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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

CITIZENS CAMPAIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AUDUBON CT CLEAN WATER ACTION COALITION FOR A SAFE & HEALTHY CT CT FUND FOR THE ENVIRONMENT/SAVE THE SOUND CT FOREST & PARKS ASSOCIATION CT LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS ENVIRONMENT CONNECTICUT THE NATURE CONSERVANCY RIVERS ALLIANCE OF CT SIERRA CLUB CT CHAPTER THE WATERSHED PARTNERSHIP
For immediate release:
Thursday, April 23, 2015
For more information contact:
Louis Burch, Government Relations, 203.821.7050, 203.503.1314 (mobile), lburch@citizenscampaign.org
Sandy Breslin, Director of Gov't Affairs, 203.264.5098 x307, 203.804.0488 (mobile), sbreslin@audubon.org

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS, LAWMAKERS STAND TOGETHER IN HARTFORD TO CELEBRATE EARTH DAY

HARTFORD, CT – A diverse group of environmental and conservation groups converged on the North Capitol steps in Hartford today to celebrate Earth Day and to highlight pro-environment legislation currently being considered by the CT General Assembly. This year, there are more than one dozen priority bills that would do everything from protecting clean water and the Long Island Sound, to preserving open space funding, to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for future generations to enjoy.

“Earth Day reminds us to call attention to the variety of ways we can help preserve and protect our planet. While tackling climate change, eliminating poverty, and moving toward a more sustainable, zero-waste economy seem like insurmountable issues to solve, there is reason for hope. The legislature has the power this session to pass two bills that would phase out single-use plastic bags and eliminate the sale of cosmetics containing harmful microbeads. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting these two initiatives for the sake of our planet and for the sake of future generations,” said State Representative James Albis, co-chair of the Environment Committee.

“Connecticut has made great progress in advancing environmental responsibility and sustainability” said State Representative Jonathan Steinberg. “Today we recognize our accomplishments while we redouble our efforts to become even better stewards of the planet. Our legislative agenda this year reflects such a commitment.”

“This Earth Day, we are calling on our lawmakers to advance commonsense legislation that will protect our natural resources and ensure that our children will still have a healthy environment to enjoy when they grow up,” said Louis Burch of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “By reducing disposable shopping bags that threaten our wildlife, eliminating plastic microbeads in personal care products that are fouling our waters, and prohibiting toxic pesticides at children’s parks and playgrounds, our legislature has the opportunity to choose the public need over industry greed. A healthy environment is a necessity, not a luxury. Industry has a responsibility to be good stewards of our environment. It’s what the public demands and what our future generations deserve.”

"We need to use every tool at our disposal to protect our land, water, air, wildlife and public health,” said Lori Brown, Executive Director of the CT League of Conservation Voters. “Earth Day puts a spotlight on our environment at the State Capitol and on the positions our state legislators can take that positively impact the planet."

“The first Earth Day inspired a generation of Americans to work together to create a safer, healthier environment for people and wildlife,” said Stewart Hudson, Executive Director of Audubon Connecticut. “This year, thanks to the leadership of Senator Kennedy, Representative Albis and many other lawmakers here today, we are poised to make further progress: reducing dangerous litter from plastic bags; decreasing pesticide exposure; phasing out plastic microbeads in our waters; enhancing funding parks and open space; and protecting Long Island Sound. Audubon knows that where birds thrive, people prosper. The Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon here today symbolize how changing our behavior can change the environment for the better. These birds – once almost extinct as a result of pesticide overuse – are making a comeback and are both now found nesting in the City of Hartford. Let’s keep the spirit of Earth Day alive by passing this suite of bills that will ensure healthier communities for people and birds in the future.”

“On Earth Day, we ask people to close their eyes and imagine beautiful places, like Connecticut’s State Parks, that make Connecticut so special,” said Eric Hammerling from the CT Forest & Parks Association. "Then, we ask them to open their eyes to the fact that these natural and historic gems need protection and management to benefit future generations the way they have benefitted us. SB 1061, the State Parks Sustainability Bill, would establish creative and long-awaited funding mechanisms to make the State Parks less vulnerable to deep budget cuts during tough fiscal times. We thank the Environment Committee for its strong support of SB 1061!”

“In celebration this week of life on a clean, healthy, and liveable Earth for us and those who will come after us, let's pledge once again to maximize renewable, clean energy to address climate change, vigorously protect our natural resources, and use the Precautionary Principle to guide us in minimizing exposure to the many forms of life threatening toxics,” said Martin Mador from CT Sierra Club.

“Earth Day gives us the opportunity to step back from the day-to-day grind and appreciate the complex, amazing, and connected natural resources we all rely on,” said Leah Schmalz, program director of Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound. “It’s a day to celebrate our planet and the people who spend their days protecting it—from the legislators that take action to protect our little slice of the world near Long Island Sound, to the citizens that volunteer their time cleaning up beaches and protecting wildlife. But Earth Day also reminds us that much more work remains in the fight to protect and restore our shared home. Priorities like clean water funding for projects in Connecticut, removing barriers to electric vehicle ownership in the state, and developing strong protections from the stormwater pollution plaguing our communities are all on tap at the legislature this session, and CFE is excited to work with lawmakers and citizens to help them become a reality.”

“With a Blue Plan, Connecticut can assure new uses of Long Island Sound are compatible with traditional values and resources,” Nathan Frohling, director of coastal and marine initiatives for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut, said. “We will be able to better balance new uses, while protecting such things as commercial and recreational boating and fishing and the maritime beauty and environmental values that make the Sound such a desirable place to live.”

"We are increasingly concerned about the growing body of scientific research linking pesticide exposure to many serious diseases and neurobehavioral disorders, particularly in young children,” said Anne Hulick, RN, MS, JD Director, Clean Water Action and Coordinator, Coalition for a Safe and Healthy CT. “We applaud the Environment Committee for their leadership to reduce exposure to these highly toxic chemicals.”

"45 years after the first Earth Day, cutting carbon pollution is the most urgent environmental challenge facing our state and nation,” said Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut State Director. “Connecticut should aggressively pursue deep carbon pollution cuts, and one place to start is by committing to getting 20% of the state's energy from solar power by 2025. Governor Malloy's proposed 10-fold increase in residential solar installations and large-scale "shared solar" proposals before the legislature would be a big step in that direction."

“If we truly care about future generations we must live within the limits of the Earth’s ability to provide us with raw materials and absorb our wastes,” said Dr. Jerry Silbert, Executive Director of the Watershed Partnership. “We must care for the health of soil, water, air, and the diversity of life on this planet. We cannot continue to take more than can be replenished by the earth or future generations will suffer the consequences.”

“To protect planet Earth we must protect our water” said Margaret Miner, Executive Director of Rivers Alliance of CT. “Without water the planet is barren rock. Rivers Alliance thanks those Connecticut legislators who are striving this year to reduce the huge quantities of pesticides and plastics fouling our waters, and striving to protect headwaters and shorelines by saving the natural landscape that buffers them from trash and toxins. This could be a good year for Planet Earth and for water in Connecticut.”
 

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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  4/23/15