• Lamont Backtracks On Vow To Eliminate The Sale Of Gas Powered Vehicles By 2035

    December 5, 2023
    Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.

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    The Western Journal, little read by Connecticut’s top-heavy, neo-progressive political establishment, notes, “When even Ned Lamont believes phasing out internal combustion cars by 2035 is a lost cause, you'd better believe it's a lost cause.”

    Following deep blue California’s lead, Lamont had vowed to end the sale of gas powered vehicles in Connecticut by 2035.

    An avalanche of objections, some coming from minority Republicans, buried the proposal, and on January 6, Lamont wisely retreated. Few people in Connecticut wish to follow California down a rabbit hole, destination unknown.

    "On Monday afternoon,” the publication noted, the state’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee, equitably divided between Democrats and Republicans nixed the proposal.

    “The move was celebrated as a victory for ‘common sense’ by legislative Republicans.

    “Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said that Lamont's ‘decision to withdraw the regulations is a reasoned approach to address the growing concerns raised by working and middle class families.

    "’Common sense has prevailed,’ he said. ‘Adopting California emission standards which ban the sale of gas-powered cars is a substantial policy shift which must be decided by the General Assembly.’”

    Later in the week, House Speaker Matt Ritter stepped forward in a brave attempt to pull a string of lost pearls from the rubble.

    Ritter, the Hartford Courant noted, “compared the situation to NASA.”

    It now appears that Lamont’s date certain was always an aspirational goal, not at all abandoned by majority Democrats, whose election successes have in the past been advanced by deep pocked environmental groups.

    “Why do I talk about NASA,” Ritter asked at a news conference. “They [NASA] set goals. They set goals for when they want [sic] to land on Mars. There’s a reason that you do that. If you don’t have a goal, and you don’t have a target – especially when you’re dealing with government – it doesn’t happen. You need to have plans to get where you want to get 11 years out, or whatever it may be.”

    Lamont has not given up on his plan to phase out purchases of gas powered vehicles in the near future, but his plan, such as it is, has now been referred to a congressional committee, the usual burying ground for plans gone awry.

    The state of Connecticut, Republicans feel, should not become a ward of China’s increasingly fascist state. China produces most of the elements necessary in the production of wind turbines and electric car batteries. Then too, Connecticut, California and others sleeping the sleep of the just in an increasingly crowded rabbit hole, are not ready for such cultural and economic rapid change.

    To put the matter briefly, NASA’s goals are far more rational and realizable than Ritter’s. That is because the people who work for NASA are not romantic idealists, like Ritter, Lamont, environmental extremists, and Don Quixote, who spent too much of his time unprofitably tilting at windmills, thinking them redoubtable opponents in a 12th century chivalric medieval tournament of heroes.

    Connecticut Democrats have seized on the issue of eliminating gas powered vehicles throughout the United States as an omnium-gatherum mechanism that will ferry votes, public support and money to Democrats in the upcoming 2024 elections.

    Showing that chivalry in the 21st century is not entirely dead, Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly generously allowed that Lamont's "decision to withdraw the regulations is a reasoned approach to address the growing concerns raised by working and middleclass families. Common sense has prevailed. Adopting California emission standards which ban the sale of gas-powered cars is a substantial policy shift which must be decided by the General Assembly. There are too many questions regarding the capacity of our electric grid, the cost and location of grid improvements, and the negative impact on urban, rural and working poor families.”

    Bad ideas don’t become better when they are laundered by legislative committees.

    A genuine future solution to environmental degradation likely will come from the usual quarters, advancing technology – the production of hydrogen cars, for instance – and technological advances in nuclear power, such as the tokamak JT-60SA.

    The World's largest nuclear fusion reactor, the tokamak JT-60SA, we are told by The Register, is due to come online by 2025:

    “The extremely high temperatures inside the tokamak JT-60SA, could eventually be enough to force the hydrogen particles to overcome their natural electromagnetic resistance, and fuse together to create helium – releasing energy in the form of light and heat. It's a process that mimics the inner workings of the Sun.

    “Many – from scientists to climate change activists to energy industry professionals – have pinned hopes on using this process to fuel the world, as it is hoped to generate more energy than goes into producing it. Unlike nuclear fission, which splits atoms rather than fusing them, and produces dangerous waste products, fusion is considered clean.

    "The Generation of fusion energy does not produce carbon dioxide – making it an important technology in the path to net zero emissions. The fusion reaction is intrinsically safe: it stops when the fuel supply or power source is shut down. It generates no high-level long-lived radioactive waste,’ explained the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy.”

    If all this sounds too Quixotic for Ritter, perhaps he should convene another committee to examine alternative approaches to the nation’s environmental problems before Connecticut commits to problem solving measures that, some scientist argue, solve only political problems.

    The good news is that Lamont, by revoking his pledge, has shown that he has a nodding acquaintance with popular opinion and representative democracy. 

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    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

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