Democrat Governor Withdraws Electric Vehicle Mandate Delivering Blow to Environmentalists - Conservative Nation
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Democrat Governor Withdraws Electric Vehicle Mandate Delivering Blow to Environmentalists



On Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont (D-CT) announced that he would be withdrawing his plan to mandate future electric vehicle purchases, just four months after the proposal was unveiled, after it received bipartisan pushback from lawmakers on a key legislative panel.

Lamont had previously characterized it as “decisive action to meet our climate pollution reduction targets.”

The proposal was initially unveiled in July, and tethered Connecticut’s emissions standards to those in California, which currently mandates that every passenger vehicle sold is electric by 2035. While other states have similar mandates, California’s was the most aggressive target of its kind nationwide.

“Common sense has prevailed,” Connecticut Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said in a statement. “The Governor’s decision to withdraw the regulations is a reasoned approach to address the growing concerns raised by working and middle-class families. Adopting California emission standards which ban the sale of gas-powered cars is a substantial policy shift which must be decided by the General Assembly.”

“There are too many questions regarding the capacity of our electric grid, the cost and location of grid improvements, and the negative impact on urban, rural and working poor families,” Kelly added. “More than 90% of our pollution comes from outside the control of Connecticut. We need a national – and international – approach to improve our air quality. A state-by-state strategy will only prolong the attainment of cleaner air.”

Kelly is one of the Republican members of the Connecticut General Assembly’s 14 member Legislative Regulation Review Committee, which is tasked with approving regulations proposed by state agencies.

Many Republicans on the panel led opposition to the proposed mandate, and after Democrats on the committee also began voicing concerns with the regulations, Lamont pulled it from the agenda of a committee hearing Tuesday, when lawmakers were set to vote on it. 

“This is a prudent step,” said Connecticut state Sen. John Kissel, the panel’s GOP co-chair. “The people’s elected representatives are the ones who should be making this decision. Something so life-changing – something that will take our choice away – needs to be decided by the full state legislature.”

“Ask anyone on a Main Street anywhere in Connecticut those questions,” he added. “They will tell you that they – the people – should get to decide. It should be the people’s choice. The people of Connecticut deserve credit for speaking out. I thank my colleagues on the committee – and the governor – for withdrawing these regulations.”

Other non-government, right-leaning groups celebrated the decision, praising it as a win for consumers, many of whom cannot afford the price tags that go along with EVs. 

“This is a victory for consumers who would have paid a big price tag for the state’s efforts to ban gas-powered cars and trucks in the future,” said Connecticut Energy Marketers Association President Chris Herb. “However, the battle may not be over. It’s unclear what could happen next, but CEMA will continue to be vigilant in our opposition to this reckless policy. This is too much too fast, and we are not ready for an EV-only future.”

“This is a victory for Connecticut’s people, who have the right to choose what cars and trucks they will drive – especially when there’s been no showing these burdensome, expensive regulations would actually improve the environment,” Carol Platt Liebau, the president of conservative Connecticut think tank Yankee Institute, said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

“People overwhelmingly opposed the regulations because they would have placed significant costs on our state’s consumers and businesses and strained our energy infrastructure, without providing the global environmental benefits proponents claim. Innovation, developing technology and individual choice in the marketplace should guide car and truck sales in Connecticut – not government mandates.”

However, the decision was criticized by environmentalists, many of whom have advocated for such mandates nationwide. The move was also highly unexpected, due to Democratic control of the Connecticut General Assembly, which has been held for years. 

“The Committee’s failure to advance these regulations aligns Connecticut’s environmental policy with that of Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia rather than Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and the dozen other states we’ve been proud to call our clean air partners,” said Charles Rothenberger, climate and energy attorney with Connecticut-based Save the Sound.

“Unfortunately, we will now lose one more critical year in which the environmental, health and economic benefits of this program are not enjoyed by Connecticut’s residents,” Rothenberger said. “And there will be less consumer access to cutting-edge, low-cost clean vehicles as these vehicles are shipped elsewhere.”

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