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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Advocates: Failure of CT climate change legislation stagnates state progress

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Tuesday, May 14, 2024   

Bills addressing climate change are some of the biggest casualties of Connecticut's legislative session.

One in particular is House Bill 5004, an all-inclusive bill designed to implement reforms keeping the state climate goals on track. The bill failed in the Senate, due to Democrats not giving enough time to consider it and Republican threats to filibuster it.

Samantha Dynowski, state director of the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club, said climate action is not moving in the right direction.

"They clawed back the climate legislation they passed three years ago by not passing the clean transportation regs that were presented to the Legislature in late 2023," Dynowski pointed out. "Not only are we not making progress forward, we're actually taking steps backward."

While the bill had wide support, some felt it encroached on their freedoms and limited energy supply competition. Dynowski argued climate legislation's need is only growing beyond climate impacts. A recent report shows greenhouse gas emissions grew in 2021, a trend set to continue without legislative action.

While some bills failed in committee, others did not pass a vote in one of the General Assembly's chambers. Dynowski contended climate action was not as much of a priority for lawmakers as it should have been but she acknowledged there was movement on some issues.

"There was in the bonding package, $25 million for heat pump deployment, so that will be helpful," Dynowski emphasized. "And in the ARPA funding package, a program for school solar and a requirement that all school districts will assess schools for solar."

A state watchdog report said one priority should be boosting electric vehicle use. It has not been easy since misinformation made some lawmakers reluctant to pass cleaner emission standards.

Proposed standards last year required 90% cleaner emissions from internal combustion engines and that carmakers deliver 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

Disclosure: The Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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