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Governor Lamont Signs Executive Order Directing Connecticut State Agency to Take Actions to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Adapt To Climate Crisis

Governor Lamont Signs Executive Order Directing Connecticut State Agency to Take Actions to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Adapt To Climate Crisis

Governor Ned Lamont

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Governor Ned Lamont


12/16/2021

Governor Lamont Signs Executive Order Directing Connecticut State Agency to Take Actions to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Adapt To Climate Crisis

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed an executive order (Executive Order No. 21-3) directing Connecticut executive branch state agencies to take significant actions within their authority to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis.

Connecticut is now more vulnerable to the changing climate and it is becoming increasingly difficult to act now to mitigate the future consequences. The state’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory ReportThe state is not meeting its interim 2030 target due to rising emissions from the transport and building sectors. Governor Lamont stated that the state must act aggressively within the existing authority to reduce carbon emissions. That is why he is directing a whole government approach in EO 21-3 and asking the Connecticut General Assembly for authorization to expand investment and decarbonization programs.

“Climate change is here, and it’s only going to get worse if we don’t take meaningful action,” Governor Lamont. “In September, a bad progress report showed that we’re in danger of missing our statutory greenhouse gas reduction goals, so we need to roll up our sleeves and do the necessary work to improve. That work starts with us in the executive branch, and that’s why I’m directing our state agencies to take these actions for our environment, our public health and safety, and the incredible opportunity before us to develop our green workforce. This executive order not only protects the planet, but also protects vulnerable communities, preserves families’ budgets, and prepares our state to make the most of federal funding for sustainable, resilient infrastructure. I’m grateful to the many experts and advocates who proposed these measures.”

Executive Order No. 21-3 calls for 23 actions, proposed by the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) in its January 2021 Report, which cut across state agencies in the following areas.

  • Buildings and infrastructure
  • Clean transportation
  • Climate resilience in the community
  • Health, equity and environmental justice
  • The economy and jobs
  • Natural and work lands

The executive order requires 23 actions: affordable heating and cooling for Connecticut residents, businesses, building codes, a statewide fleet of battery electric buses; shovel-ready resilience programs; regulation of emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles; and increasing resilience in forests and agriculture. It also establishes Connecticut’s first Office of Climate and Public Health, the first Connecticut Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Council, the first Connecticut Clean Economy Council, and continues the work of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change.

“From our built environment to our natural environment and everything in between, the impacts of the climate crisis are informed by every decision we make, and felt in every aspect of our lives,” Katie Dykes, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner. “I commend Governor Lamont for taking this action, and thank my colleagues at our sister agencies and all who participated in the Governor’s Council on Climate Change for helping to move these actions forward. These actions, combined with the historic federal infrastructure funding coming to Connecticut, provide us with an extraordinary opportunity to advance equity and environmental justice, clean air, healthier communities, affordable energy, and expanded jobs and economic opportunity, all while reducing planet-warming emissions and making communities more resilient to a changing climate.”

“Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation can be the biggest driver to reduce air pollutants,” Joseph Giulietti, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner, said. “Connecticut families and communities, especially the ones most vulnerable and historically underserved, deserve clean transportation. I commend Governor Lamont on the climate executive orders. The DOT will do our part, while listening to and working with our partners in health, and equity and environmental justice, to ensure our efforts have a positive impact on all people.”

“Buildings are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut,” Josh Geballe, Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Administrative Services, said. “Updating the state building code to account for recent advances in cost-effective, energy-efficient construction techniques and to withstand increased wind and water hazards will save families and businesses money on repairs and on their monthly heating, cooling, and other energy bills. The administration will practice what we preach by making state buildings greener and more resilient.”

“Addressing the effects of climate change and the impacts it has on our working lands and soils in Connecticut is critically important to sustaining our vibrant agricultural industry,” Bryan P. Hurlburt, Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner, said. “We appreciate the support from across the administration, including Governor Lamont and Commissioner Dykes, as well as the members of the Ag Soils working group on the Governor’s Council on Climate Change who put forward the recommendations to streamline the protection of working lands, enhance renewable energy and energy efficiency programs available to farms and build a sustainable and equitable food system.”

“I am proud to join Governor Lamont and fellow agency heads for today’s announcement,” David Lehman, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner. “This executive order displays the State of Connecticut’s full commitment to a clean energy economy that will benefit our state residents for generations to come. The Council on Clean Energy and Economy will bring state leaders to the table to ensure our economy is not only thriving, but doing so with a focus on clean energy, sustainability, and equitable opportunity.”

“Climate change is one of my areas of special interest and a strategic initiative that the Department of Public Health will be focusing on,” Dr. Manisha Juthani, Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner, said. “Thanks to a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Public Health is forming a new Office of Climate and Public Health that will include relationships with several partners throughout the state, including the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health. We will implement actions to improve health equity and resilience and ensure that Connecticut communities are ready for the effects of climate change on their health. This office also will focus on those populations most vulnerable to the health effects of climate crisis and address the social determinants of health in the context of climate change.”

“The Connecticut Insurance Department has been focused on the need to address climate change, including through modifying and enhancing building codes to make structures more resilient to damage from storms, wind, fire and floods,” Connecticut Insurance Department Commissioner Andrew N. Mais said. “Mitigation of storm-related risk through investments in damage resilient products and using modern building standards to better withstand a catastrophic event is money well spent.”

“We’re happy to continue as a member of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change and begin a new tenure on the Connecticut Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Council,” Seila Moquera-Bruno, Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner, said. “As always, we will provide input on how to make housing more energy-efficient and able to withstand the effects that may come along with the natural elements.”

“This executive order is a tremendous step for our state to address climate change and the incredible damage it is doing to our planet,” Melissa McCaw, Office of Policy and Management Secretary. “This is an opportunity for state government to take the lead on this issue that will have generational impact and OPM is honored to take part in these efforts and apply our expertise as needed. Through these initiatives and the hard-work and dedication of staff, we can potentially achieve the real and tangible progress necessary to combat this crisis.”

Summary of Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 21-3

Infrastructure and buildings

  • Directs the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), in the next Comprehensive Energy Strategy, to identify strategies to provide for more affordable heating and cooling for residents and businesses, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from residential and commercial buildings and industrial processes, and improve the resilience of the state’s energy sector to extreme weather events, fuel commodity price spikes, and other disruptions.
  • Directs the building inspector from the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to make sure Connecticut’s buildings are constructed to be energy efficient and climate resilient through adoption of the 2021 international codes and ensuring reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change, including the state sea level rise scenario, are core considerations when amending and adopting the State Building Code.
  • Directs state agencies to strengthen interim targets under the GreenerGov Lead by Example initiative in order to meet the state government goal of 45% emissions reduction by 2030 called for in Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 1. These interim targets include the following: organics/food waste diversion; purchase of 100% zero carbon electricity; lease zero emission light duty vehicles; plan for retrofitting and new construction zero-carbon heating and cooling; divest buildings; deploy solar energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Directs DEEP in order to establish appliance standards that encourage energy conservation and efficiency, provided the appliances remain affordable for consumers who buy and use them.

Clean transportation

  • Directs Connecticut Department of Transportation to stop providing state funding to third parties to purchase diesel buses by the end of 2023. It also creates an implementation plan that identifies any obstacles to electrification of all bus fleets by 2035. It also directs DOT set a 2030 Vehicle Miles traveled reduction target.

Climate resilience within the community

See Also
Stanford Gets $1B for Climate Change School From John Doerr | New York News

  • Directs DEEP for the establishment of a Connecticut Community Climate Resilience Program for plans and project development. 40% of resources will be targeted at municipalities with vulnerable populations. This investment will help identify projects that could be eligible for federal infrastructure funding. The executive order directs that the department work with partners to assist municipalities and councils in implementing climate resilience actions. This includes establishing stormwater authorities as well as municipal climate resilience boards. Public Act 21-115. The executive order also directs the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DEEP, DAS) and the Office of Policy and Management(OPM), to create a list of critical facilities in the state and local areas. It also directs all state agencies, especially those in floodplains and flood-prone areas, to include this list in their capital and climate resilience planning.

Health, equity, justice and the environment

  • Directs DEEP to develop a community-based air quality monitoring program, in consultation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH); directs the department to assess whether Connecticut needs to adopt California’s medium and heavy-duty vehicle emissions standards in order to meet our air quality standards and emissions reduction targets; directs DPH to establish an Office of Climate and Public Health to address the intersection of climate change and health equity; and establishes within DEEP the Connecticut Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which will advise DEEP on current and historic environmental injustice, and further integrate environmental justice considerations into the programs, policies, and activities of DEEP.

Economy and jobs

  • Establishes the Connecticut Clean Economy Council to advise the governor on strategies and policies to strengthen the state’s climate mitigation, clean energy, resilience, and sustainability programs by identifying opportunities to leverage state and federal funding and maximize local economic development in clean energy, climate and sustainability; train the workforce in these areas; and support a diverse and equitable economic development and employment. The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (OPM, DEEP), DOT, the Office of Workforce Strategy and the Office of the Governor will all be represented on the council.
  • Directs DECD that climate resilience and adaptation be included in scoring criteria of brownfields grants and the new Connecticut Communities Challenge.

Both natural and industrial lands

  • Directs DEEP and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DOAG) to engage stakeholders on resources and programs to ensure Connecticut’s forests and farms continue to be resilient to the impacts of climate change and to maximize their potential to sequester and store carbon in support of the state’s emissions reduction goals. These actions will enable the state to achieve climate-smart forestry and agriculture. It directs DOAG and other federal agencies to work together to improve soil health, protect working lands, and increase renewable energy and energy efficiency for farms. It directs state agencies also to use nature-based strategies to improve the resilience state properties.

Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3)

  • The GC3 is extended to require a report on progress in both mitigation and adaptation planning and resilience planning in sections 5 and 4. Executive Order No. 3By December 31, 2022 and every year thereafter.

The actions taken in the executive order build on the extensive steps the Lamont administration has taken to date to address the climate crisis, starting with Governor Lamont’s first executive order – Executive Order No. 1 – which directs executive branch state agencies to recommit to and expand the state’s Lead by Example program to reduce energy use, water, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions while lowering operating costs in state government facilities and operations. According to the 2021 GreenerGov Progress ReportThese agencies implemented over 90 sustainability projects, policy modifications, and initiatives between 2020-2021, despite having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects are expected decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the region of 10,236 metric tonnes and reduce annual utility costs by $1.7 million.

Governor Lamont continued to take actions through Executive Order No. 3The GC3 was expanded to include oversight of climate change adaptation and resilience as well as monitoring carbon emissions. Identifying pathways to a 100% carbon-free electric sectorBy 2040

The Lamont administration also directed The largest purchase of renewable energy in the state’s historyWith the 804 MW Park City Wind farm.

**Download: Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 21-3
**Download: Executive Order No. 23 – A detailed summary of all 23 actions. 21-3

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