TCI Is Not Blue-Skying — Compromise And Act
The local survey that was conducted ahead of settling on Newtown’s official branding tagline “Unique By Nature” heard loud and clear that one of the things respondents value most is the environment. That articulation was so pronounced, the lead consultant crunching survey data said Newtowners’ love of nature actually represents the community’s “brand story.”
So it must have been concerning to many about a week and a half ago when Governor Ned Lamont figuratively flipped the off switch on Connecticut’s participation in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) — although he waffled a day later, agreeing to support participation after throwing the decision-making process back to the General Assembly to sort out.
The TCI is a multi-state agreement that would cap transportation pollution, charge wholesale polluters for emissions, and direct the funds to improve transportation and air quality for Connecticut residents. We stand with supporters who believe that TCI is our state’s best opportunity to address climate mitigation and environmental justice challenges with a regional approach.
So now it is on Connecticut lawmakers, positioning them to either take the easy way out and turn their backs, quite literally, on the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we hope to sustain for generations to come. Or, stand with colleagues in other states still supporting the TCI in a way that is meaningful and substantive, even if some compromise is required to get the program endorsement under the governor’s pen for his promised signature.
Just avoid accomplishing that on the backs of state taxpayers and residents who can least afford to underwrite the Connecticut’s involvement.
Following the governor’s announcement, the CT League of Conservation Voters was joined by The Live Green Network, The Nature Conservancy, Radical Advocates for Cross-Cultural Education, Clean Water Action, Transport Hartford/Center for Latino Progress, Operation Fuel, The Acadia Center, Mitchell Environmental Health Associates, Environment Connecticut, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Save the Sound, and ATU Local 1336 — all calling to get Connecticut’s role in TCI solidified.
The aforementioned consortium says Lamont’s decision to withdraw support for the TCI turns a blind eye to the urgency of the climate crisis we all face.
The decision to pause Connecticut’s implementation of TCI also had a domino effect on the region, underscoring the important role our state plays in addressing the climate crisis, the statement relates. It also points out that 24 hours after Lamont abandoned TCI, Massachusetts and Rhode Island backed away from the program as well.
Since we share the belief that inaction is a disservice to all the communities and residents that would have benefited from the pollution reductions and clean transportation investments under the program, perhaps the greatest challenge to state lawmakers now, if it can even be achieved, would be to find a way to keep Connecticut as a recognized environmental leader by continuing its participation in TCI, while crafting a way to equitably distribute the related expense proportionately across all socioeconomic demographics.
We believe Newtown residents care enough about the environment to support making TCI participation a priority in the 2022 General Assembly session — and getting it done before the blue sky over all our heads is permanently compromised by greenhouse gas emissions.