June 5, 2023
HARTFORD, CT – The Connecticut Roundtable On Climate And Jobs partnered with climate justice advocates and local legislators to host a public press conference at the State Capitol on Monday, June 5th to urge the Connecticut General Assembly to act on the swift passage of bills pertaining to carbon-free and healthy schools, housing justice, a stronger environmental justice law, and a decarbonization roadmap.
Co-sponsors of the June 5th Climate Justice Now press conference include: Save the Sound, Sierra Club Connecticut Chapter, CT-NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut), and Connecticut Non-Profit Accountability Group. Speakers included: Representative David Michel 146th District, Representative Aundre Bumgardner of the 41st District, Alex Rodriguez representing Save the Sound, Kim Stoner of CT NOFA, Lori Brown, Executive Director of The CT League of Conservation Voters, Terry Eickel of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, and Aziz Dehkan, Executive Director of the CT Roundtable.
SB 961 aims to cut school energy costs by investing in efficient heating and cooling systems, implementing the use of solar energy in place of fossil fuels, and increasing the overall energy efficiency of new and existing public school buildings through a revolving loan fund established by the state to cover costs that would ordinarily come out of a district’s maintenance or capital budget. These improvements will provide significant health benefits for students and teachers while saving school districts a considerable amount of money in reduced energy costs and HVAC maintenance.
SB 1147 seeks to enhance the environmental and public health considerations made under the state’s environmental justice statute and provide the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Siting Council with the ability to deny certain permits for a new affecting facility and apply conditions to the expansion of an existing facility.
HB 6397 gives DEEP a definitive guide that unites different efforts into one actionable plan. It would require DEEP to lay out the policies and regulations necessary to reach our climate goals and to provide a clear timeline for implementing those policies and achieving reductions.
“SB 961 is important because we cannot have a just transition without ensuring that labor is protected in the process. SB 1147 ensures our most vulnerable communities have a seat at the table when it comes to deciding what facilities operate in their communities.” – Representative Aundre Bumgardner, 46th District.
“The clock is ticking and we have to take climate justice seriously. HB6397 calls for a plan of action that creates a decarbonization roadmap that will help guide our state agencies in achieving our climate goals.” – Lori Brown, CT League of Conservation Voters.
“Protecting Connecticut children and families from climate pollution in our homes, schools, and communities will save lives and secure our future. Now is the time for the General Assembly to vote and pass these bills so our residents can begin to breathe cleaner air and healthier communities.”, – Samantha Dynowski, State Director, Sierra Club Connecticut.
“Black, Indigenous, and people of color have long suffered from disproportionate exposure to polluting hazards and climate injustices in Connecticut. The time is now for the General Assembly to act on key climate legislation addressing zero-carbon emissions and a stronger environmental justice statute. HB 6397 would allow DEEP to create a decarbonization roadmap so there is a definitive plan to reach our climate goals, while SB 1147 would give authority to DEEP and the Siting Council to reject permits that would increase polluting burdens and negatively impact public health. Legislative leaders, please do the right thing and ensure our communities a safe and healthy future,” – Alex Rodriguez, Environmental Justice Specialist at Save the Sound.
“With just a couple of days left in the session, the General Assembly has failed to pass any significant legislation that addresses the climate crisis. It’s imperative that these bills, which have broad support, be brought to a vote before time runs out.”– Allison Pilcher, Policy Director, Connecticut Roundtable On Climate And Jobs.
“Passing SB961 is crucial for two reasons. First, with 25M from the State, we can access 400M through the CT Green Bank federal government. This is a once-in-a-generation funding opportunity that will not be available next year. The other reason is our children. Students need to go to environmentally healthy schools. Teachers need a healthy workplace. Let’s ensure that the State legislature and the governor do the right thing and fund Carbon Free Healthy Schools.” – Aziz Dehkan, Executive Director, Connecticut Roundtable On Climate And Jobs.