March 7, 2008
REPRESENTATIVES INTRODUCE NEW CLEAN ENERGY BILLS, LEGISLATION TO CREATE NEW 'DEPARTMENT OF CLEAN ENERGY'
This afternoon State Reps. Jim O'Rourke (D-Cromwell, Portland, Middletown), Diana Urban (D-Stonington), Terry Backer (D-Stratford) and Mary Mushinsky (D-Wallingford) called for a major initiative to create a new 'Clean Energy Economy' in Connecticut. With the rising prices of gas and oil scarcity, the bills aim to convert Connecticut's current fossil fuel-based energy economy to one completely reliant on clean energy.
"There are grave consequences to maintaining our oil-based economy and huge economic opportunities for those who invest in clean energy," said Rep. O'Rourke.
The bills, HB 5686, 5788 and 5787, aim to ensure the environmental and economic future of Connecticut, the cornerstone of which would be to create a brand new "Department of Clean Energy." The agency will be created with a $2 billion bonding item attached to bill no. 5787.
Additionally, the group stressed that the legislation was not just crucial to fighting global warming, but key to helping all sectors of the economy grow. By converting to clean, or "Green," energy nearly all areas of the economy would experience job growth, while allowing the state to become a national leader in clean energy technology and implementation.
"We must have Government invest in programs to revitalize the economy and restore people's faith that our economy can grow and prosper," Rep. Urban said. "Our bill recognizes that the fossil fuel economy is rapidly becoming far too expensive to maintain. Our working families cannot afford the energy prices that push electricity and gas costs ever higher and are now showing up at the supermarket in increasingly higher food prices."
"Oil has begun its climb and will never return to the days we knew. Our society faces the largest challenge in all our history, transitioning from an economy and lifestyle totally dependent on oil to one of new energy sources, consumption patterns and infrastructure. We must begin to capitalize now." Rep. Terry Backer said.
"With heating oil at $3.89 per gallon, our New England region is at a competitive disadvantage unless we take aggressive action to change our energy mix. This bill gets us started," Rep. Mushinsky said.
State Rep. Elissa Wright (D-Groton) was among a handful of other lawmakers at the news conference that voiced support for the legislation.
"The substantial economic benefit from strong governmental partnerships with business and industry to stimulate renewable energy for our mutual benefit as we continue to address the challenges associated with global warming is tremendous," Rep. Wright said.