Climate change is here, and it’s affecting more Americans every day. The increasingly severe storms associated with climate change, like Hurricane Ida and Superstorm Sandy, are damaging Connecticut’s coastal communities, causing severe flooding, closing roads, and downing power lines. The price of inaction will be far greater than if we made meaningful and drastic changes to our energy and environmental policies.
In August 2022, I voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030. Among other things, the bill includes $8 billion in grants to reduce climate and air pollution. This landmark package also supports green-living and transportation initiatives by offering rebates, tax credits, and grant programs to encourage the purchase of used or electric vehicles and energy-efficient housing.
I also believe that we should put a price on carbon to boost demand for renewable energy technologies, improve public health, create new jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As it stands, the cost of pollution falls on the public — not on polluters. There aren’t incentives for polluters to change their behavior. A fully-refundable carbon fee would correct this market failure by shifting the cost to emitters. That is why I am a co-sponsor of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
Clean Energy Deployment
For several congressional sessions, I have introduced the National Green Bank Act. The Inflation Reduction Act realizes the mission of this bill by providing $27 billion for green banks and other entities to finance, in partnership with private investors, eligible zero-emissions and clean energy projects. Connecticut’s Green Bank, after which the bill is modeled, has mobilized nearly $2 billion of investment into Connecticut’s clean energy economy.
The Inflation Reduction Act also provides hundreds of billions for new and extended tax credits for clean energy investment, production, and deployment. These incentives are designed so that beneficiaries use materials made in the United States, pay workers prevailing wages and support apprenticeship opportunities, or place projects in disadvantaged communities.
I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress, and my peers in the Congressional Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus, to accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy.
Mitigating Climate Impacts
We need to invest in our infrastructure and make Connecticut’s vulnerable coastlines more resilient to sea-level rise and extreme weather events. For this reason, I supported the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which among other things, sets aside billions in funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, a new program to reduce transportation-related carbon emissions, and a Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) program to protect at-risk infrastructure in coastal states.
Another solution is to expand the adoption of nature-based shoreline projects. The Inflation Reduction Act includes $2.6 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide grants to state and local governments and nonprofits to develop and implement projects to improve coastal resiliency. This funding would allow us to construct more coastal resilience projects, like the permeable concrete “reef balls” that safeguard Stratford Point.
During my time in Congress, I have worked to secure funding increases for one of our community’s national treasures: the Long Island Sound. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, for example, includes $106 million over a five-year period for the Sound to improve water quality and climate resiliency and restore habitats. I’ve also supported robust funding for EPA’s Brownfields Program to ensure Connecticut communities can safely clean up and redevelop brownfield sites.
I’ve also voted for a number of bills to protect the environment for future generations. In 2019, for example, I helped pass the bipartisan John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, a package of over 100 individual public lands, wilderness, water, and natural resources bills. I’ve co-sponsored and voted in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act, which ensures full and reliable funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and provides a funding stream for long-neglected maintenance projects on federal lands. Dedicated funding from the Great American Outdoors Act will offer more opportunities to protect important Connecticut sites, like Johnson Oak Park, Sherwood Island, Carwin Park, Oyster Shell Park, the Stamford Nature Center, Jennings Beach, and Mathews Park – which have all received support through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
I will continue to work to bring home federal dollars for projects in the Fourth District and fight to preserve our country’s natural beauty for everyone to enjoy.
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