Environmental Wins this Session

June 14, 2019

I am pleased that Connecticut is taking important steps with innovative ideas to help us address our environmental and energy challenges. I wanted to share a few successes we had this legislative session that address energy and climate change.

Solar, Wind and Fracking

  • Legislation that would expand the state’s fracking waste ban to include all gas and oil extraction waste is waiting on the governor’s signature. Fracking is a process used by some oil and natural gas companies to release substances like natural gas and oil from underground rock formations. This measure will play a critical role ensuring the safety of our residents helping to protect the environment.
  • A comprehensive measure that will lay the ground work towards sustainable green initiatives that include investments in renewable energy and green technology to help us achieve some of our long term energy goals is also awaiting the governor’s signature.
  • HB 5002, a green economy and environmental protection measure, will lead to the deployment of solar energy in our state and increase green jobs and economic activity.
  • Greener days for energy production are on the horizon for Connecticut with HB 7156 authorizing the procurement of energy derived from offshore wind. This legislation positions the state to grow as a leader in green energy technology and ultimately help Connecticut achieve its renewable energy goals. The bill also addresses last year's energy measure to correct the manner in which solar power consumers are compensated for the excess energy their panels produce.
  • SB 1062 will authorize climate change and coastal resiliency funds to municipalities which will enable our shoreline line towns to develop programs to address climate change. Branford is already taking the lead on this effort when back in February $1 million was allocated to counteract the impact of sea level rise.

Plastic Ban
The use of plastic bags will be banned across the state in 2021, but in the meantime a 10-cent tax on every bag will be imposed beginning August 1 of this year. If you don’t want to add the extra fee in the checkout line, be sure to stock up on reusable shopping bags and get in the habit of bringing them into the stores when you go shopping.

I commend the advocacy efforts of those who wanted to ensure that towns kept their choice of enacting ordinances requiring a charge on paper bags if they wish, as well as the inclusion of the 10-cent tax fee on plastic compostable bags which don’t biodegrade on their own.

Local Environment Efforts
It is worth mentioning that Branford passed a plastic bag ban during this week's Representative Town Meeting. This law will take effect in six months. Together, we are working on changing our habits for the greater good!

As of this coming school year, Branford Public Schools will no longer be using Styrofoam trays in the cafeteria!

Over the past few months, a group of Tisko fourth graders also took on this issue, researched it, and presented their argument to the district Food Advisory Committee, and then to the board of education.

If you watch this video you will see the girls’ presentation AND the board agreeing to get rid of the styrofoam trays AND working to reduce waste in the school cafeterias! Our Branford students were successful in achieving what we couldn't get done in Hartford.

Ensuring that our future generations enjoy a better Connecticut is one of my top priorities. Protecting our environment is a responsibility that we all share and must take seriously. Having clean air, land and water makes Connecticut a more desirable place to live and work. I am pleased to have local Branford partners working together to make a difference.

And don’t forget the 35th Annual Branford Festival this weekend! More information here.