must not fall victim to in-party fighting or be used to leverage political agendas. With 2022 elections on the horizon, elected officials should double down on their efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions, not shy away from the fight,” said Macomber.
"Governor Lamont's decision to abandon his commitment to capping and reducing carbon pollution is a huge step backwards for our state's efforts to fight climate change," said Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut State Director. "The Governor's lack of commitment to action on climate is a profound disappointment to Connecticut residents who are looking to our elected officials to rise to the challenge of doing what is necessary to stop climate change before it is too late."
The following TCI coalition members have signed on to this statement:
CT League of Conservation Voters
Live Green Network
The Nature Conservancy
Radical Advocates for Cross-Cultural Education
Clean Water Action
Transport Hartford/ Center for Latino Progress
Mark A. Mitchell MD
Mitchell Environmental Health Associates
Louis Rosado Burch
Citizens Campaign for the Environment
Save the Sound
ATU Local 1336
Hartford, CT – The CT League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) today released the Connecticut delegation’s scores on the League of Conservation Voters’ 2020 National Environmental Scorecard. The Scorecard is the primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of every member of Congress and is available for download in both English and Spanish at scorecard.lcv.org.
“President Biden has wasted no time putting climate at the top of his agenda. We are proud to have representatives that will fight for our future alongside this new administration,” said CTLCV Executive Director, Lori Brown.
Our entire House and Senate delegation—Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, and Representatives DeLauro, Himes, Courtney, Larson and Hayes have all stood up for our health and our environment. They worked every day to protect our communities from toxic PFAS pollution, to secure full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and to fight repeated efforts to weaken our nation’s core environmental laws.
“But the federal government cannot do this alone. Now with partners in the White House and Congress, there has never been a more important time to build support for clean energy to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and to put an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure. Our state leaders can help put us on the path to a clean energy future,” said Brown.
The 2020 Scorecard measures votes cast during the second session of the 116th Congress. In Connecticut, all five House members earned 100% and our Senators scored high marks among their peers. The full delegation’s scores for 2020 are:
Senator Blumenthal - 92 percent
Senator Murphy - 85 percent
Representative Larson - 100 percent
Representative Courtney- 100 percent
Representative DeLauro - 100 percent
Representative Hayes - 100 percent
Representative Himes - 100 percent
“During an incredibly difficult and unprecedented year and with the most anti-environmental president ever, pro-environment members of the 116th Congress paved the way for transformational action on climate and environmental justice,” said LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld.
“Now the pro-environment trifecta -- led by President Biden and Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Schumer -- is poised to enact transformational progress that results in healthy, equitable, safe communities powered by clean energy.”
The 2020 Scorecard includes 21 House votes that advanced pro-environmental and pro-democracy bills, provisions, and government funding. In the Senate, for the fourth year in a row, the majority of the 13 scored votes were extreme and partisan nominations both to the federal bench and the Trump administration. For the first time, the 2020 National Environmental Scorecard includes votes on removing public monuments to racism and policing and criminal justice reform. The same damaging system—racism—is at the root of climate injustice, environmental injustice, and police brutality. The 2020 Scorecard therefore includes votes that reflect LCV’s belief that these struggles are intertwined and must be addressed together.
LCV has published a National Environmental Scorecard every Congress since 1970. The Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from more than 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which members of Congress should be scored. LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including energy, climate change, environmental justice, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation, democracy, and spending for environmental programs. The votes included in the Scorecard presented members of Congress with a real choice and help distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. More information on individual votes and the Scorecard archive can be found at scorecard.lcv.org.
Earlier this month, LCV released a new report examining the environmental records of members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), collectively referred to as the Tri-Caucus. Using data from LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard, the report details how members of the Tri-Caucus were champions of strong environmental policies that address environmental injustice, helped chair a record number of hearings about climate change, and led on many of the critical pro-environmental bills during the 116th Congress.
Hartford, CT – The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) is thrilled with the number of victories for CTLCV-endorsed candidates throughout the state this election season. Though federal results are pending, victories at the local level clearly show that Connecticut residents care about the climate crisis and local environmental issues. 52 of CTLCV’s 65 endorsed candidates won their races.
Two of CTLCV’s endorsed challengers have ousted anti-environmental incumbents: Eleni DeGraw beat incumbent Leslee Hill in House District 17, and Jorge Cabrera was victorious in his rematch with incumbent Senator George Logan in Senate District 17.
Freshmen lawmakers elected in 2018, many of whom CTLCV supported, were in highly competitive races this year. All of them proved to be exceptional leaders on our issues at the Capitol. These top champions have prevailed and will return with even greater conviction in 2021:
● Christine Cohen - Senate District 12
● Mary Abrams - Senate District 13
● Julie Kushner - Senate District 24
● Alexandra Kasser - Senate District 36
● Will Haskell - Senate District 26
● Christine Palm - House District 17
● Maria Horn - House District 64
● Ann Hughes - House District 135
Furthermore, all of CTLCV’s long-time champions will be returning to lead the way on issues ranging from pesticides and PFAS, to clean energy and climate change. Senators Gary Winfield and Tony Hwang, and Representatives Geraldo Reyes, Jonathan Steinberg, and Mike Demicco are all committed to advancing progressive and equitable solutions to our state's most pressing environmental concerns.
CTLCV’s candidates all had strong environmental platforms and reflect the growing concern among Connecticut residents about the climate crisis and environmental threats, and the urgent need to address these challenges. These victories are a reminder of the importance of local elections as vectors for systemic change. These environmental leaders will bring their enthusiasm and energy to the Connecticut General Assembly to press for creative solutions to problems that plague our state and nation.
“Just a few years ago, climate change was a marginal topic in political campaigns. This year, it was a significant topic in many local debates,” said CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown. “It is inspiring to see how many candidates were well-versed in climate change science and a broad array of complex environmental concerns. These victories show that Connecticut residents understand how important these issues are to our lives, our economy, and our future.”
CTLCV worked hard in 2018 to get pro-environment candidates elected and worked closely with them to advance clean energy and climate mitigation priorities - many of which had been blocked by anti-environment legislators in prior years. In their first term, ALL of these freshmen champions were fearless in pushing environmental protections forward, and are determined to address climate change in significant ways in 2021.
Each of the 52 endorsed winners this year support transitioning Connecticut to a 100% cleaner electric grid, modernizing the state’s recycling programs, and banning toxic PFAS from polluting our water. Their responses to CTLCV’s environmental survey are posted on CTLCV’s elections page.
“When pro-environment legislators are elected, they represent the values of their constituents,” said Brown, “As the legislative session begins in 2021, voters can have confidence that climate change and the environment will be mainstream issues.”
In addition to researching, interviewing and endorsing candidates, CTLCV’s Independent Expenditure PAC supported these candidates through direct mailers sent to more than 50,000 households in key races. CTLCV also invested in paid digital ads which were seen more than three million times.
These efforts contributed to the numerous victories for the environment with more than 80% of CTLCV-endorsed candidates winning their races. CTLCV endorsed more candidates in the 2020 election - almost double - than in any previous year. The rise of endorsements is indicative of the number of candidates who stepped up to run on pro-environment platforms.
CTLCV endorsed many more challengers this election cycle, including Baird Welch-Collins (HD 38), Bryan Anderson (HD 119), Kate Donnely (HD 47), Cate Steel (HD 37) and Paul Honig (HD 76), who all sought to unseat anti-environment entrenched incumbents with abysmal voting records. CTLCV applauds these candidates who helped highlight environmental positions during the campaign and will continue to spotlight climate change deniers at the state legislature.
CTLCV’s educational arm (CTLCV Education Fund) conducted a separate non-partisan effort for voter awareness and education that targeted historically underrepresented black and Hispanic communities in Middletown, Waterbury, and Hartford.
CTLCV Education Fund prioritized voter education through direct mailings, digital ads, and volunteer phonebanks in partnership with NAACP’s Youth and College Division. The ads and mailings reached tens of thousands of residents, and the phonebanks resulted in conversations with thousands of first-time voters. More than 675,000 Connecticut residents voted by Absentee Ballot in the 2020 Election, and CTLCV will work with its partners to make sure the expansion becomes permanent.
“2020 has been a landmark year in understanding how environmental justice and social justice are one in the same,” said Brown. “Voting is an essential component to our democracy; every voter must be able to vote safely. Voter intimidation and misinformation have no place in a healthy democracy, and CTLCV remains committed to supporting all voters to exercise their right to vote.”
A complete list of CTLCV-endorsed victories is available on our Victories page. A complete list of CTLCV-endorsed candidates, direct mailers, and digital ad campaigns can be viewed on CTLCV's website, and CTLCV’s voter education materials can be viewed on CTLCV Education Fund’s website.
Hartford, CT – The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) has endorsed 65 candidates for the Connecticut General Assembly House and Senate 2020 election. CTLCV has never endorsed this many candidates in any previous election and has identified champions in all 8 counties across the state.
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