John DeStefanoIn May when New Haven Mayor John DeStefano unveiled his plan to tax power plants for windfall profits he did it at a gas station, which had everyone wondering why direct relief at the gas pump was not part of the plan. Almost two months later DeStefano answered their questions outside the state Capitol Monday, July 3 when he called for the establishment of strict price gouging standards, taxes on oil companies making excessive profits, and establishment of flex-fuel stations. DeStefano is in a battle with Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the Aug. 8 primary.
DeStefano’s plan for energy independence calls for building more fueling stations that use a combination of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The state has only one fuel station with this fueling option at the moment. DeStefano’s plan calls for Connecticut to leverage the 30 percent federal tax credit provided for the installation of these fueling stations. Gov. M. Jodi Rell will announce July 5 the opening of a new locally-owned and operated biodiesel plant in Bethlehem, which will be the first of its kind in New England. BioPur, Inc. will produce between 450,000 to 1.5 million gallons of biodiesel annually. Biodiesel is a fuel additive made from soybeans and mixed with diesel fuel. DeStefano has criticized Rell and her predecessor former Gov. John G. Rowland for raiding the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and slowing the development of the fuel cell industry in the state. Currently the fuel cell industry supports 1,000 jobs in the state. He said if it were funded properly the fuel cell industry could create as many as 75,000 new jobs by 2015. Malloy has also called for the development of alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen fuel cells. “Fuel cells are a promising clean energy source for the future – one that has the added benefit of helping us reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Malloy states on his web site. DeStefano’s energy independence plan also calls on municipalities to give motorists with hybrid and flex fuel vehicles free or discounted parking rates. New Haven resident, Lee Cruz, said since Elm City exempts hybrid vehicles from parking fees he doesn’t even have to think about having to pay for parking anymore. He said when he drove to Hartford for the press conference Monday, July 3, he suddenly became concerned because he didn’t have change in his car. Another New Haven resident Susie Voigt, said she initially purchased her hybrid vehicle to help the environment and reduce the rate of childhood asthma. She said the economic impact it has made was just an added benefit. Lee Cruz