Governor Lamont announces landmark new climate law that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport
(NEW HAVEN, CT) — Gov. Ned Lamont joined state officials, lawmakers and environmental stakeholders on the New Haven Green today to mark the passage Public Law 22-25a landmark new law that includes a set of measures that will help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector, improve air quality and health outcomes for Connecticut residents, and help mitigate the impact of the climate crisis.
The new law includes several measures to reduce emissions from the transport sector, which is the largest source of nationwide GHG emissions (37%) and 67% of emissions of nitrogen oxides, a key component of smog. Among the measures the law includes, it authorizes the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to enact stricter emission standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which are responsible for up to 53% of nitrogen oxide emissions, although this is only 6 % of on-road vehicle fleet. It is also making various legislative changes under the Connecticut Clean Air Act, expanding existing programs and introducing several new programs to use electric vehicles and improve air quality.
“This historic law is doing so many great things to benefit Connecticut residents by improving air quality and health outcomes while helping mitigate the climate crisis.” said Governor Lamont. “This is another great example of Connecticut leading the way on climate, especially at a time when continued government leadership on this area is critical given the recent US Supreme Court decision West Virginia vs. EPA, and certain members of Congress preventing passage of essential 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 in getting this important legislation through.”
“The actions in this unprecedented law mean cleaner air, better health outcomes and a reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “It will ensure Connecticut residents and businesses have access to clean, affordable automobiles, trucks, school buses, transit buses and electric bicycles, with a focus on communities overburdened by air pollution. In addition to the important health benefits for residents, the measures in this law represent much-needed tools in our efforts to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector, an area where we need to make significant strides to get back on track right way to reach our greenhouse gas emissions target for 2030. Thank you to Governor Lamont and the legislators and advocacy groups who pushed for this legislation.”
“We applaud Gov. Lamont and the state legislature for continuing to lead the way in meaningful efforts to protect the environment and mitigate climate change.” Joe Giulietti, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT).. “This is a transformative time for transportation, and CTDOT is poised to meet the moment by investing in cleaner, greener transportation, building EV infrastructure, and advancing safety and mobility projects statewide.”
The provisions of the draft law include:
- Standards for medium and heavy commercial vehicles: Authorizes the DEEP Commissioner to enact regulations implementing California medium and heavy vehicle standards. These standards will ensure manufacturers produce cleaner vehicles and offer them for sale in Connecticut, giving potential consumers more options while reducing a major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the state.
- Electrification of the State Fleet: Changes the timetable for the electrification of the national fleet, prohibits the procurement of diesel 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, changing board membership, prioritizing low-income individuals and community residents for environmental justice, and expanding eligibility to include corporations, municipalities, nonprofits organizations and e-bikes; directs the entire greenhouse gas abatement fee and a portion of the regional greenhouse gas initiative funds to the CHEAPR account.
- Zero Emission School Buses: Allows ten-year school transportation contracts if the contract includes at least one zero-emission school bus; sets a goal of 100% zero-emission school buses in green communities by 2030 and for all school districts by 2040; establishes a matching grants program of up to $20 million for the EPA Clean School Bus program.
- Vouchers for medium and heavy trucks: Allows DEEP to set up a voucher program to support the use of zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles and funds the program from the CHEAPR account.
- Traffic Light Grant Program: CTDOT must set up an appropriate grant program to support municipalities in the modernization of existing traffic lights.
- right to charge: Establishes “Right of Encumbrance” in condominiums and communities of common interest, provides “Renter’s Right of Encumbrance” with certain specifications.
- Electric vehicle (EV) charging requirements for new builds: Requires that a percentage of parking spaces in certain new builds be equipped with either EV charging stations or charging station infrastructure.
“This is thoughtful and critical legislation that will move Connecticut to a place of better health, more sustainable transportation and cleaner air,” State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford), Senate Chair of the Environment Committee, said. “We now have the opportunity to use federal funds to mitigate climate change, help our businesses electrify their truck fleets, and improve air quality and health outcomes for all Connecticut residents.”
“This law is a significant 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), chairman of the House of Representatives Environment Committee, said. “It supports our reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks by adopting the California standard is a critical element in meeting 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.”
“As the president’s climate agenda has stalled and the Supreme Court has rolled back critical environmental protection measures, it has never been more important for states to get involved and protect clean air.” State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport), Senate Transportation Committee Chair, said. “This law provides for big and small steps, from making electric vehicles affordable, to modernizing traffic signals, to reducing traffic. Remember, there is no Republican or Democratic flair. There is only dirty air that makes us sick and clean air that keeps us alive. As the climate crisis worsens, asthma rates rise, smog drives more emergency room visits, children start and end their day coughing up diesel exhaust on a school bus, we need all levels of government committed to the project to save the planet. If we don’t get this right, nothing else will matter. I am honored to have worked with Governor Lamont to pass the historic Connecticut Clean Air Act.”