Legislature fiddles while Connecticut’s carbon dioxide levels rise

The future of Connecticut’s environment is in jeopardy. For years, Connecticut residents breathed easy knowing our state was leading the way toward a greener, more climate-resilient world. Carbon dioxide emissions were dropping across the state year after year, and Gov. Dannel Malloy had committed to continuing this trend through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Unfortunately, all the progress we made over the last decade has been compromised.

Back off on CT’s gas conversion scheme; reopen the energy discussion

The Malloy administration’s ratepayer financed methane (natural gas) infrastructure build-out has become a self-justified Ponzi scheme that both exploits the utility ratepayers of Connecticut and creates serious environmental and energy liabilities for the state going forward.

Connecticut must cut red tape to unleash the electric vehicle revolution

In 2013, Connecticut joined seven other states’ aggressive commitments to put at least 3.3 million zero emissions vehicles by 2025 on the road, and now must take steps to ensure the state has a charging network capable of supporting the future. The House of Representatives just passed HB 5510 on electric vehicles, which does not go far enough to support the state’s EV market. A handful of key changes would provide private businesses with the tools they need to spur sustainable and scalable growth in Connecticut’s EV and EV charging markets.

Connecticut should adopt time-of-use electric rates

Fixed pricing for electricity should go the way of the rotary dial telephone. We could solve many of our regional energy problems by more accurately pricing electricity closer to the actual cost of generating the power. Those costs vary dramatically based upon seasonal and hour-to-hour fluctuation in electricity demand.

Raiding clean energy programs will cost, not save, Connecticut money

Budget crises require tough, but necessary choices. They do not require self-inflicted wounds. Raiding $22 million from clean energy and efficiency programs funded by proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as the proposed budget from the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee does, is a self-inflicted wound.

To tackle Connecticut’s deficit, scale up solar

As they tackle the budget deficit, Connecticut legislators have been understandably focusing on cuts in spending. But we are missing an opportunity for major cost reductions under our noses: buying power needed for state facilities, and others they serve, using solar power, which would come at lower cost than conventional electricity.

Support for Connecticut ban on use of toxic flame retardants

In the 1970’s flame-retardants were found to be carcinogenic and highly absorptive so they were voluntarily removed from children’s pajamas. Since then these chemicals have found their way back into our children’s products although the toxicity and danger to the health of children has remained the same. Flame retardant exposure is linked with cancers and immune suppression, learning disorders, lower IQ and hyperactivity, hormone disruption, reduced fertility and birth defects.

CT DEEP fells beloved bitternut tree; leaves bitterness in its place

In Hamden, west of Farm Brook Reservoir, is a meadow. Once the meadow belonged to dairy farmer Harold Hansen but the State of Connecticut, having engineered the reservoir as a watershed more than 40 years ago, came to oversee and maintain the property. Butting the northern section of West Rock Ridge, encompassed by hiking and walking trails, the meadow has been a refuge for many over the years. In one respect, the meadow is anathema to its place: a hilly pasture in a densely populated suburb of a densely populated city. Traverse the meadow in any season, though, and you feel as though you traverse as well our agrarian past. Haying grass still grows, stonewalls rib the woodland. There is silent, open space. And, at the heart of the meadow, high on the second of three slopes that fall gently east, as if placed just so by the hand of God, a bitternut.

Stalking the yellow-rumped warbler

The National Audubon Society, among others, has reported that some common bird populations are down by more than 50 to 80 percent from their numbers in the 1960s. It is hard to appreciate things we don’t see. Warblers can cope with a harsh winter, but one wonders if they will survive us.

CBIA paddling against the current on climate change

The fall meeting of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s Energy and Environment Council features a keynote address by Yale professor and former DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty, sharing “his insider’s perspective on where climate policy is headed.” The event will also include a tour of Wallingford-based Proton Onsite, a global leader in gas generation and renewable energy storage. So why does the promotional description of the event in CBIA’s recent newsletter call for a reconsideration of Connecticut’s existing commitments to climate protection?

We can all help protect Long Island Sound

Water quality begins at the point of discharge, not in relocation of bottom materials from one location to another. It is a very important distinction to make when talking about one of Connecticut’s most precious assets, Long Island Sound. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently released a draft Dredged Material Management Plan. Digging up the material at the bottom of our waterways is critical to ensure public access and commerce.