Sierra Club Connecticut's Legislative Committee is dedicated to the passage of laws which protect the public’s health and our shared environment. It is comprised of members who advocate for or against particular legislation proposed in a session. We take positions on bills that are consistent with the Club's mission, and with what is best for the people of Connecticut. The legislative team participates in lobbying events such as Clean Energy Lobby Day and Youth Climate Action Day at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. We keep up with bills as they are introduced into committees, follow them through the process, and let our members know how to show their support or opposition via email alerts. Combining the work of our Legislative Committee with the grassroots support of our members gives us the ability to influence the Connecticut General Assembly to vote in the best interest of the environment, economy and people.
2022 Legislative Priorities
Climate change is evident all around us and the impacts will be felt first and most by vulnerable populations. Sierra Club Connecticut’s legislative priorities are focused on protecting people and the planet from the worst impacts of climate change and pollution, and creating an environment where we all can thrive. In 2022, Sierra Club Connecticut urges policymakers to:
Lead on Climate
Pass legislation for a clean future: Establish 100% zero-emission electricity goal and help Connecticut ratepayers avoid costs associated with unneeded infrastructure by giving DEEP and the Siting Council the tools they need to reject fossil fuel power plants, end the ratepayer funded gas expansion plan as envisioned when it began, and repeal the unused and unneeded pipeline tax.
Continue to improve Connecticut’s Environmental Justice Law: In Connecticut, there is evidence that EJ communities suffer disproportionately from exposure to a multitude of air pollution sources and the cumulative impacts from air pollutants such as fine particulate matter (PM) that includes diesel particulates; criteria air pollutants that include ozone, lead and fine particulate matter; and hazardous air pollutants. Improvements to Connecticut’s Environmental Justice Law must be made to protect communities from the cumulative impacts of air pollution by restricting DEEP from permitting and locating new polluting sources in these already overburdened communities.
Clean up transportation pollution: Transportation pollution in Connecticut is a serious problem for public health, environmental justice, and our climate. The transportation sector accounts for 38% of greenhouse gas emissions. Legislators must pass legislation to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles and clean up transportation pollution including adopting medium and heavy duty vehicle emission standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as NOx, CO2, and PM2.5, which disproportionately impact low-income and communities of color.
Deploy solar power: Connecticut is lagging behind in the deployment of distributed and utility scale solar power. Solar can be deployed quickly, and paired with battery storage, for immediate benefits to residents, communities and the state that include lowering energy costs, resilience and health. We urge passage of legislation that will facilitate the adoption of solar energy, community solar, and storage by residents, businesses, nonprofits and governmental entities and will prioritize Environmental Justice, black and brown and low-income communities.
Climate change education: Climate change is an emergency; posing current and future threats to every human and the places we live. Science-based climate change education in schools and for the public is critical to support a just transition to a clean energy future for all, and to provide equal opportunities for careers, and meaningful engagement people must be properly informed.
Reduce Waste and Incineration
Pass a strong Extended Producer Responsibility Law: Connecticut continues to face a waste management crisis both on the state and municipal levels. Producers of packaging, tires, smoke detectors, and gas cylinders must be held responsible for the entire life cycle of their products, from production to end of life management, through an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) law.
Reduce single-use plastic waste: Single-use plastics like straws, plastic bags, polystyrene and balloons increase our waste stream and pollute our land, air, and waterways. We must reduce their environmental impact by requiring restaurants to only provide plastic straws upon request, strengthening the plastic bag law by including thicker bags, banning polystyrene from restaurant take out and school cafeterias, and banning balloon releases.
Strengthen Protection from Dangerous Toxic Chemicals
Further reduce PFAS exposure: PFAS are what is known as a forever chemicals, linked to health problems in adults, children and infants. The legislature must enhance monitoring of PFAs including more groundwater testing and water standards. Legislators must also turn off the tap of PFAS at the source by prohibiting its use in cookware, textiles, and all packaging.
Ban toxic chemicals: Chlorpyrifos is a harmful pesticide, and the herbicide Glyphosate is a known carcinogen. Both have been linked to cancer. Connecticut must expand protection against the dangers of chlorpyrifos by banning its use on golf courses. Glyphosate must be banned statewide from all public and private use.
Wildlife protections: Wildlife is under stress from habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, pollution and other stresses. Legislators can protect wildlife in 2022 by banning steel leg traps, prohibiting the use of wild animals in traveling acts, and promoting bear education, not hunting.
Sierra Club Connecticut anticipates advocating for many other issues during the legislative session including energy efficiency, fossil free buildings, voting rights, protecting democracy, promoting equity, desegregation zoning reform, food justice, fair budgeting, insurance regulation and more.
See activity on bills we are tracking here (bills will begin to be introduced in February 2022):
2021-22 Connecticut General Assembly Information
Visit cga.ct.gov to:
Find Your Legislators
Find Legislative Leaders
Look up Bills
See the Legislative Calendar of Events
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
There is a lot you can do, and boy do we need your help!
First, call your representatives and let them know exactly how you feel about these bills. The Connecticut General Assembly website has done a good job of providing an easy to use directory. Go here to access it and find out who your representative is and what their number is!
Besides that go here to subscribe to our mailing list, after signing up we can send you up-to-date emails on when and how to act to make sure Connecticut is moving in the right direction!
For more information, contact
Arthur Helmus, Chair
Sierra Club CT Legislative Committee