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Climate Change Tops CT Environmental Legislative Agenda

Environmental groups want Connecticut to set a goal of 2000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. (Peterjohn Chisholm/AdobeStock)
Environmental groups want Connecticut to set a goal of 2000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. (Peterjohn Chisholm/AdobeStock)
May 3, 2019

HARTFORD, Conn. – Fighting climate change is at the top of the legislative priorities list for many Connecticut environmental groups. The Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club wants state lawmakers to promote policies like requiring 100% renewable energy by 2035, and setting a net-zero target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

According to chapter chair Ann Gadwah, those are goals that can be met.

"The way that we could do this is moving away from fossil fuels, moving away from gas, moving away from oil, moving away from coal to renewable energy, such as wind power, solar power," says Gadwah.

Bills have been introduced to expand procurement of energy from offshore wind and to improve net metering of solar power.

Gadwah points out that natural gas is a powerful greenhouse gas, but in many Connecticut cities, more than 3% of commercial natural gas is lost to leaks. Senate Bill 232 would address that problem.

"That would require pipelines leaking more than 1% of methane gas to be repaired, and will prevent the gas companies from getting compensated for any of this leaked gas," says Gadwah.

A recent survey of gas leaks under Connecticut city streets found as many as 4.3 gas leaks per mile in Hartford.

Switching to clean, renewable power is only part of the solution. Gadwah says the Sierra Club backs legislation known as the "New Green Economy" – the state equivalent of the Green New Deal – to include strong provisions to increase energy efficiency.

"Making Connecticut buildings more efficient, restoring the energy funds so regular people can make their houses more efficient, and really drawing down the demand for power," says Gadwah.

She adds that many state officials ran for office promising to support renewable energy and a clean environment, and says now is the time to follow through.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT