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Rep. Palm Releases Details on Costly Green Monster Bill

In an email circulated by the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, Rep. Christine Palm (D-Chester) shed more light on her proposed “Green Monster” bill — formally known as the Connecticut Climate Protection Act of 2024 — while promoting an upcoming webinar that she will be hosting along with U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT). 

The online event, set for Feb. 26 and titled “The 2024 Green Monster and Inflation Reduction Act Informational Webinar,” appears to be trying to temper negative criticisms against the group’s twelve-item proposed legislation after news leaked of its financial impact. 

The proposal starts with the state declaring a climate crisis. According to Rep. Palms’s summary, the declaration is to inform elected officials and the public about the urgency for enacting meaningful climate legislation. It also stresses that if not adopted this session, the environmental ramifications on the economy and quality of life will far outweigh any immediate financial risks. To them, the proposal’s price-tag is worth preventing future climate disasters. Additionally, it calls for reinforcing the 2008 Connecticut Global Warming Solutions Act; Gov. Ned Lamont’s 2021 Executive Order 21-3 to reduce carbon emissions; and the 2021 Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation.  

While the current framework lacks a specific enforcement mechanism, Rep. Palm highlighted in a Feb. 9 op-ed that the “devil is in the details” and omnibus bills go “through several iterations before it is put to a vote in a legislative committee.”  

The problem with this process is that these revisions frequently occur after the public has had the opportunity to provide input. Consequently, the version of the bill that undergoes public testimony may differ significantly from the version that is eventually voted on by committees, raising concerns about the transparency and inclusiveness of the legislative process.  

A major concern in this bill is that it also provides state support for the proposed federal Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2023. If the federal bill passes, the government will levy a carbon fee — which increases yearly — on coal, oil and natural gas at the point of extraction with dividends being sent back to U.S. citizens to “protect us” from rising fuel costs.  

However, not only will these dividends be considered taxable income, but businesses would not be eligible to receive them, meaning the carbon fee will be passed along to consumers eating away at any money that was supposed to be used to lower energy costs. 

The legislation also ignores the housing affordability crisis in the state by introducing mandates for electrification in all new constructions and renovations. Furthermore, itrequires the adoption of pollution-free HVAC and water heating equipment by 2030. 

This approach mirrors policies already put in place by the state of Washington, where similar mandates are anticipated to drive up home prices. A study by the Pacific Northwest National Lab forecasts that the requirement for heat and water pumps will increase prices by roughly $7,500. 

To cover costs, the bill aims to use federal Inflation Reduction Act funds for green projects involving solar and other energy efficiency programs. 

To date, there has not been any official release of a bill or concept titled the Connecticut Climate Protection Act, even though the deadline for submitting new concepts is Friday (Feb. 23). However, it appears that the concept titled “Implementation of Certain Climate Change Measures”, which received drafting approval last Friday (Feb. 16), will serve as the vessel for advancing the monster forward. 

The renaming of the concept is significant, as it sailed smoothly to the bill drafting phase, suggesting the name change was strategically made to quietly move it forward without public feedback. The Feb. 23 Environment Committee meeting lasted only three minutes and Rep. Palm — Vice Chair of the Committee — who is at the forefront of promoting the concept, did not speak. 

Given the anticipated multiple “iterations, it’s uncertain what additional provisions might be incorporated into the final version. There is still anticipation of a ban on the sale of new gas-powered vehicles, though no specific bill or concept has been introduced. Should lawmakers choose to pursue this ban after the deadline, the omnibus bill presents another option for incorporating such a provision — meaning it could readily become a part of this legislation. 

As the bill evolves, Yankee Institute will be monitoring the process very closely, ensuring that the public is kept informed of significant changes or additions. 

‘Green Amendment’ a Roadblock to Pursuing Clean Energy Projects 

On Wednesday (Feb. 21) the Government Administration and Elections Committee voted favorably to draft a resolution to propose an amendment to the state constitution concerning environmental rights. 

This concept appears to mimic a failed resolution from last year, proposing a ballot question asking if every Connecticut resident should possess the “individual right to clean and healthy air, water, soil and environment; a stable climate; and self-sustaining ecosystems for the benefit of public health, safety and the general welfare.” 

A similar initiative was proposed in New Mexico last year, but legislators there opted not to advance it. According to the  Fiscal Impact Report by the New Mexico government, the concern was that rather than safeguarding residents from the effects of polluting industries, the amendment has the potential to be used as a “roadblock to pursuing clean energy projects” because as written, the legal uncertainty the amendment could create might result in costly litigation that could impact the financial feasibility of certain energy projects. 

In her 2023 written testimony opposing the resolution, Betsy Gara, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST), raised other legal concerns associated with the proposed amendment. Gara argued that the amendment would give individuals broad, new environmental rights, along with the automatic authority to initiate legal actions against the state, municipalities and political subdivisions. 

Gara expressed concern “that this will subject municipalities to protracted and costly litigation based on undefined standards which could be used to halt local economic development and infrastructure.” 

For the amendment to be ratified it must be presented to the voters as a ballot question during a regular state election. If the resolution advances out of the committee, it will require a three-fourths majority approval in both legislative chambers. Should this threshold not be met, the amendment can still proceed if it secures a simple majority in both chambers over two consecutive legislative sessions. 

This Week on Yankee’s Podcast Y CT Matters 

Who was George Washington? Why does he still matter in American life? Historian Kevin Gutzman, a professor and former chairman in the Department of History at Western Connecticut State University, returns to the podcast to share President Washington’s monumental legacy and why he is worthy of praise today. 

Click Here to listen

Meghan Portfolio

Meghan worked in the private sector for two decades in various roles in management, sales, and project management. She was an intern on a presidential campaign and field organizer in a governor’s race. Meghan, a Connecticut native, joined Yankee Institute in 2019 as the Development Manager. After two years with Yankee, she has moved into the policy space as Yankee’s Manager of Research and Analysis. When she isn’t keeping up with local and current news, she enjoys running–having completed seven marathons–and reading her way through Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels.

1 Comment

  1. John Feher
    February 29, 2024 @ 11:45 am

    left Ct 5 years ago! so glad I did!


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