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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
For more information contact:
Louis W. Burch, Program Coordinator, 203.821.7050, 203.503.1314 (mobile), lburch@citizenscampaign.org

POST LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENVIRONMENTAL RECAP

Environmental Group Applauds State Government for Accomplishments, Recognizes There is Much Work to be Done

Hartford, CT – Governor Malloy and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Dan Esty held a press briefing on Tuesday to re-cap the administration’s achievements in environmental policy during the 2013 legislative session. Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) recognizes and applauds a number of achievements were made during the legislative session, but adds that many crucial environmental and human health issues remain unaddressed.

“CCE is impressed to see legislators from both sides of the aisle working together on pressing issues such as storm preparedness and shoreline preservation,” said Lou Burch, Program Coordinator for CCE. “For the first time ever, state and local governments will recognize climate change and sea level rise as a critical factor when planning for development in CT’s shoreline communities.”

The legislature also authorized over $1 billion in funding in 2013 for much needed improvements to Connecticut’s sewage and stormwater treatment infrastructure. “Protecting coastal waterways and public health is a tremendous priority, especially with the threat of stronger and more frequent extreme weather events,” continued Burch.

But Burch warns that while accomplishments deserve praise, they must not be allowed to overshadow critical issues that remain unresolved.

“Despite the Malloy administration’s glowing re-cap, the legislature still failed to act on a number of critical health protections this year,” continued Burch. “Despite a massive showing of public support, the leadership in the House of Representatives withheld legislation aimed at reducing student’s exposures to toxic pesticides on high school playing fields. Another common sense bill to identify and phase-out toxic chemicals in children’s products unfortunately died in committee. To think that the legislature cannot find a bi-partisan way to agree on protecting children’s health is simply unconscionable.”

CCE has also expressed disappointment in the DEEP’s continuing efforts to roll-back and dilute the state’s clean energy commitments. This year, the agency presented an ill-conceived proposal to raid $25.4 million from the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) and $5 million from Connecticut’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to fill holes in the state budget. Established in 2011, CEFIA (formerly the CT Clean Energy Fund) programs help incentivize and finance private investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency in Connecticut. The raid would have decimated statutorily-mandated programs, like the residential solar program and clean energy financing options for small businesses. RGGI is an interstate exchange that has successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel plants and invested more than a billion dollars in energy savings throughout the Northeast.

“Although this measure was abandoned due to overwhelming public outcry, it’s indicative that the state has a short-sighted view when it comes to energy policy,” said Burch. “These programs were established to help save ratepayers money, create jobs, fight climate change, and expand renewable energy development. Policy makers must realize that these programs are crucial for the long term health of Connecticut’s economy and environment, and should not be treated like a public slush fund.”

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by lburch  6/19/13