Gov. Ned Lamont signed a broad Executive orderThis calls for increased energy efficiency and a decrease in mileage. It wasn’t all good news for everyone.
“We know this is the crisis of our time and it calls on all of us to get involved and get engaged,” Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said.
Dykes stated that the executive order Lamont signed moves state in the right direction.
“Obviously the permanent funding mechanism and the cap on carbon emissions was an element of TCI is not something that we can do without legislation but to the extent that i think the theme here is not meeting our 2030 targets, know there are things the executive branch can do within existing authority,” Dykes said.
The Transportation Climate Initiative was not approved by the legislature. This would have prevented carbon emissions from transportation sectors through what amounts to a gasoline tax.
“The number one source of pollution right now is our transportation system. Connecticut’s doing really well in terms of the electric system, really well on getting zero carbon on our electric grid over the next 10 to 15 years,” Lamont said.
Lamont stated that this executive order, which goes into effect immediately, will address climate change.
“This is what the market is calling for and our job is to make sure that Connecticut is ready,” he said
Switching to electric vehicles “is going to save middle class drivers a lot of money,” he added.
The executive order requires 23 actions, including a statewide fleet of electric buses, a target to reduce the number of miles we drive, regulations for emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, and efficiency standards for appliances.
House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said the governor’s actions will impact residents’ pocketbooks.
“Aside from the tax dollars that are going to have to go into replacing all our buses with battery operated vehicles, the governor is directing the commissioner to impose efficiency standards on all our consumer goods,” Candelora said.
He says it’s unknown which appliances will fall under the policy.
“We can have leaf blowers and lawn mowers and washing machines being subject to certain efficiency standards that’s going to cost all consumers in the state of Connecticut,” he said.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will decide on the appliances.
The executive order was cheered by environmental advocates.
“It’s a holistic approach, which is of course how we should address climate change,” Thomas Lefebvre, coordinator for Transit Hartford Academy at the Center for Latino Progress, said.
Lefebvre said it’s a step in the right direction.
“All of this is putting pressure on the legislature to act,” he added.
But that’s not how some lawmakers see it.
“Now we’re seeing the governor attempting to implement environmental policies that were rejected, that environmentalists have been putting pressure on him to try and address,” Candelora said.
“To me he’s just appeasing a group of people and circumventing good government,” he added.
Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut State Director, stated that the legislature must take action.
“Unfortunately, Connecticut’s lawmakers have repeatedly failed to give the danger of climate change the attention it requires. They have failed to cap pollution from transportation, failed to commit to 100% clean renewable energy, and put off serious climate action for the future,” Phelps said.
He said Lamont’s executive order has good ideas, but doesn’t go far enough.
“Purchasing clean electricity for state properties and requiring manufacturers to produce more efficient appliances that use less energy are good steps to take. But they represent only a small down payment on the work necessary to win the race to stop climate change,” Phelp said
But it’s the best the state can offer at the moment.
“This executive order is reflecting all of the actions that we can take with the tools that the executive branch has to ensure that we make further progress,” Dykes said.