Governor Lamont Announces Landmark New Climate Law That Will Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transportation
WATCH: News conference announcing the enactment of this new law
(NEW HAVEN, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today joined state agency officials, legislators, and environmental stakeholders on the New Haven Green to highlight the enactment of Public Act 22-25, a landmark new law that includes a number of actions that will help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector, improve air quality and health outcomes for Connecticut residents, and help to mitigate impacts from the climate crisis.
The new law contains several measures aimed at reducing emissions from the transportation sector, which is the largest source of statewide GHG emissions (37%), as well as 67% of the emissions of nitrogen oxides, a key component of smog. Among the measures the law contains, it authorizes the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to adopt more stringent emissions standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles, which account for as much as 53% of nitrogen oxide emissions, despite being only 6% of the on-road vehicle fleet. It also makes various statutory changes under the Connecticut Clean Air Act, expands existing programs, and establishes several new programs concerning electric vehicle use and improving air quality.
“This historic law does so many great things that will benefit the residents of Connecticut, improving air quality and health outcomes while also helping to mitigate the climate crisis,” Governor Lamont said. “This is another great example of Connecticut leading on climate, particularly at a time when continued state leadership in this area is critical, given the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in West Virginia v. EPA, and certain members of Congress stymying passage of substantial climate legislation. I want to thank our legislative leadership, and in particular the co-chairs of the Environment and Transportation Committees – Senator Cohen, Representative Gresko, Senator Haskell, and Representative Lemar – for their efforts to see this important bill through.”
“The measures in this unprecedented law mean cleaner air, better health outcomes, and reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “It will ensure that Connecticut residents and businesses can access clean, affordable passenger vehicles, trucks, school buses, transit buses and electric bikes, with a focus on communities overburdened by air pollution. In addition to the important health benefits to residents, the measures in this law provide much-needed tools in our effort to make significant reductions in GHG emissions from the transportation sector, an area in which we need to make significant progress in order to get back on track to meet our 2030 GHG emissions target. Thank you to Governor Lamont and the legislators and stakeholders who championed this bill.”
“We appreciate Governor Lamont and the state legislature for continuing to lead the way with meaningful efforts to protect the environment and mitigate climate change,” Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Commissioner Joe Giulietti said. “This is a transformational time in transportation, and the CTDOT is ready to meet the moment by investing in cleaner, greener transportation, building out electric vehicle infrastructure, and advancing safety and mobility projects around the state.”
The bill’s provisions include:
- Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Standards: Authorizes the DEEP commissioner to adopt regulations implementing California’s medium- and heavy-duty motor vehicle standards. These standards will ensure that manufacturers are producing cleaner vehicles and offering them for sale in Connecticut, giving prospective consumers more options while reducing a major source of in-state air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
- State Fleet Electrification: Modifies the schedule for electrifying the state fleet, prohibits procurement of diesel-powered buses after January 1, 2024.
- Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) Program: Makes numerous changes to the CHEAPR program, including making the CHEAPR board advisory-only, modifying the board’s membership, giving priority to low-income individuals and residents of environmental justice communities, and extending eligibility to businesses, municipalities, nonprofits, and e-bikes; directs all of the greenhouse gas reduction fee and part of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative funds to the CHEAPR account.
- Zero Emission School Buses: Allows for ten-year school transportation contracts if the contract includes at least one zero-emission school bus; sets target of 100% zero-emission school buses in environmental justice communities by 2030, and for all school districts by 2040; establishes a matching grant program of up to $20 million for the EPA Clean School Bus program.
- Medium and Heavy-Duty Truck Vouchers: Allows DEEP to establish a voucher program to support the use of zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles and funds the program from the CHEAPR account.
- Traffic Signal Grant Program: Requires CTDOT to establish a matching grant program to help municipalities modernize existing traffic signal equipment.
- Right to Charge: Establishes “right to charge” in condominiums and common interest communities, provides for “renter’s right to charge” with certain specifications.
- New Construction Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Requirements: Requires a certain percentage of parking spaces in certain new construction to be equipped with either EV charging stations or charging station infrastructure.
“This is a thoughtful and crucial piece of legislation that will move Connecticut forward to a place of better health, more sustainable transportation options, and cleaner air,” State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford), Senate chair of the Environment Committee, said. “We now have an opportunity to leverage federal funds, to mitigate climate change, to help our businesses electrify their truck fleets, and to improve the air quality and health outcomes for all Connecticut residents.”
“This law is a meaningful step toward cleaner air and better health for everyone in Connecticut, especially those along transportation corridors and in environmental justice communities,” State Representative Joseph P. Gresko (D-Stratford), House chair of the Environment Committee, said. “It assists our reduction goals on greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing emissions from medium and heavy-duty vehicles by adopting the California standard is a critical element to meet our climate and air quality goals. This law ensures manufacturers offer cleaner vehicles for sale, giving consumers choices while reducing a major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in our state.”
“With the president’s climate agenda mired in gridlock and the Supreme Court rolling back critical environmental protections, it’s never been more important for states to step up and protect clean air,” State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport), Senate chair of the Transportation Committee, said. “This bill takes steps big and small, from making electric vehicles more affordable to modernizing traffic signals and cutting traffic. Remember, there’s no such thing as Republican air or Democratic air. There’s only dirty air that makes us sick and clean air that keeps us alive. As the climate crisis worsens, as asthma rates increase, as smog leads to more emergency room visits, as children start and end their day coughing up diesel exhaust on a school bus, we need every level of government engaged in the project of saving the planet. If we don’t get this right, nothing else will matter much. I’m so honored to have worked alongside Governor Lamont to pass the historic Connecticut Clean Air Act.”
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