CFE/Save the Sound 2020 Connecticut legislative agenda focuses on Climate, Resiliency, and Long Island Sound
2020 Legislative Agenda
NEW HAVEN, CONN. – During the 2020 Connecticut legislative session beginning February 5, Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound will focus on climate, clean waters, coastal resiliency, and defending against environmental rollbacks.
CUTTING EMISSIONS FOR A HEALTHY CLIMATE
Connecticut is legally obligated to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent by this year and 45 percent by 2030. Through Executive Order No. 3, Governor Lamont added an additional goal to transition to a zero carbon energy grid by 2040.
“Connecticut has set bold climate goals, and to achieve them we’ll be advancing policies that slash emissions from transportation, ramp up renewables, and ensure wise energy use,” said Climate and Energy Attorney Charles Rothenberger. “Not only will this help the state do its part in the climate crisis, but it will also cut health-harming air pollution, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, promote clean energy jobs, and drive economic development.”
• Put Connecticut on a statutory path towards 100 percent clean energy by 2040.
• Work to ensure Connecticut cuts greenhouse gas emissions and is on track to meet its 2030 mandate through accountability for state agencies to consider climate goals when making decisions or issuing permits.
• Ensure that the state leads by example in transitioning its fleet to electric vehicles.
• Adjust Connecticut’s shared solar program to ensure all Connecticut residents have access to shared solar projects.
• Ensure that protections are in place for energy efficiency and clean energy funds.
• Work to allow municipalities to establish high performance (green) building codes and support energy and efficiency transparency through building energy disclosures.
• Adopt California’s greenhouse gas emissions standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles.
PROTECTING OUR WATERS AND COMMUNITIES FROM STORMS AND POLLUTION
Long Island Sound is the ecological and cultural heart of our region, as well as an economic engine that produces at least $17 billion in economic activity—but it’s vulnerable to pollution, habitat loss, and the effects of climate change.
“The Sound and the rivers that run to it can be the lifeblood of our communities, but not if we keep taking them for granted and allowing sewage and filthy stormwater to drain into them,” said Soundkeeper Bill Lucey. “Connecticut needs policies that will enable our cities and towns to invest in clean water and use the power of nature to combat the more frequent flooding and higher storm surge we’re seeing.”
• Enhance resiliency bonding to ensure Connecticut has the ability to provide nature-based solutions—like green infrastructure and living shorelines—for flood management and limiting sea level rise impacts.
• Give municipalities the opportunity to create local Stormwater Authorities to direct funds for projects that reduce local sewage overflows, clean runoff pollution, and reduce flooding.
• Work to improve public understanding of the risks undermaintained dams pose, and increase transparency around selling of properties that include dams.
• Protect Clean Water Funding to ensure support is available for municipalities to undertake combined sewer overflow remediation, nutrient removal projects protecting Long Island Sound, river restoration projects, and wastewater infrastructure projects.
• Support efforts to ban use of the “forever chemicals” PFOS/PFAS that have polluted Connecticut rivers and contaminated fish.
• Continue efforts from last session to ban single-use containers made of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam).
STOPPING ENVIRONMENTAL ROLLBACKS AND PROTECTING PUBLIC HEALTH
Brazen efforts to limit accountability for pollutions and weaken state laws that protect drinking water, open space, and healthy air abound each year in Connecticut.
“As the federal government rolls back touchstone environmental regulation—Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Paris Climate Accord, Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and Fisheries protections—it’s more important than ever that our state legislators hold strong on existing protections and continue advancing the efforts that will ensure a healthy and thriving future for Connecticut,” said Chief Program Officer Leah Lopez Schmalz.
• Remain vigilant to ensure Connecticut’s environmental protections aren’t swept away if efforts to weaken them resurface.
• Defend drinking watershed lands, forests, and wetlands threatened by development or bad land transfer deals.
• Ensure our urban communities are not subjected to disproportionate environmental impact.
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