Sunday, October 12, 2008

Environmental issues remain at the forefront of legislative agenda.

A note from the Legislature from Rep. Penny Bacchiochi
Environmental issues remain at the forefront of legislative agenda.
While the primary focus of the most recent legislative sessions has been rightly on the economy, taxes and jobs, the environment continues to be an important issue for all of us. Even during hard economic times, we are obligated to be good stewards of the environment .

Over the years, when the state’s budget has been solid and the coffers full, I have supported many environmental initiatives. For example, this past session the General Assembly established a farmland preservation advisory board within the Dept. of Agriculture . This board is now overseeing a $20 million state investment in farmland preservation. In fact, I am looking forward to a ribbon cutting ceremony at Whitaker Farm on Oct. 5, which is being sponsored by the Northern Connecticut Land Trust.

Additionally, the legislature toughened up the ban on pesticides on school property and playgrounds. And along with my full support, the legislature passed a bill called “The Face of Connecticut ,” a broad-based effort to preserve the natural, historic and urban resources in our state. Some other critically important environmental bills passed this session include funding for fuel cells, the establishment of a task force to monitor land use policies, and the elimination of certain toxins and lead in children’s toys. Finally, a plan for a smart growth task force to monitor land use policies was established . As the ranking member of the Planning and Development Committee , I am excited to begin work on an in-depth plan that will guide the state’s future investment in land use.”

Also during the last session, the General Assembly passed a mammoth global warming bill that I could not support due to the overwhelming cost that it would have put on constituents at a time they can least afford it. While many environmental groups insisted this was necessary, I continued to hear from constituents that they did not want to pay higher energy prices. The overly aggressive global warming bill made Connecticut only the fi fth state to take such drastic measures. The bill set a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. Unfortunately , the bill offered no mechanism for accomplishing this lofty goal, but instead only insisted upon it happening .

Because we must continue to address global warming, I joined with Gov. Rell when she started her successful “One Thing” campaign regarding small and cost-free changes that we can all make to leave this planet a better place. Some of the suggestions from the ‘One Thing’ campaign include:

Don’t let hot water keep running while you’re shaving or washing.

Don’t place lamps or TV’s in front of thermostat sensors. The sensors can feel the heat given off and make the A/ C run longer.

Every few loads, consider drying your clothes outside on a line. It saves big on energy and talk about ‘Spring fresh.

Get rid of any room air conditioner that is more than ten years old and you’ll save when you replace it with an ENERGY STAR qualifi ed model.

Go ahead and use your dishwasher. A full load actually uses less hot water than hand washing.

I have started a new newsletter and would love to add you to the e-mail distribution list. If you are interested, please e-mail me at penny.bacchiochi@ I will be sending out capitol news updates on a regular basis to keep my constituents informed of the goings-on at the Capitol.

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