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Year of Struggles, Victories for Connecticut's Environment

Passage of a bill to protect pollinator habitat was a victory for Connecticut's environment. (John Severns/Wikimedia Commons)
Passage of a bill to protect pollinator habitat was a victory for Connecticut's environment. (John Severns/Wikimedia Commons)
September 15, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. – The latest Environmental Scorecard for Connecticut tells of both legislative victories and defeats in a year focused on trimming the state budget.

An amendment to the state constitution to better protect state-owned land advanced, but cuts to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection may hinder its performance.

According to Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, it was a tough year that often saw environmental concerns threatened by state fiscal woes.

"This session I think just proves, despite all that, we did make progress; that environment really is mainstream at the state legislature in Connecticut," said Brown.

The scorecard outlines the many bills affecting the environment that were considered this past year, how they fared, and the environmental voting records of all state legislators.

Brown sees one significant victory as passage of a bill to better protect habitat for important pollinators, such as honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

"It also puts a new spotlight on managing and reducing, hopefully, neonicotinoids, a particular type of very deadly pesticide that's widely used," she explained.

She cited defeats as well, however, including a bill to protect public water supplies from exploitation by the bottled-water industry.

Brown pointed out that most voters aren't aware of many of the environmental issues that come before the Legislature almost daily. But the scorecard shines a spotlight on just how lawmakers are performing.

"All candidates and all legislators, and everybody who's in a public office, will always say, 'Sure, I care about the environment,'" she noted. "But when it comes down to it, you really have to look at their record and see how they're voting."

With this 2016 Environmental Scorecard, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters now has records spanning 17 years of voting on environmental legislation in the state.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT