October Climate Update: Federal Advocacy, EVs, PURA Dockets, and more

Each Wednesday, we bring you an update on one of our program areas. This week: Climate. Read other recent updates on our blog.

Federal

Save the Sound Environmental Justice Specialist Joins GreenLatinos on Capitol Hill to Advocate for Environmental Justice

Our environmental justice specialist, Alex Rodriguez, joined GreenLatinos, a national organization focused on promoting climate justice and environmental justice for Latinx communities, for a week of federal advocacy on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to advocate for the Environmental Justice for All Act, among many other policies. Alex and his team met with the offices of officials including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and more. “We took our advocacy to the federal level this week, and for good reason. Our communities continue to suffer at disproportionate rates from the climate crisis, and that is why we need to act on climate alongside them, highlighting their stories, and sharing our power,” said Rodriguez. Click here to read more.

New York

New York State to Phase Out the Sale of Gas Vehicles by 2035

Are you ready for some electrifying news? The State of New York will phase out the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, following California’s adoption of these regulations. The regulations include annual targets for the sale of zero-emission vehicles for auto manufacturers in the state, beginning with 35% in 2026, 68% in 2030, and 100% by 2035. New York is also providing grants to establish zero emission fleets for cities and towns to ease the transition. These regulations will curb the emissions released into our atmosphere that harm our health and contribute to climate change, supporting a greener and cleaner New York.

Connecticut

Our climate and energy attorney, Charles Rothenberger, is our voice for a clean energy future at state and federal agencies. He is working to bring about the decarbonization of our electric grid at all levels to improve the health of our communities and to ensure that our region reduces emissions and is prepared to withstand the impacts of climate change we are already experiencing. Read below for the various energy-related dockets we have participated in to advance clean energy.

  • Offshore Wind is Revolutionary: Momentum for wind energy blows this way! The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is reviewing a proposed offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts (“Revolution Wind”), which will provide 304 megawatts of energy to Connecticut and 400 megawatts to Rhode Island. Now that the public comment period has ended, BOEM will assess those comments and issue a Final Environmental Impact Statement and a Record of Decision, which will determine whether construction and operation of the proposed project may move forward and detail the environmental safeguards established to allow the wind farm to operate responsibly.
  • Clean Energy for All: In addition to delivering comments on offshore wind development, we also delivered comments to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) regarding the Shared Clean Energy Facility (SCEF) Program. DEEP is seeking to encourage projects in state-identified environmental justice communities. SCEF focuses on low- and zero-carbon generation projects in Connecticut, which are chosen via a competitive bidding procurement process. The program will boost solar installations in the state, particularly solar projects benefitting EJ communities.
  • New Low-Income Discount Electricity Rate Design: In a decision issued today, PURA approved a two-tier discount rate designed to reduce energy costs for lower income ratepayers. This will provide households at or below 60% of the state median income with a 10% discount, and households at or below 160% of the federal poverty level with a 50% discount. The decision strives to ensure that home energy costs will not exceed 6% of a household’s income. The low-income discount rate will be available to households by January 1, 2024.
  • Public Engagement Newsletter: PURA has also debuted their Public Engagement Newsletter, to be released quarterly. The newsletter will highlight opportunities for public comment, procedural meetings, and major docket decisions.
  • Statewide Freight Plan: Lastly, the Connecticut Department of Transportation has issued its draft Statewide Freight Plan for 2022-26. As we continue to push for the electrification of single occupancy vehicles and buses, we must also advocate for clean energy alternatives for freight to heavily cut down transportation-related emissions. Residents are encouraged to review the plan and submit public comments. The comment deadline is October 24, and comments can be sent to DOTplanning@ct.gov.

Sharing the Stories of Young Environmental Leaders

Liam Enea, age 20, is a junior at the University of Connecticut studying Resource Economics. He currently interns with ISO-New England and is president of the UConn Clean Energy Society. He is dedicated to promoting solar energy throughout Connecticut and increasing the reliability of the grid. To read more about Liam’s advocacy, click here.

Election Day is November 8 – Get out and Vote!

Tuesday, November 8 is Election Day in Connecticut and New York. This is your opportunity to cast your vote to protect clean air and clean water at the ballot box.

  • Connecticut residents, if you are not registered to vote, register here. And if you are unsure of your voter registration status, click here.
  • New York residents, if you are not registered to vote, register here. And if you are unsure of your voter registration status, click here. Remember to vote YES on Prop 1, the Environmental Bond Act. Make your voice heard this Election Day!

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