Connecticut's Transportation Pollution Problem
April 2022 Newsletter
Transportation pollution accounts for 37.4% of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions and has a significant negative impact on local air quality. On March 11, the legislature’s Transportation and Environment Committees held a joint public hearing on two bills aimed at tackling Connecticut’s transportation pollution problem. House Bill 5039 would allow Connecticut to adopt California’s medium and heavy duty truck standards, and Senate Bill 4 includes requirements that all the state’s light duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2030, and 100% of school buses in Environmental Justice (EJ) communities will be zero-emission by 2030 and the rest of the state by 2035.
Both bills are critically important to address the climate crisis and will save lives, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. The communities bear an unfair burden of transportation pollution, having suffered generations of systematic marginalization that forces them to live closer to warehouses, transit centers, and highways.
Big rigs, delivery vehicles, buses, and even garbage trucks are the number one source of our most dangerous air pollutants. Despite making up just 6% of the vehicles on the road, they are responsible for 50% of NOx pollution and 45% of fine particulate matter. Living within just one third of a mile of a highway or close to ports, warehouse distribution centers or other freight corridors is devastating for lung health and can lead to early death.
In a report released just before the public hearing, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) found that the health benefits of adopting House Bill 5039 will save Connecticut $270 million dollars in avoided health care costs between 2020-2040 and could be as much as $500 million to $1.4 billion by 2050.
Passage of Senate Bill 4 and House Bill 5039 will move Connecticut towards the clean transportation solutions needed to address climate change, public health, and clean air.
Urge your legislators to support Pollution-Free Trucks In Connecticut Now!
Samantha Dynowski is State Director of Sierra Club Connecticut.