• Democrats Celebrate As The "Green Monster" Bill Passes Connecticut House

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    H.B. 5004, An Act Concerning the Implementation of Certain Climate Measures, nicknamed the "Green Monster" by the Yankee Institute has passed the Connecticut House.

    The bill would declare a climate crisis (not an emergency) in order to "demonstrate the urgency for enacting meaningful climate legislation and to support increased efforts to secure federal funds to respond to such crisis." The bill also recognizes the "urgency and need to mitigate" disaster risk from alleged climate change, and the "urgency" they believe is needed to decrease greenhouse gas (GHG).

    Under this H.B. 5004, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) would be required to initiate a docket, by January 1, 2025, on the future of natural gas use in the state in relation to the state’s GHG emission level reduction goals.

    The bill would require the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) commissioner to give a preference to applications for the programs that are "environmentally sustainable" (e.g., zero-carbon energy and energy efficiency), in certain sectors of the economy (e.g., renewable energy, energy efficiency, and zero-emission vehicles) and for "farming operations that are sustainable from a climate perspective."

    Certain businesses fees could be waived for environmentally sustainable certified B corporations and farms.

    By January 1, 2025, the bill would require Connecticut Innovations, Inc. (CI) to begin annually reporting to the Environment and Energy and Technology committees on investments and assistance given to companies that are engaged in climate change mitigation matters. (CI is a quasi-public agency that gives financing and support to businesses in the state.)

    The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner would have until January 1, 2025, to draft recommendations for changing the product energy efficiency standards law to provide for the sale and installation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, hot water heating systems, and geothermal systems that do not emit GHGs.

    The DEEP commissioner, together with the Connecticut Green Bank, would be required to develop a plan to install at least 310,000 heat pumps for residential heating systems through the existing multifamily retrofit pilot program for homes in environmental justice communities and low interest energy efficiency loan, residential heating equipment financing, and affordable housing energy efficiency retrofit grant programs.

    The bill further requires the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), in consultation with the Department of Administrative Services, to develop a model policy for environmentally sustainable purchasing that municipalities can use and implement.

    The legislation was championed by Rep. Christine Palm (D-Chester), vice chair of Environment Committee, and Rep. Hector Arzeno (D-Greenwich).

    Arzeno celebrated the passage with an Op Ed in the Greenwich Free Press, in which he said, "the task force crafted legislation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also promoting resiliency, sustainability, and equity." Yes, equity.

    Arzeno believes that climate change is an "existential threat" even though more than 1,600 scientists and professionals from around the world recognize that the science on climate change is not settled, and there is no actual climate emergency.

    The bill now moves onto the State Senate to await further action.

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