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Senator Tony Hwang Speaks At CTLCV Environmental Legislation Debrief



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Senator Tony Hwang (R-28th), cited as an “environmental champion,” was among the speakers at the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) 2022 Environmental Legislative Debrief on May 6.

The virtual session reviewed the climate, energy, and environment bills that passed at this year’s Connecticut General Assembly.

CTLCV Board Member Adam Wood said that due to his environmental leadership, the CTLCV named Hwang as an Environmental Champion on its scorecard in 2015, 2016, and 2019. Hwang was named in the CTLCV Hall of Fame in 2017 for his strong leadership on the environment.

Hwang shared his perspective as a Republican senator, as well as the work he is doing for the environment.

“The environment has no party affiliation,” Hwang said.

He gave credit to the contemporary and longtime members of the CTLCV for their work. He said all the accomplishments that were able to be done this year are a tribute to the legacy of Julie Belaga, founder of the CTLCV, with whom he spoke on many occasions.

“I hope that if I am lucky enough to be reelected again, that we will continue to strive to bring a bipartisan solution to everything we do with the environment,” Hwang said.

Wood shared comments and questions from attendees, one of which inquired about what work is being done to clean up and maintain Long Island Sound.

Hwang answered, “The Long Island Sound is a major environmental, as well as recreational, part of our area in Southwestern Connecticut and the rest of the state. I’m very proud to be a part of the Long Island Sound Blue Plan, which was literally seven years in the making.”

He explained that the plan is now being fully implemented and data is starting to be collected about waterways that lead into the Sound. Once the data can be analyzed, then policies can be created.

“Ultimately, the correlation and collaboration between federal and interstate dynamics with the shared Sound in Rhode Island and New York needs to be better coordinated. It’s a national treasure … the Sound is truly special, and we have an important role to sustain it and protect it for the future. It is something I am deeply committed to do,” Hwang said.

An attendee commented how Hwang was one of the only Republicans to support Senate Bill 4 and asked, “How do we do a better or more effective job to encourage bipartisanship support for the environment?”

Hwang replied, “I think if we work harder cultivating relationships and don’t go to our corners — and look we may agree to disagree, but if we see that disagreement and try to reach a compromise and collaboration, we can succeed in a true bipartisan effort.”

Banner Year For Environment

Earlier in the meeting, CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown said it was a “banner year for the environment.”

Brown said the group is a “statewide environmental nonprofit that works with our state lawmakers and dozens of advocacy organizations to protect the environment.”

She explained that the program was an opportunity to hear from legislative champions who helped achieve the many wins the group agreed with.

“Our state legislators really stepped up and leaned into the fight this year with resounding victories,” said Brown.

Brown shared a chart with more than a dozen bills that the CTLCV felt were significant wins. The list included: SB 4: Clean Air Act — passed; SB 10: Climate Change Mitigation — passed; SB 117: Tree Removal on Properties Under Control of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) — passed in SB 238; SB 120: Use of Chlorpyrifos on Golf Courses and Neonicotinoids for Non-Agricultural Use — passed; SB 176: Shared Clean Energy Facilities — passed; SB 243: Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices — passed in budget; HB 5039: Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emission Standards — passed in SB 4; HB 5140: Hand Harvesting of Horseshoe Crabs — passed in HB 5198; HB 5143: Establish an Office of Aquatic Invasive Species — passed in budget; HB 5262: Revising Certain Absentee Ballot Eligibility Statutes — passed; HB 5285: Public School Curriculum — passed in budget; and HJ 107: Resolution Adopting the State Plan of Conservation and Development 2018-2023 — passed.

“Six of the bills shown here will directly impact climate and air quality in the areas of clean electricity, clean transportation, climate smart agriculture, expanding solar energy, and finally, finally, a bill passed this year requiring the teaching of climate change in schools,” Brown said. “Four of the bills on here advanced the protection of state land, trees, and water, including the passage of the long overdue state plan of conservation and development. Two of the bills here were about wildlife, so bears and horseshoe crabs. And one bill addressed pesticides, banning chlorpyrifos.”

Brown also noted the budget that was passed included investment in “clean transportation, open space and parks, smart agriculture, and much more.”

During the 2022 Environmental Legislation Debrief, Senator Christine Cohen and Speaker of the House Matthew Ritter spoke about the bills they specifically worked on and what happened this session.

Brown thanked the speakers who participated in the event and noted that a full list of environmental issues that were tracked will be listed on the CTLCV website. To see the list or to learn more about CTLCV, visit ctlcv.org.

Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

Senator Tony Hwang, pictured left over Zoom, answered questions from the public that Connecticut League of Conservation Voters Board Member Adam Wood, right, asked him during the 2022 Environmental Legislation Debrief on Friday, May 6.
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1 comment
  1. georgezaruba says:

    Congratulations Tony. Curious if you are aware of the truck depot being proposed in Newtown at Exit 9. Air, Noise, Traffic pollution. as well as just overall impact of traffic on 84 and through town. We could really use our environmental champion to weigh in. Thanks

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