Legislative Update 

Winter 2020

Samantha Dynowski

The time is now to act on climate. Connecticut has done far too little to take the bold action necessary to address climate change. When the 2020 legislature convenes on Wednesday, February 5, Sierra Club Connecticut will be there urging introduction and passage of legislation that will put us on the right path when it comes to climate and other environmental issues. 

 

We will not succeed without you. Facts and figures about climate change are not enough to make a difference. It will take people—a lot of people—working together to make the change we need. So, before you read on about the issues, consider what you can do to compel our state legislators to act like the planet is on fire, which it is.

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Interact with your legislators - by mail (a handwritten letter is a rarity and is more-often noticed), email, phone call, social media, at public meetings, or in public forums like online groups. Tell them why this issue is a priority for you, their constituent. Praise them when they are doing the right thing. Show concern when they don’t. Check in with them on a regular basis. 

 

Work with others - in your community. You can attend already existing public meetings with legislators or organize a community forum of your own with a friend. Write a letter to the editor or op-ed to your local paper. Attend a rally; the youth movement continues to plan large-scale rallies and you can help grow the movement by showing up.

Take part in the Sierra Club lobbying effort - throughout the legislative session we’ll send you alerts when action is needed. It is quick and easy to respond, and it helps, so please take action. We are also planning a series of environmental lobby days at the State Capitol in Hartford on April 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 12:30 to 2:30 pm; we’ll help you navigate the process, all you have to do is come. It makes a big difference to have citizens showing up and urging action. See more and sign up for lobby days at our Events & Outings Calendar.

If you want to do something but are not sure where to start, please let us know —we are happy to help!

 

Now, on to some of the key issues. In 2020, we want to see lots of progress for the environment, including:

 

A Green New Deal for Connecticut - Governor Lamont set a goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040 in Executive Order 3.  If this goal is codified to ensure 100% clean and renewable transportation and buildings (heat) in addition to electricity generation, Connecticut will see environmental, economic, and social benefits, while also creating good, high-paying green jobs and investing in our most vulnerable communities.

An End to Fossil Fuel Expansion - Despite mandated greenhouse gas reductions in the Global Warming Solution Act, other Connecticut laws encourage the expansion of fossil fuels. Now is the time to stop expanding fossil fuels and fully commit to a clean and renewable future.

Ban Single-Use Plastics & Expand/Modernize the Bottle Bill - Single-use plastics threaten our marine environment and take up unnecessary space in our waste stream. Connecticut should cut down on plastic waste by banning toxic polystyrene packaging, plastic straws, and other single use plastics. The Bottle Bill is effective for recycling glass, PET plastic and aluminum single-serve beverage containers. We can Increase recycling rates and improve efficiency by expanding it to include juices, teas, wines, spirits, and other beverages not currently covered.

Eliminate the Use of Dangerous Toxic Chemicals - These chemicals contaminate our water and threaten public health. Ban the use of toxic pesticides, chloripyrifos and glyphosate, and ban harmful PFAS chemicals in food packaging and firefighting foam wherever possible.

Protect Wildlife - Climate change is already impacting birds, fish, and insects in Connecticut and threatens all wildlife. We urge lawmakers to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Samantha Dynowski is State Director, Sierra Club Connecticut.