Connecticut is one of 14 jurisdictions signed on to the Transportation and Climate Initiative.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rejected Connecticut’s petition to force a power plant in York County, Pa. to cut down on smog pollutants that the state claims heavily contribute to its unhealthy air. But the state hopes to have other wins, and is at the forefront of the resistance to the agency’s proposed rollback of protections on air and water.
A coalition of legislators and energy-efficiency advocates pledged Tuesday to work to restore at least some of the roughly $175 million stripped from green programs in the new two-year state budget. But none identified offsetting spending cuts or revenue increases.
The Senate took a major step early Thursday toward ending Connecticut’s nearly 17-week budget impasse, overwhelmingly adopting a $41.3 billion, two-year plan that closes huge deficits without raising income or sales tax rates, imposes modest cuts on local aid, and provides emergency assistance to keep Hartford out of bankruptcy.
The tentative state budget deal would strip as much as $175 million from clean energy funds, tapping surcharges on monthly utility bills and raiding a program lauded for leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars in private investments.
The three-year update to Connecticut’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, underway now, faces dramatically changed energy, environmental and political landscapes that raise questions about whether the first strategy, with its focus on natural gas, may have partially wasted the last three years.
The raid on the Green Bank and other clean energy programs to help plug the state’s huge budget deficit is bringing together groups often at odds. Environmentalists and business interests, including the state’s most prominent business lobby, agree the raid is a bad idea.
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.
A state legislative panel voted Thursday to endorse a new tax on fantasy sports games, delay an income tax cut for retired teachers, impose a new fee on retail businesses and raid $20 million in ratepayer funds from a program to control greenhouse gases.
Connecticut met an initial goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 and is on track to meet the next goal of going 10-percent those levels by 2020, according to a progress report issued Friday.