HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Changes are on the way to the Connecticut Clean Air Act.
Governor Ned Lamont said he looks forward to signing SB 4, which will expand the state’s Electric Vehicle rebate program and allow electric bikes to be included. The goal is to reduce pollution.
The Connecticut House gave final approval Friday night after the bill passed the state Senate earlier this week.
This clean air bill aims to reduce transportation pollution through strict emission standards on trucks, and expands the use of electric buses. Proponents say it’s an environmental movement being led by young people.
State Rep. Christine Palm the Democratic Vice Chair of the Environment Committee said, “I mean 13, 14-year-olds who are terrified for their future, and I’m not being hyperbolic, they are in a state of panic.
The bill would require the state vehicle fleet to be 100% electric by 2030 and allows Connecticut to adopt California emissions standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks.
State Rep. Vincent Candelora, the Republican House Minority Leader, says this is a flawed policy. “Do we want rolling blackouts the way our brownouts, the way California has? No. Yet Connecticut is adopting policies that are completely in line with California and out of step with the rest of the nation.”
The trucking industry says the electrical grid isn’t strong enough. In a statement to News 8, Joe Sculley, the President of the Motor Transport Association of CT, says, “PURA (the state regulator) has been informed by Eversource… that it might not be possible to provide the electricity required to charge the trucks.”
Meantime, the bill would expand rebate programs for buying electric vehicles and bikes and encourage communities to transition to electric school buses. Opponents fear that school districts don’t have plans in place for how Electric Vehicle technology will work.
“A bus may have to choose between heating the vehicle while it’s running, or not being able to deliver all the children to schooly,” said Candelora.”It is a massive investment. It’s a massive mandate on our schools. And at a time when we’re struggling to get bus drivers and struggling to get teachers in the school.”
Grant programs and tax credits are expected to fund some of the zero-emission purchases. Federal infrastructure money is expected to help pay for the expansion of EV charging stations.
Some say this new bill will do little to combat pollution from midwestern states blowing into Connecticut.
State Rep. Joe Gresko the Democratic Chair of the Environment Committee explains, “You need to take care of what’s in your backyard first before pointing out what’s going on out, out in the Midwest.”
The law does not apply to emergency vehicles.
There is a separate bill to allow for the direct sales of electric vehicles to consumers. It’s commonly called the Tesla bill. Lawmakers could not say whether that bill will get voted on.
CHEAPR+ Program, Connecticut Hydrogen, and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate details:
- $500 voucher to purchase a $3,000 e-bike
- Adds residents of environmental justice communities, and residents with household incomes at or below three hundred percent of the federal poverty level to the program
- Provides rebates up to one hundred percent more than the standard rebate level for residents of environmental justice communities.
- EV cars valued at over $50,000 don’t get the rebate.
- The amount of the rebate itself varies based on the type of electric vehicle (i.e. plug-in hybrid, full electric, fuel cell vehicles)
The State Department of Energy and the Environment can change the rebate to maximize benefits to poor/middle-class people.