Hartford, Conn. (October 29, 2019) - In response to a request for public comment from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), CTLCV submitted the following letter on Governor Lamont's Executive Order No. 3. You can also download the letter as a PDF.
October 29, 2019
Commissioner Katie Dykes
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
79 Elm St
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Commissioner Dykes,
Thank you for the opportunity to provide public comment on Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 3 to strengthen Connecticut’s commitment to a decarbonized electric grid and support our state’s efforts to combat climate change. We at the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) are excited to see the administration setting bold goals in the face of the looming threat of our climate crisis.
Governor’s Council on Climate Change
As part of Executive Order No. 3, Gov. Lamont indicated he would expand and strengthen the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3). The original GC3 was instrumental in setting Connecticut’s carbon reduction goals, but that is not to say it is beyond improvement. Advocates including CTLCV were quick to indicate that many important voices were not included on the GC3. We hope to see that rectified here.
CTLCV strongly recommends that the GC3 be composed of a diverse group of stakeholders, including, but not limited to local and statewide lawmakers, community leaders, climate scientists, economists, labor representatives, and business leaders. In particular, the GC3 should include representatives from marginalized and disenfranchised communities. These groups often face the brunt of pollution and climate change, but they are often left out of decision-making processes aimed at addressing these issues. If the GC3 is to truly offer guidance on addressing the impact of climate change, it must first have a full accounting of those impacts from communities that would feel them most potently.
Decarbonizing Our Electric Grid
CTLCV also applauds the Executive Order’s directive to decarbonize our state’s electric grid. That is a laudable goal, and one we hope to see reflect Governor Lamont’s pledge to transition our state to 100% clean energy.
There are many pathways to a zero-carbon future, but the clearest is a commitment to clean energy. Connecticut’s recent procurement of 2,000 MW of offshore wind energy is a fine start, representing roughly a third of our state’s energy needs. However, we must be prepared to meet our Renewable Portfolio Standards goals of 40% clean energy by 2030. We should also plan for the potential decommissioning of the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in the next ten years. Millstone represents a third of our energy needs, and is currently the largest provider of zero-carbon electricity in the state. If Connecticut does not put a plan in place now, we could be forced to turn to fossil fuels like fracked gas to meet our energy needs. That is not in keeping with Executive Order No. 3 or our previous commitments.
CTLCV strongly opposes investments in fossil fuels—such as the new fracked gas power plant planned in Killingly. This power plant would not be in keeping with the Governor’s zero-carbon proposal, nor would it help us lower carbon emissions. While we recognize the need for reliable energy even when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining, CTLCV urges Connecticut to invest instead in energy efficiency and battery storage. By both decreasing the amount of energy we use and investing in new ways to store electricity, we can ensure reliability even during peak times without turning to fossil fuels.
These investments in energy efficiency should include equal access to programs, regardless of heating fuel type. Connecticut should also seek to expand access to energy efficiency programs by considering ways to implement automatic enrollment. For instance, households eligible for SNAP, WIC, or HUSKY benefits could be automatically enrolled in our energy efficiency programs. Not only would this reduce the draw on our electric grid, it could reduce the cost of electricity for the roughly 400,000 households struggling to pay their energy bills.
CTLCV also encourages Connecticut to increase its clean, renewable energy procurements. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and other New England states have begun construction on their own offshore wind facilities. We could look for ways to partner with the other states of ISO New England to issue a joint procurement of offshore wind, thus driving costs down while ensuring we can all meet our energy needs.
Additionally, Connecticut should increase its investments in solar energy, particularly shared solar programs for those who live in apartments, condos, or other facilities where traditional rooftop solar panels would not be feasible. Currently, our community solar program is burdened by overly restrictive rules such as preventing unused energy from rolling over to subsequent years. There are also restrictive caps on the amount of solar energy participants can procure. Connecticut should loosen the reins on community solar to allow this program to expand, giving more households the chance to tap into clean energy and potentially lower their costs.
Investments in clean energy are certainly important, but further funding for resiliency and carbon sequestration are equally critical, but funds for land conservation are often the first to be raided in times of budget shortfalls. Forests and open space act as critical carbon sinks. Connecticut should stop diverting funds from programs like the Community Investment Act to ensure we can protect our forests from development.
Furthermore, we must ensure our towns and communities—particularly on our vulnerable coastlines—have the resources they need to make necessary upgrades and improve natural buffers. Hurricanes and superstorms have ravaged Connecticut in the past. Climate change ensures these storms will hit again, and the damage could be catastrophic. It is much more cost-effective to invest in resiliency now rather than major repairs in the wake of a superstorm.
Connecticut must also think of the broader picture. To fight climate change and build a zero-carbon future, we must be prepared to take bold action. There are a myriad of goals we could set and programs we could expand, including:
There is no shortage of steps to take to build the zero-carbon future Gov. Lamont outlined in Executive Order No. 3. If the will is there, Connecticut could cement our standing as a national leader in the clean energy future. We could make investments that will not only help us turn back the clock on climate change, but also create green collar jobs and lower our massively high electric rates.
Thank you again for the opportunity to submit these comments. We at CTLCV look forward to working with you and the entire Lamont Administration in the days to come.
CTLCV Condemns Administration's Decision to Override Emission Standards
Hartford, Conn. (September 18, 2019) – Today, the EPA and the Trump Administration announced the revocation of California's authority to set its own automobile emissions standards. This decision blocks states like Connecticut from setting more stringent environmental protections than federal law requires. Given the number and severity of environmental rollbacks from the Trump Administration, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) strongly protests this attack.
If Trump gets his way, Connecticut’s notoriously bad air quality could get even worse,” said Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) Executive Director Lori Brown. “We are already at risk for significant emissions from traffic in New York and Massachusetts. After all, air pollution does not recognize state lines. Our state leaders recognized the impact of pollution from cars and trucks, which is why we passed stricter emission laws. Forcing us to comply with lax federal standards is a direct attack on our public health.”
Under the California standard, states set tighter emissions standards and the state regulation became the nationwide standard for automakers adapted to ensure their vehicles can be operated nationwide. Connecticut adopted the regulations in 2004 under public act 04-84, which affected cars with the model year of 2008 and newer. Under this rollback, automakers would no longer have to comply with the tighter state standards.
This is just one more reckless attack on our environment, our health, and our future,” said CTLCV Deputy Director Amanda Schoen. “Transportation emissions are one of the leading contributors to our climate crisis, so not only is this rollback an attack on our public health, but it could also worsen our climate crisis.”
Environmental advocates have criticized the reasoning behind this decision, which claimed that the California law was the gold standard for the nation. Four auto makers—Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW—already signed agreements to honor the California standards, demonstrating that even industry recognizes the importance of cutting carbon emissions.
CTLCV Supports Lamont's Executive Order for 100 Percent Zero-Carbon Target by 2040
Hartford, Conn. (September 3, 2019) – Today, Governor Lamont announced his third executive order, which calls for the expansion of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) and sets the goal for Connecticut to achieve a 100 percent zero-carbon target for Connecticut’s energy market by 2040. This executive order lays the groundwork for implementing further carbon mitigation strategies in Connecticut and builds on our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 45 percent by 2030.
The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) joined over 80 other Connecticut environmental advocates in Hartford to discuss the executive order with Governor Lamont and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes and ask questions about how this will impact Connecticut towns. During the announcement, Governor Lamont acknowledged that climate change is an imminent and urgent threat and that he plans for Connecticut to be a national leader in climate action.
“We were thrilled to hear that Connecticut is moving closer to a zero-carbon future and that the Lamont administration is taking the issue of climate change seriously,” said CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown. “Under Governor Malloy, the GC3 made carbon reduction a priority—but many important stakeholders and community leaders were left without a seat at the table. We are thrilled to see this revamped committee will include experts in environmental justice and equity as well as more community inclusion.”
Under this newest executive order, the Council will have the responsibility to monitor and report on Connecticut’s progress towards reducing carbon emissions and preparing for the developing impacts of climate change. To accomplish this, the Council will be developing new groups to better monitor and report on Connecticut’s resilience and mitigation strategies. This Council will report directly to the Governor on an annual basis beginning January of 2021.
“We need a zero carbon, clean energy economy to fight our climate crisis and grow green collar jobs,” said CTLCV Deputy Director, Amanda Schoen. “This last session, CTLCV helped build support for the new 2,000 MW procurement of offshore wind, which represents a third of our state’s power production. This new executive order lays the groundwork for additional procurements in renewables and could even set the stage for regional collaboration on clean energy projects. We were also encouraged by the Governor’s commitment to energy efficiency, and hope this will translate to stronger support for programs that draw down our energy consumption and help hundreds of thousands of struggling households pay their energy bills.”
Hartford, CT - The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) issued the following testimony in support of the state's pursuit of new offshore wind facilities. You can also download this testimony as a PDF.
Commissioner Katie Dykes
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Commissioner Dykes,
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on the procurement of new offshore wind facilities in accordance with Section 1 of Public Act 19-71 (HB 7156) An Act Concerning the Procurement of Energy Derived from Offshore Wind. We at the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) are excited to see our state taking bold action to invest in clean energy, combat climate change, and meet our carbon emission reduction targets.
Connecticut has been called both the Saudi Arabia and the Wild West of offshore wind. These comparisons allude to the rich, untapped potential of offshore wind—but they are also a warning against the reckless pursuit of a new commodity without properly accounting for the risks. CTLCV supports many of the recommendations made by the Commission on Environmental Standards, particularly those aimed at protecting wildlife.
As our state considers proposals for offshore wind facilities, CTLCV respectfully asks you to give particular consideration to the following concerns:
We must take care not to let the urgent need to solve our climate crisis create additional repercussions for our environment. The location and construction of these new turbines will certainly impact marine life. Our fishing and tourism industries rely on this ecosystem to thrive. Furthermore, whales and other apex wildlife are indicators of ocean health—especially in relation to climate change. Threats to their populations could also cost us the advance warning we need to stave off future crises.
We have been greatly encouraged to hear many legislators, officials, and developers talking frankly and seriously about the environmental impacts of offshore wind. Clean energy is clearly the future for our economy and our planet, and we have the responsibility to lay a strong groundwork for successful, responsible projects to come.
Thank you for considering these comments and for keeping the environment at the top of your mind as you evaluate proposals.
Executive Director, CTLCV
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.
Details of the long-awaited Green Economy Act (HB 5002) underwhelm environmentalists
Hartford, CT – Despite the promise of a bold plan to create a Green Economy for Connecticut, the unveiled HB 5002 failed to deliver real solutions for our climate crisis. While the bill includes important provisions to fix solar net-metering, it falls short of expectations on transitioning to 100% renewable energy, expanding access to energy efficiency funds, stopping upcoming diversions, combating methane leaks, ending our reliance on fracked gas, or providing more accountability and oversight.
“For months CTLCV and a coalition of environmental advocates have worked with lawmakers, officials at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and members of the Lamont administration on proposals that would fight our climate crisis while spurring economic development,” said Lori Brown, Executive Director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV). “The bill unveiled today fails to deliver on any of the proposals we discussed. While it includes an important fix for residential solar customers, it falls far short of expectations on every other front. Though hundreds of thousands of Connecticut ratepayers struggle to pay their energy bills, the Green Economy Act leaves them behind. Though dozens of other states have set goals to move to 100% clean energy, Connecticut remains uncommitted. Though lawmakers promised bold action on our climate crisis, those promises remain unfulfilled.”
CTLCV and other climate advocates have met regularly with lawmakers on a Green Economy Act that would:
“Now is the time for our climate champions to step up and submit amendments that would deliver real solutions,” said Amanda Schoen, Deputy Director of CTLCV. “Hundreds of lawmakers took our survey during the 2018 election and committed to clear climate policies. The Green Economy Act was the perfect opportunity to follow through on those promises. Lawmakers heard not just from advocates, but from the thousands of Connecticut residents who marched, rallied, wrote letters, flooded their offices with calls, and sent emails asking for real climate action. There is no excuse for ignoring the most pressing crisis facing our generation. Real climate champions can still act, but the clock is ticking.”
Hartford, CT - With less than two weeks left in the 2019 legislative session, the General Assembly has yet to act on climate and clean energy legislation before them. A coalition of climate, clean energy, and environmental advocates are urging the legislature to take bold action to fight climate change and provide an equitable transition to a clean energy economy for Connecticut.
Background: House and Senate leadership and Chairs of the Energy and Technology Committee are in the process of amending the New Green Economy bill this week for action in the coming days. It is uncertain how the bill will be amended and which priorities may or may not be included for consideration.
The advocates and organizations calling for action on these issues are the following:
Acadia Center – Amy Mclean Salls 860-246-7121 ext 204
Citizens Campaign for the Environment – Louis Rosado Burch 475-434-1606
Clean Water Action – Anne Hulick 860-232-6232
Connecticut Citizen Action Group – Tom Swan- 860-729-5712
Connecticut League of Conservation Voters – Amanda Schoen 860-770-9487
CT Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound – Leah Schmalz 203-787-0646 ext 121
Efficiency For All – Jennifer Dionne
Energy Efficiencies Solutions – Rebecca Castro Baez
Environment Connecticut – Chris Phelps 860-836-9353
Green Eco Warriors – Edgardo Mejias
The Nature Conservancy – David Sutherland 860-508-0222
Sierra Club Connecticut – Samantha Dynowski 860-916-3639
"A pro-environment majority swept into office in the 2018 elections with a mandate to do something about our climate crisis," said Lori Brown, Executive Director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. "Thousands of Connecticut residents have rallied, marched, signed petitions, and demanded action to create a green economy, but many in the legislature are slow to move. The proposals we've suggested for the Green Economy have broad, bipartisan support and would help lower energy costs, end our reliance on fossil fuels, and promote an equitable transition to clean energy. It's time for our lawmakers to take a stand."
"States from coast to coast are taking action to fight climate change with bold steps such as committing to 100 percent renewable and zero carbon energy," said Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut State Director. "Connecticut's families and businesses can't afford for the legislature to fail to act on climate and clean energy in 2019," said Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut.
"This Bill was introduced on the first day of the legislative session with a promise of significant climate action and job creation. Unfortunately, it now looks like this promise will not be kept. The people of Connecticut deserve better and I urge lawmakers to make this legislation truly meaningful," said Ann Gadwah, Chapter Chair, Sierra Club Connecticut.
"Connecticut stands at an energy crossroads- we can either move forward as a state by investing in clean, renewable energy and efficiency, or we can remain shackled to the outdated fuel sources of the past," said Louis Rosado Burch, CT Program Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "What we need now is real leadership from our elected leaders, not empty rhetoric and promises. We can no longer afford to be fossil fools! By advancing policies like real community solar, and making meaningful investments in offshore wind, we can build a New Green Economy for Connecticut, and begin the transition away from dirty energy sources that pollute our air & water and impact our health."
"The energy affordability gap in Connecticut is a huge burden on many households, therefore it is important that we decrease energy waste through residential efficiency programs while we simultaneously increase our clean energy resources. This is the best path to closing the affordability gap while keeping our economy and our environment front and center," said Leticia Colon de Mejias, Efficiency for All.
"Connecticut, once a climate leader, has become a climate laggard. But that can change: new climate goals established last year require bold climate action this year. This suite of policies, along with a several other critical bills currently before the legislature, will slash climate pollution, build a green economy, and save families and businesses money. We urge our legislators to finish this session with a clear climate conscience," said Leah Schmalz, chief program officer of CT Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound.
"Climate Change is the most pervasive threat facing our world today. Fortunately, some of the initiatives that would most effectively address it would also provide opportunities to create high-quality jobs and transform our economy," said David Sutherland, Director of Government Relations – The Nature Conservancy’s Connecticut Chapter.
"Remaking the transportation and energy systems must be a core part of Connecticut’s new economic strategy. Newly- unleashed investment and innovation will drive economic progress, improved quality of life, and more equitable benefits for all residents and communities. Legislator’s hold the key to passing good energy policy and the time is now," said Amy Mclean Salls, CT Director and Senior Policy Advocate, Acadia Center.
A coalition of community and environmental conservation organizations rallied at the Capitol today to call on legislators to halt the pending raid of the Energy Effiecncy Fund. In June, $54 million is scheduled to be diverted from the fund, jeopardizing approximately 6,800 Connecticut green collar jobs.
The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Efficiency for All, Clean Water Action, and Connecticut Fund for the Environment each circulated petitions signed by over 2,000 Connecticut residents from 116 towns. Along with members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, and Youth Climate Strikers, advocates presented these petitions to the Governor as well as leaders in the State House and Senate.
“Connecticut has spoken, and we want to stop this diversion to not only save ratepayers money, but also ensure our state is being efficient with our energy usage while creating good-paying, local jobs,” said Lori Brown, Executive Director of CTLCV. “Governor Lamont and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for an end to the raids, and they have the power to stop it. The people of our state want them to put promises into action. Now is the time.”
The signatures were gathered to stop the raid of $54 million from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF), a program to support Connecticut residents and businesses as they seek to save money and fight climate change by increasing the accessibility of energy efficient options. The pending June diversion is on top of a sweep in 2018 that has already cost jobs, closed businesses, and denied access to money-saving efficiency services for low- and middle-income households.
Comments from supporting organizations:
Amanda Schoen, Deputy Director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters: "Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents struggle to pay their energy bills. The Energy Efficiency Fund is critical to helping them lower their rates while also cutting our carbon footprint and supporting over thirty-four thousand good, local clean energy jobs. Our lawmakers have said they want to make energy more affordable, fight climate change, and grow our economy. That starts with putting an end to the upcoming diversion of the Energy Efficiency Fund before it's too late."
Leticia Colon de Mejias, Chair of Efficiency for All and Chispa Director for the CTLCV Education Fund: "Diverting our state energy efficiency funds is undermining our state’s ability to lower energy burdens on electric ratepayers. Efficiency doesn’t just make dollars; it makes sense. These programs are paid for by the Connecticut ratepayers and should be used to serve the ratepayers needs to lower their energy waste and energy burdens. Our leaders can take simple action to stop the pending diversions through a budget amendment which would restore the funds."
Anne Hulick, State Director for Clean Water Action: "Connecticut residents have spoken! Raiding the energy efficiency and clean energy funds that come directly from a surcharge on ratepayer's electric bills was a hidden tax. These funds not only help residents reduce energy demand, lower bills and improve the health and safety of homes, they help to reduce carbon pollution. We're urging the Governor and Legislature to stop the pending June diversion and protect these funds for their intended purpose."
Leah Schmalz, Chief Program Officer, Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound: “Fully replenishing and protecting the energy efficiency and clean energy funds will curtail both short and long-term economic damage. It also signals Connecticut’s commitment to efficiency and clean energy businesses, climate commitments, public health, and citizens’ wallets.”
Rep. Geraldo Reyes (D-Waterbury): “I live in Waterbury and am an active stakeholder in our communities. We are plagued by serial polluters and absentee landlords who let their blighted properties drag down our neighborhoods. Environmental justice and enforcement is a quality of life issue for my constituents.”
Rep. Michael Winkler (D-Vernon): “Energy efficiency leads to a cooler, less polluted planet. It’s also a jobs program. It would be hard to think of a better investment for our money.”
Rep. David Michel (D-Stamford): "We have right in front of us, the perfect example of what the green new deal could be with the offshore wind power. You can replace the use of fossil fuels, create hundreds to thousands of jobs, and offer a better price to the rate payers. However we have to be mindful that there are different ways this could be done and I am confident our new administration and our leadership will help with not only the creation of those jobs but also with the protection of the marine life ecosystem of the North Atlantic region. This is the future, where our labor unions can work in unison with our environmentalists."
Environmental Advocates Call for Action This Earth Day
This Earth Day, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) is calling on Connecticut lawmakers, leaders and representatives to stand up for a sustainable future in Connecticut. CTLCV is currently tracking over 60 bills that are being discussed by the legislature that could protect green spaces, support communities impacted by climate change, safeguard endangered and threatened species, power Connecticut through renewable energy and create long-lasting green collar jobs. The full legislative Watchlist can be found here.
“We stand at a major tipping point for Connecticut’s environment. We are moving in the right direction, but there is still so much more we have to do to create a sustainable future,” said Lori Brown, Executive Director of CTLCV. “The White House, Congress and EPA are not interested in fighting climate change at the moment. Until that changes, it is on us to build a sustainable future for the next generation. We have one planet, we have to protect it.”
At their annual Environmental Summit in January, dozens of lawmakers, advocates and members of the media gathered at Trinity College to hear newly elected Governor Lamont’s stance on environmental protections and sustainability. He has stated that everything he does during his term will be done “through an environmental lens” and that the environment will be one of his administration’s top priorities.
"CTLCV endorsed hundreds of advocates, lawmakers, and members of government, including Governor Lamont, for their commitment to environmental equity and a sustainable future,” said Amanda Schoen, Deputy Director of CTLCV. “We now need to take those words and turn them into actions. Connecticut is in a position to be powered by 100% renewable energy, while at the same time growing our economy through green jobs. There is no reason we can’t grow our economy while simultaneously protecting the environment."
Some of CTLCV’s top 2019 issues include:
Ending Plastic Bag Pollution: Greenwich and Westport have successfully banned single-use plastic bags, and Stamford passed a ban which will go into effect on May 3rd. Nearly a dozen other towns are considering similar bans, and even businesses like Big Y are proactively removing them from their stores. Connecticut uses 400 million single-use plastic bags a year, and they often end up in Long Island Sound or other waterways. CTLCV believes we can end their threat to our environment by passing a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.
Environmental Equity: Climate change affects us all, but it does not affect us all equally. Green policies must be crafted with the input and consent of the communities they impact. For example, when implementing climate resilience adaptations in low-income neighborhoods, community leaders should be involved in the design of the adaptation, there should be a robust period of public comments and any concerns about potential negative side effects must be taken into account.
Connecticut Green Economy: As we transition to clean energy and green technology, we must take care not to leave workers or low-to-moderate income families behind. The most vulnerable among us should not bear the costs of these policies, and displaced workers in one sector should be given training or resources to find new positions.
Renewable Energy: To meet our ambitious goal of reducing our state’s carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, Connecticut must act swiftly to expand our investment in renewables like offshore wind. This means not only securing the full 2000 MW of renewable energy for the state, but also investing in the efficiency of Connecticut’s energy infrastructure in a way that creates jobs, fights climate change and is done in an environmentally responsible manner.
Carbon Pricing: Reducing the amount of carbon emissions we produce is a critical component of fighting climate change. Oil companies and fossil fuels are huge contributors to carbon emissions and air pollution—but they have not paid for the damage they cause to our environment or our public health. Attaching a price to carbon will encourage big businesses to reduce their carbon emissions and help Connecticut meet its energy targets. By following the successful model of programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Connecticut can become a national leader by establishing a regional price on carbon.
Land Preservation: Towns and municipalities face ever-tightening budgets, and have asked repeatedly for a reliable source of revenue to acquire dedicated open space, local farmland, or water resources. Our parks, farms, trails, and beaches are what attract and keep residents in Connecticut. Communities in other states that have passed land preservation legislation saw their home values increase while simultaneously preserving tens of thousands of acres of open space.
"Earth Day is an important time for environmental advocacy. Spring is here, and now more than ever people are recognizing the importance of a green Connecticut," said Schoen. "We have to take action now to ensure our environment is protected for generations to come. CTLCV is calling on all our lawmakers this Earth Day to take promises and turn them into policies. We need a green Connecticut."
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