The Issues Energy and Environment
Chris’ Plan for Energy and the Environment
Chris recognizes that there are few things more important to the future of our state, our nation, and our planet than preserving our delicate ecosystem in the face of increasing populations, development, and economic growth, and, in Connecticut, Chris has successfully led this effort. As your Congressman, Chris will maintain his longstanding commitment to environmental preservation and clean, affordable energy strategies that reduce carbon emissions and create good jobs.
Holding the Worst Polluters Accountable:
Chris was a leader in efforts to regulate the six oldest – and dirtiest – power plants in our state that had been exempt from pollution standards under the federal Clean Air Act. By requiring these “Sooty Six” power plants to adhere to the same greenhouse gas emissions standards as newer power plants, we have cut polluting emissions by some 86% since the law went into effect – a huge win for Connecticut’s people and Connecticut’s environment.1
Investing in Brownfields Remediation.
Recognizing the importance of taking meaningful action to help towns clean up the crumbling buildings, contaminated groundwater, and vast quantities of poisonous and harmful chemicals left behind from manufacturing sites of the past, Chris led the charge on bipartisan legislation this year that helps state agencies identify the very worst brownfields and work with towns to secure funding and access to other important resources that will wipe these eyesores off the map. Not only is cleaning up brownfields good for the environment and good for our health, it’s good for the economy. Improving these sites and removing contaminants from the groundwater is a huge boost of confidence for private developers and small business owners, who create the majority of new jobs in our communities. Further, as business investments increase, municipal grand lists grow – lowering property taxes for everyone. As your Congressman, Chris will work hard to preserve federal funding for local brownfields remediation.
As a young organizer for the Connecticut Citizens Action Group, Chris successfully fought for legislation to ban land-filling of toxic waste and to protect our aquifers, and to enact the people’s right to know – giving workers and community members the right to know what toxic waste products are being used in their communities and workplaces. In Congress, Chris will bring the same passion and energy to the current fights for environmental justice in our cities.
Maintaining our Commitment to Open Space.
An appreciation of nature is deeply instilled in the culture and lifestyle of our state. That’s why Chris has led efforts in recent years to be smart about development, and recognize the value of these increasingly threatened spaces. The state has stepped up efforts to make it affordable for farmers to keep their most valuable asset – their land – in the face of increasing pressure from developers. The Community Investment Act, which Chris has supported throughout his time in office, represents a critically important funding stream for farmers and foresters who are deeply attached to their land – but often cannot afford to keep it without help. These sorts of investments are especially important to folks in the 5th District, where dairy farmers represent a vital sector of the local economy and carry on one of our state’s proudest agricultural traditions. As Congressman, Chris will work tirelessly to keep farmers in business, and keep our open space open.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions and a Carbon Tax.
The facts and the science of global climate change are no longer in dispute. The extreme weather events with which we’ve become familiar are an ominous reminder of the urgency of this matter – and the consequences of inaction. Swift, meaningful action is needed to hold our biggest polluters accountable for their irresponsible, harmful actions. The Waxman-Markey energy bill that passed the House of Representatives in 2009 was a good start – but the bill died in the Senate after relentless lobbying by the fossil fuel industry. Chris will continue the fight to pass the underlying principles of this legislation: By prioritizing investments in clean energy research, development, and infrastructure on a national level, we can send a clear message to the markets that we’re serious about renewable energy, and the accompanying green jobs, triggering the large-scale private investments that are key to a working green economy. And by working to implement a national carbon tax that penalizes the very worst polluters, we’ll put in place a strong incentive to reduce carbon emissions while creating a new revenue stream for new investments in clean energy infrastructure. This is good for our economy, good for our workers, and above all, good for the planet.