2018 CT Government Fails to Address Climate Change

In 2018 the CT legislature once again fell short in recognizing the emergency of the climate crisis and missed the opportunity to make our state a leader in clean energy. We are fortunate in the state that vocal climate deniers are rare but inaction in policy is just as dangerous to our ecosystem as the proverbial hot air coming from those who reject the scientific consensus.
The legislative calendar began with some hope for progress on clean energy, mass transit, and climate justice. There were more than a dozen bills proposed and submitted to different committees. These potential laws and regulations ranged from carbon fee/dividend and penalties for gas pipeline leaks to expanding community solar(to everyone) and emission reduction goals. While there were benefits and drawbacks to these pieces of legislation and worthy conversations to be had on the best way to implement them, this is not what happened. After the committee process and the legislative leaders decided on what would and would not be voted on we only saw 3 significant climate related bills that could be approved :
S.B. No. 7 : An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning & Resiliency
The multiple provisions of these bills contained some positive aspects : raising the Renewable Portfolio Standard (the amount of clean energy utilities must procure) to 40% by 203, expanding solar access to more CT residents, eliminating procurement of energy from fracked methane gas, and setting a better interim target of 45% pollution emission reduction by 2030. However these positive steps did not signify the CT government shifting away from using fossil fuels and embracing the life saving, job creating, cost lowering society that would result from an all out focus on a pollution free society.
Furthermore, these minimum reforms to our energy system were too radical for some legislators unwilling to imagine a future society different from the past and present. These bills were endlessly resisted and amended to weaken them and delay the necessary and inevitable transition to solar, wind and other emission free energy sources. The community shared solar bill was completely erased and replaced with legislation dealing with broadband internet. SB 7 was saddled with a Eversource, United Illuminating and industry backed gutting of Net Metering(or Electric Price Equality) so that they don’t have to pay solar power produces a fair price for the service they provide all of the state’s residents. In a time when the solar industry is expanding in CT , providing good safe jobs for the people that cannot be outsourced and reducing our need for expensive, volatile , imported fossil fuels WHY would our representatives seek to slow that growth and make it harder to switch to solar?
It is clear that, while there are climate champions in CT, the majority of our legislators are ignorant or willfully blind to the escalating danger of climate disruption to our state, our country and it’s people. Have they forgotten SuperStorm Sandy that ravaged our coast and caused damage that is still being repaired? Have they not noticed the rising temperatures that caused May 2018 to be the fourth hottest on record according to The Weather Channel? How can they avoid seeing the devastation in Puerto Rico and the hundreds of CT families affected by the ongoing tragedy on that American island? Will they only realize the massive cost in money, property and people’s lives when it happens to them? Because it is happening to all of us and none of us will be spared from a climate that is no longer hospitable to our species.
The CT government needs to wake up and realize that change around the edges will not be enough to deal with the climate crisis. We need to reshape our state to depend on clean energy for power and transportation and we need to start now. We have the technology to do it, we have the union workers to build it and we have the opportunity to lead. We just need the leaders to realize we’re all in the together and when we take mass action we can become those leaders. 350 CT continues to demand an end to the fossil fuel era and a just transition to 100% clean renewable energy with a powerful march and rally the weekend of Sept 9th in addition to joining with other environmental groups to pressure candidates for CT governor to enact this transition at a forum on July 12th.(Update: Forum  date has been changed to July 16th.)

Ben Martin
[email protected]

Consumers and our Environment deserve better

This week our organization, 350 CT is co-sponsoring a Clean Energy Lobby Day on May 5 at noon in Hartford. We are joining the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the League of Conservation Voters, CT Sierra Club and many other groups across the state in this effort because its time for our state’s leaders to put an end to the days of subsidizing dirty fossil fuels and to instead invest in clean, renewable energy.

While our neighboring states move forward with clean renewable programs like shared solar and wind energy, Connecticut continues to subsidize dirty fossil fuel infrastructure. One key example of our state’s backward policy of subsidizing fossil fuels is Public Act 15-107 which was passed in 2015 immediatley after an election here in Connectcut that utility companies and their executives contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to.

The act contained a provision that authorized these electric utilities to recover the costs of infrastructure projects such as the construction of new Fracked Gas Pipelines through a surcharge on customers’ electric bills. This was part of a larger strategy to finance and develop additional gas infrastructure capacity across Connecticut and New England. This includes the construction of five new gas-fired power plants, hundreds of miles of gas pipeline connections, compressor stations, and other related infrastructure projects.

What’s worse? We don’t even need the additional natural gas and the cost of one new pipeline along is estimated at $6.6 billion! According to a recent report by Synapse Energy Economics, the total cost to ratepayers for the proposed infrastructure projects could be as high as $6.6 billion. Additionally, Synapse concluded that additional pipeline capacity is not warranted, as New England’s use of natural gas is expected to decrease by 41% from 2015 levels by 2030, due to state requirements for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emissions caps.

This is why 8,380 Connecticut residents from across the state signed a petition and another 4,430 wrote hand written letters to their legislators this week to show their support to invest in clean, renewable energy and to stop the Pipeline Tax.

The public has expressed a strong desire to see Connecticut transition away from dirty fossil fuel infrastructure. State residents want to embrace clean, renewable solutions to meet our future energy needs. We respectfully urge Connecticut lawmakers to enact these important clean energy policies, which enjoy broad public support, this year.

We hope that you will join us in Hartford on May 5th to help send a message to our lawmakers that the time for clean energy is now!

Diane Lentakis is an Environmental Activist who serves on the steering committee of 350 Connecticut and as manager of the CT Sierra Club’s Ready for 100% Clean Energy campaign.

Synapse Energy Economics, “New England’s Shrinking Need for Natural Gas” (2017). Taken from : http://www.synapse-energy.com/sites/default/files/New-Englands-Shrinking-Need-for-Natural-Gas-16-109.pdf

Clean Energy Lobby Day May 5th

Clean Energy Lobby Day Saturday May 5th

Join us at the Capitol for  CLIMATE LOBBY DAY
Saturday, May 5—12 PM

CT Legislative Office Building
300 Capital Avenue · Hartford, CT

Come talk to your legislators in person! We’ll connect you with your legislator and teach you how to get your message across so they understand how important clean energy is.

Stay tuned for more details and registration. If you would like to join us or have any questions, email Melissa at [email protected].

Some Climate Legislation currently being considered:
Shared Solar SB 336
Shared Solar is not only a necessary part of getting CT to 100% renewable energy but it also allows those who can’t install solar at home more control of how their energy is produced. We must keep up the pressure to pass Shared Solar this year! Click here to send a Twitter message asking leaders to pass Shared Solar.

Good & Bad in Energy Bill SB 9
SB 9 increases renewable energy targets and energy efficiency standards because the public demanded it.
However there are also changes to net metering which would make it less attractive to install renewable energy systems and slow down solar growth in Connecticut.  The bill needs to amended to improve or at least not harm our net metering rules.

Climate Bill SB 7
SB 7’s climate targets & sea level rise measures are positive steps to meet the states climate commitments, and to plan better for climate change along our coast. The bill has broad support, but it isn’t moving.  We need to hold legislative leaders accountable for getting this bill passed.

Eversource Lies!

Eversource Gas Lies Found Out

Last week, academics in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund released a paper suggesting that Eversource and Avangrid, two of the region’s biggest utilities, artificially constrained pipeline capacity over the past three years. The result? Prices spiked, costing ratepayers in Massachusetts and Connecticut an additional $3.6 billion.
Read here : 
In light of this scandal, the argument for a new pipelines and gas-fired power plants—that we don’t have enough capacity to meet our need—is questionable at best. We won’t stand by while these utilities steal our money and further damage our climate.
350 CT, Sierra Club and other CT groups fighting fracked gas infrastructure will call out Eversource at their Hartford office on October 24th at 4:30 PM.  If you want to show them they can’t hike our energy rates for their own gain and get away with it, JOIN US!!

WHAT : Rally against Eversource and the gas industry
WHERE : Eversource Office, 56 Prosect St, Hartford
WHEN : Oct. 24   4:30 PM

350 CT State Assembly

General Assembly

On August 13th at 11:00 AM , 350 CT hosted a General Assembly at the Charter Oak Cultural Center to decide upon our organizing orientation & priorities. We invited everyone to provide feedback for proposals below on policy, specific campaigns or actions, and the ideals for everyday organizational life in the group.

Draft Results for 350 General Assembly

Current goals of 350 CT

 Updating Policy for 350 CT

Section A. What are the best demands/orientation today for 100% Renewable Energy campaigns?

Section B. Transportation

Section D. Agriculture

Section E. Other including recycling, waste, conservation, habitat

Section F. Allyship / Orientation to the “Everyone” in the Slogan “To Change Everything, It Takes Everyone”

Section G. Organizing Independent of Political Parties or Joining Partisan Campaigns

Fall / Spring Campaigns and Actions

Structure and Finances

Upcoming Events for September

350CT would like to announce these upcoming events to work for a safe climate in CT:

Yale Climate Change Discussion with Chris Murphy

Friday, September 13, 2013     2:00 PM to 

Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall,

195 Prospect St, New Haven, CT

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) will join in a discussion about climate change with Yale faculty members and experts on climate and infrastructure 2-4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13 in Burke Auditorium of Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect St

Yale Climate Change Discussion with Chris Murphy

Friday, Sep 13, 2013, 2:00 PM

Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall,
195 Prospect St New Haven, CT

1 Earth Savers Went

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) will join in a discussion about climate change with Yale faculty members and experts on climate and infrastructure 2-4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13 in Burke Auditorium of Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect St.Global climate models predict that the northeastern United States will be particularly vulnerable to short- and long-term…

Check out this Meetup →

Stop TD Bank funding Tar Sands
Saturday, September 14, 2013         11:00 AM

TD Bank   994 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT (edit map)

Picket at Connecticut’s TD Bank locations, in protest of TD’s investment in the Keystone XL pipeline. We are calling on TD customers to move their money to local credit unions. We will generally picket every other Saturday morning at 11 am.

Draw The Line At TD Bank
Saturday, September 21, 2013      11:00 AM

TD Bank     911 Washington St, Middletown, CT (edit map)

We will protest in front of TD Bank in Middletown because they are a major investor in Tar Sands and the Keystone XL pipeline. We will be calling on TD customers to move their money to local credit unions and calling on TD Bank to fund renewable energy instead of toxic and dangerous fossil fuels.


Congratulations to the newly elected senators and representative of Connecticut as well as those that were reelected to continue to serve the citizens of CT. Most of the elected candidates have made very strong statements about fighting climate change and working to preserve our natural world. You can read statements from their campaigns on these issues here Ending Fossil Fuel Subsides.
While these statements are encouraging, it is up to us, as their constituents to let them know that these issues are important and these problems need to be addressed immediately. Please contact them regularly so that they do not lose sight of this fact.

Letter to Governor Romney

Dear Governor Romney,

At the town hall on October 17, you restated your firm commitment to the Keystone pipeline project: “We’re going to bring that pipeline in from Canada. How in the world the President said ‘no’ to that pipeline…I will never know.”

Here are a couple of things I urge you to consider.

You can take a look at the north end of the pipeline where tar sands oil is being strip-mined. As you flip through the photos, please try to grasp the scale. I thought I had it until I got to slides 48, 49 and 50…After you take a moment to catch your breath, you can go through again and look for that tire.


Just to be clear: These photos show only one little piece of the area that will be stripped to feed the pipeline. Remediation will never ever be possible. Please take a few minutes to hear why that should be an integral part of your decision-making.

At the town hall, you brought up the “all regulation is bad” idea. Here’s what you said: “So where’d the increase [in oil production under President Obama] come from? Well, a lot of it came from the Bakken Range in North Dakota. What was [President Obama’s] participation there? The administration brought a criminal action against the people drilling up there for oil, this massive new resource we have. And what was the cost? 20 or 25 birds were killed and brought out a migratory bird act to go after them on a criminal basis.” Do you really mean to make that your argument, your theme? Please look again at the short video about the forest. Maybe you’ll be swept up by its glorious complexity, and by how simple is the idea that Life itself depends on keeping the forest intact. It’s NOT 20 or 25 birds. It’s all the birds. And all the amphibians and all the insects and all the plants and all the fish and all the microbes and all the mammals…and and and all the organisms living in relationship on the land or in the water or flying in the air. What’s astonishing to me is that we’ve somehow constrained ourselves to the point that criminal action on behalf of 20 or 25 birds at a time is what it takes to stop us drilling there.

This can barely begin to explain why exploiting tar sands oil is a very, very, VERY bad idea, and why President Obama must make it clear that there’s no possible way he’ll approve the northern part of Keystone. I hope you will reach the same conclusion. Climate scientists are all but unanimous that anthropogenic climate disruption is real. Some of them put that into layman’s terms this way: EXPLOITATION OF ALBERTA TAR SANDS OIL IS GAME OVER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

Yours truly,

Cindy Moeckel
Ashford, CT