Connecticut Leads on Climate this Session
The 2022 Connecticut legislative session came to a close at midnight this past Wednesday May 4. The legislature stepped it up this year and delivered some big wins for climate and the environment. We are proud of the work that was done this session by our members and supporters, our volunteers and staff, and our legislative environmental champions. We couldn’t be happier with the positive results and are extending a big thank you for all your advocacy. There were a few disappointing losses among the wins which will need our continued attention. Onward!
Good Climate Bills that passed:
Senate Bill 4 tackles pollution from Connecticut’s transportation sector, which is responsible for 37.4% of greenhouse gas emissions. The bill gives Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) the authority to move forward with medium- and heavy-duty vehicle regulations adopted by a growing number of states from coast to coast, including California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington. This will allow the state to proceed with adoption of various life-saving regulations that address nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution and would put more zero-emission trucks on the road, including the Advanced Clean Trucks rule and the Heavy Duty Omnibus rule. The bill also invests in and transitions the state fleet, transit buses, and school buses to electric, introduces consumer e-bike rebates, and expands access to electric vehicle charging. Here’s how they voted: Senate and House
Senate Bill 176 increases the annual amount of shared and commercial solar allowed in Connecticut by doubling the current caps on these types of solar and by allowing commercial roofs to be fully covered by solar panels (instead of only enough solar to meet the needs of the building). Here’s how they voted: Senate and House
House Bill 5295 requires every school district in the state to teach Climate Change Education in line with the Next Generation Science Standards. This bill was inserted into the budget implementer (House Bill 5506, section 266) and passed both chambers.
Senate Bill 243 will provide reimbursement or payment of agricultural restoration to include climate smart practices. This bill was inserted into the budget implementer (House Bill 5506, sections 145 and 146) which passed both chambers.
Good Environment Bills that passed:
It was a big year for reducing our toxics exposure and limiting waste. Many thanks to our pesticides coalition partners and zero waste advocates who worked tirelessly with us to help get these bills across the finish line.
House Bill 5143 establishes an office of aquatic invasive species to coordinate and address problems caused by such species in the waters of the state. This bill was inserted into the budget implementer (House Bill 5506 section 68) which passed both chambers.
Senate Bill 117 will increase transparency and establish standards for the removal of trees and shrubs that constitute an immediate public hazard at state parks and campgrounds. This bill was added as an amendment to Senate Bill 238. Here’s how they voted: Senate and House
Bad Bills that Passed:
Unfortunately, there were some bills that passed that we could not support this session as they were not in line with our greenhouse gas reduction goals and our need to move to 100% clean, renewable energy. They were:
HB 5118 would have changed the Renewable Portfolio Standards in favor of dirty waste incinerators, inject biogas into the existing pipelines, and divert RPS funds to waste management instead of reducing ratepayer costs as intended. This bill was inserted into the budget implementer (House Bill 5506 sections 164- 168) without the biogas section.
HB 5202 would exempt existing nuclear power generating facilities in the state from the nuclear power facility construction moratorium. This bill was passed in both the House and the Senate in the last two days of the session. Here’s how they voted: Senate and House.
HB 5200 as written would launch a task force to develop plans to launch the production of hydrogen from any source, opening the door to more dirty polluting energy production in the state. The bill passed both chambers. Here’s how they voted: Senate and House.
Great Environment Bills and Climate Bills that are a MIssed Opportunity:
Although we are thrilled with the progress we made as a state for the climate and environment this session, many good bills were not passed that will need to be revisited next session. These bills would have protected wildlife and human health, put a dent in the amount of waste produced in the state, and reduced emissions in housing.
Senate Bill 236 would have lessened emissions from certain back-up diesel generators, a serious air quality issue where these are being used.
Senate Bill 292 would have transitioned away from inefficient and polluting heating systems in new residential construction and establish a workforce training program.
House Bill 5041 would have provided information about the energy efficiency of a property to prospective renters
House Bill 5293 would have prohibited the use of wild and exotic animals, such as tigers and elephants, in traveling circuses.
House Bill 5140 would have prohibited the hand-harvesting of horseshoe crabs in the state to protect vulnerable horseshoe crabs populations
Senate Bill 239 would have prohibited the use of certain rodenticides in locations such as state parks and forests for the protection of hawks, raptors and other wildlife that feed upon such rodents.
Senate Bill 118 would have discontinued the use of certain polystyrene trays in schools and certain polystyrene containers for food from restaurants.
We will continue to work with other advocates and our passionate supporters to get these issues addressed not only in the legislature, but at every level of government. Thanks again for your continued support and advocacy. See you next month.