Connecticut’s Democratic Governor, Ned Lamont, is retracting his green agenda initiatives by withdrawing the proposal that mandated future electric vehicle (EV) purchases in the state.
This decision comes after facing bipartisan resistance from lawmakers on a crucial legislative panel. Lamont decided to retract the proposal merely four months after its initial unveiling.
The governor had initially framed the plan as “decisive action to meet our climate pollution reduction targets.” In July, Lamont introduced the proposal, aligning Connecticut’s emissions standards with the ambitious benchmarks set in California.
California’s mandate stipulates that by 2035, every passenger vehicle sold must be electric, marking the most aggressive target of its kind across the nation.
The news of Lamont pulling back the proposal has been met with approval from Connecticut Republicans.
“Common sense has prevailed,” Connecticut Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said in a statement.
“The Governor’s decision to withdraw the regulations is a reasoned approach to address the growing concerns raised by working and middle-class families.
“Adopting California emission standards which ban the sale of gas-powered cars is a substantial policy shift which must be decided by the General Assembly.”
“There are too many questions regarding the capacity of our electric grid, the cost and location of grid improvements, and the negative impact on urban, rural, and working poor families,” Kelly added.
“More than 90% of our pollution comes from outside the control of Connecticut.
“We need a national – and international – approach to improve our air quality.
“A state-by-state strategy will only prolong the attainment of cleaner air.”
Kelly is among the Republican representatives in the Connecticut General Assembly’s 14-member bicameral Legislative Regulation Review Committee. This committee holds the responsibility of approving regulations put forth by state agencies.
Over the past several months, the GOP minority leader and fellow Republicans on the committee spearheaded the opposition against the proposed electric vehicle (EV) mandate. In response to concerns expressed by Democrats on the committee regarding the regulations, Governor Lamont decided to withdraw the proposal from the agenda of a committee hearing on Tuesday. The withdrawal occurred just before lawmakers were scheduled to vote on it.
“This is a prudent step,” said Connecticut state Sen. John Kissel, the panel’s GOP co-chair.
“The people’s elected representatives are the ones who should be making this decision.
“Something so life-changing – something that will take our choice away – needs to be decided by the full state legislature.”
“Ask anyone on a Main Street anywhere in Connecticut those questions.
“They will tell you that they – the people – should get to decide.
“It should be the people’s choice,” he added.
“The people of Connecticut deserve credit for speaking out.
“I thank my colleagues on the committee – and the governor – for withdrawing these regulations.”
Another member of the panel, Republican state Sen. Paul Cicarella, pointed out that Democrats came to the realization that there was no concrete plan for the implementation of Governor Lamont’s proposed electric vehicle (EV) mandate.
Governor Lamont’s proposal, unveiled in July, not only mirrored California’s regulations for passenger cars but also aimed for 75% of trucks and buses to be electric by 2035. The passenger car mandate stemmed from a bill passed by the Connecticut legislature in 2003, aligning the state’s clean air rules with California’s program. The truck and bus mandate was established by the 2022 Connecticut Clean Air Act.
Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency reinstated California’s authority to set its emission standards and electric vehicle sales mandates under the Clean Air Act. This allowed other states to adopt California’s rules, leading Connecticut to approve its 2035 mandate, with states like New Mexico and New Jersey following suit.
Governor Lamont’s decision to withdraw the proposal is viewed as a setback for the EV industry and an unexpected disappointment for environmentalists advocating for nationwide mandates. Despite Democrats’ long-standing control of the Connecticut General Assembly, this development highlights a shift in the direction of green agenda policies.
“The Committee’s failure to advance these regulations aligns Connecticut’s environmental policy with that of Alabama, Mississippi, and West Virginia rather than Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and the dozen other states we’ve been proud to call our clean air partners,” Rothenberger said.
“Unfortunately, we will now lose one more critical year in which the environmental, health, and economic benefits of this program are not enjoyed by Connecticut’s residents.
“And there will be less consumer access to cutting-edge, low-cost clean vehicles as these vehicles are shipped elsewhere.”
On Tuesday, Governor Lamont’s decision faced criticism from environmental organizations, including Sierra Club Connecticut, Conservation Law Foundation, Acadia Center, Union of Concerned Scientists, Nature Conservancy, Environment Connecticut, and Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.
“It is outrageous that members of the regulations review committee overstepped their bounds to roll back environmental progress and block important clean air regulations,” said Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.
“If our state fails to move forward, it will be due to partisan politics and not what is best for the people of Connecticut.”
Proponents of the green agenda pointed fingers at the fossil fuel industry, accusing them of lobbying efforts to thwart the mandate in Connecticut. On the other hand, the energy sector and conservative groups in the state celebrated the proposal’s failure as a victory for consumers.
“This is a victory for consumers who would have paid a big price tag for the state’s efforts to ban gas-powered cars and trucks in the future,” said Connecticut Energy Marketers Association President Chris Herb.
“However, the battle may not be over.
“It’s unclear what could happen next, but CEMA will continue to be vigilant in our opposition to this reckless policy.
“This is too much too fast, and we are not ready for an EV-only future.”
“This is a victory for Connecticut’s people, who have the right to choose what cars and trucks they will drive – especially when there’s been no showing these burdensome, expensive regulations would actually improve the environment,” Carol Platt Liebau, the president of conservative Connecticut think tank Yankee Institute, said in a statement.
“People overwhelmingly opposed the regulations because they would have placed significant costs on our state’s consumers and businesses and strained our energy infrastructure, without providing the global environmental benefits proponents claim. Innovation, developing technology, and individual choice in the marketplace should guide car and truck sales in Connecticut – not government mandates.”