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The Green Monster

Yankee Institute’s Meghan Portfolio provided this legislation a nickname before it was even introduced, “The Green Monster.” Proponents of the legislation have since picked up the moniker and popular media coverage is using it as well. Thanks to Meghan’s proactive approach, the legislation has been pared back – but it is still a huge threat to our energy costs, quality of life and freedom. 

As Meghan notes in a recent blog post, “the bill eliminates the mandate for electrification in all new and remodeled private sector constructions. This mandate will now exclusively apply to new or existing state buildings, which are to be built or, during renovations, retrofitted to use electrical systems that are not reliant on fossil fuels or greenhouse gas emissions, contingent upon the availability of funding for these projects. 

The bill also amends a current law that permits the state, individuals and businesses to face legal action to ensure the public’s right to clean air, water and the protection of essential natural resources against unreasonable pollution, impairment or destruction. 

The proposed change would expand this legal framework, allowing for these entities to also be held accountable through lawsuits for not achieving the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals set by the Connecticut Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). 

The targets defined in GWSA are to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide to 45% below 2001 levels by 2030 and 80% below 2001 levels by 2050. The bill, however, adds a new goal of achieving at least 65% below the level emitted in 2001 by 2040.  

The most recent data issued by the Department of Energy and Environment (DEEP) in 2021 showed that the state is falling short of its environmental benchmarks with the transportation sector accounting for 40% of the total emissions.  

It is not clear who will sue whom if the benchmarks are not met after the bill’s passage. It is hoped that further details will emerge during the upcoming public hearing.  

Another contentious provision is a requirement that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) opens a docket exploring how the state can phase out natural gas usage in accordance with the GWSA goals. PURA must present legislative recommendations by January 1, 2026.  

Given that natural gas powers over half of the state’s electricity generation, concerns arise about how the state plans to compensate for this loss — especially in light of the push towards greater electrification.” 

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