Connecticut residents will get a chance Tuesday to weigh in on proposed emissions regulations that will phase out the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035, when manufacturers will be expected to deliver exclusively electric vehicles.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will hold a virtual hearing to take public testimony beginning at 9 am. The hearing will be conducted on Zoom at this link. Members of the public wishing to provide comments may sign up to speak ahead of the hearing or submit written comments until 5 pm Wednesday.
The regulations, proposed last month by Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration, mirror similar efforts by other states in the region and are based on standards set by California regulators. Connecticut’s light-duty vehicle emissions standards have been tied to California’s since 2004 when the legislature passed a bipartisan law linking the two.
“Connecticut and our neighboring states are taking decisive action to meet our climate pollution reduction targets,” Lamont said in July. “Cars and trucks represent the largest air pollution sector in our state and these regulations are moving in coordination with commitments made by vehicle manufacturers to go all in on electrification.”
Last week, the proposed regulations came under fire from Republican legislators who argued that electric vehicles were too expensive for many consumers and voiced concerns that Connecticut lacked the infrastructure and energy to support a transition to exclusively selling new EVs.
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly wrote to DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes, requesting that Tuesday’s hearing be delayed by one week and held at least partially in person.
“Such a major potential shift in policy ought not be solely a Zoom-only event,” Kelly wrote. “Low- and middle-income families who stand to be most negatively impacted by this mandate are currently being denied a chance to show up in-person at the State Capitol to speak out about it. People who don’t have the privilege of the technology to testify remotely or the financial capability to Zoom will have their voices effectively silenced.”
In an email Monday, Will Healey, a spokesperson for the Energy and Environmental Protection Department said the agency would proceed with the hearing as it had been scheduled since July. A phone option will be provided for residents who do not have access to Zoom, he said.
“We anticipate robust participation in the hearings tomorrow- as of this afternoon, we already have approximately 230 people signed up to participate, and we’ve received more than 4,800 written comments to date,” Healey said. “We look forward to receiving comments from a variety of viewpoints during tomorrow’s hearings.”