HARTFORD – State Sen. Christine Cohen (D-12) , who led the passage of Connecticut’s landmark Clean Air Act as chair of the Senate Environment Committee in the 2022 legislature, continued her environmental advocacy in the 2023 session and earned a 93% score on this year’s Environmental Scorecard published by the CT League of Conservation Voters.
The 2023 Environmental Scorecard, published annually, is intended to hold lawmakers accountable for their votes on environmental policy. The final score for each legislator represents an average of their votes on specific bills.
Cohen, who represents Branford, Durham, East Haven, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison, Middlefield, North Branford & Rockfall, cast pro-environment votes on 12 key bills that came before committees on which she served or in the full Senate.
Chief among these was due to Cohen’s leadership as co-chair of the Transportation Committee for Senate Bill 904, which included a “Carbon Budget.” This legislation sets a maximum amount of carbon dioxide emissions allowed from the transportation sector and holds the Department of Transportation to this “carbon budget” as a mechanism to help the state reach its climate goals. Among other provisions, this bill also initiated a study of the DOT’s tree-cutting practices to prevent the unnecessary loss of trees.
This support continues Cohen’s work on the Clean Air Act.
“Sen. Cohen established the foundation for many pro-environment bills as Chair of the Environment Committee in 2022, and to say that the CT Clean Air Act will be an important part of her legacy is not an overstatement,” said CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown. “We know that Sen. Cohen will continue her advocacy by remaining vigilant in the face of current attempts to thwart passage of regulations previously endorsed when the Clean Air Act was approved.”
Cohen also voted to provide grants to towns for PFAS testing and remediation to help improve drinking water quality. Cohen voted in favor of the Carbon-Free Schools bill to provide cleaner, healthier schools for our children and teachers. This bill would have leveraged state and federal funding to carry out cost-saving energy projects, fund solar and other energy efficiency studies, and provide technical assistance to evaluate and implement these projects.
Wildlife management was another legislative priority as evidenced by the passage of a bill to protect migrating birds from artificial night lighting. Cohen also supported the Seabird and Shorebird Protection Program which allows the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to designate and identify protected areas for nesting shore birds within the state’s coastal area along Long Island Sound. Cohen also voted to prevent the overharvesting of Horseshoe Crabs and to restore eel grass for climate resiliency and critical habitat.
This year’s Scorecard covers 31 bills affecting the environment and 3 bills advancing voting rights. This was the first year CTLCV included a separate “Democracy” score for all lawmakers based on voting rights legislation, and Sen. Cohen scored 100% in this category.
These and other important initiatives were deliberated and voted on at the CT General Assembly this year. More information about CTLCV’s work on behalf of the environment can be found at CTLCV.org
The public is also invited to attend CTLCV Education Fund’s annual Environmental Summit set for Jan. 23 where advocates, lawmakers, and policy experts will preview upcoming legislative priorities for the 2024 legislative session. The day-long session will be held in person at the CT Science Center with an online option, and limited free access for young people.
# # #
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.