Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5579

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING BUILDING RESILIENCY AND THE GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL ON CLIMATE CHANGE.

Vote Date:

3/16/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/11/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

Rep. Mary Mushinskiy, 85th District

REASONS FOR BILL:

Recognizing that climate change increases the incidence of major storms that could result in severe damage to property, the bill requires the building code to contain provisions for building resiliency associated with increases in flood and wind damage. It also establishes a goal that not later than January 1, 2020, Connecticut's emission of greenhouse gases be reduced to a level to be determined July 1, 2016. It provides for certain reporting by the Office of Policy and Management and the Governor's Council on Climate Change concerning greenhouse gas reductions.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE

-Strikes Sections 1 and 2 from the bill that pertain to building resiliency

-Strikes the requirement in subsection (a) of Section 3 that would have established an as-yet undetermined greenhouse gas emissions reduction level by 2030

-In subsection (b) of Section 3, mandates that the Governor's Council on Climate Change submit a biennial report to the Office of Policy & Management and the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection beginning on or before January 1, 2018

-Strikes the following words from subsection (c) of Section 3: “including, but not limited to, such reductions achieved by state agencies”

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Robert J. Klee, Commissioner, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection:

Commissioner Klee supports the goals of Sections 1 and 2 and states that DEEP has been working collaboratively with the Department of Insurance, the Department of Administrative Services and the State Building Inspector to achieve the goals of this section without the need for statutory changes.

The Substitute Language strikes these sections from the bill.

State Insurance Department: The Department states their appreciation for the intent of the bill but states that this work is already in progress between them, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Department of Administrative Services “without a statutory change.”

The concerns regarding the 2030 target were addressed in the Substitute Language.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Chris Schweitzer, Director, New Haven Leon: Mr. Schweitzer stresses that action must be taken now to address climate change.

The Substitute Language strikes the 2030 target from the bill.

James Root: Mr. Root believes it is very important for the state to “stay on top [of] the progress of Greenhouse Gas reductions” more frequently with specific interim goals. He will question the legislature's sincerity of their views on climate change if they do not pass this bill.

Martin Mador, Legislative Chair, Sierra Club CT Chapter: Mr. Mador references the New England Governors' agreement in his testimony.

The Substitute Language strikes the 2030 target from the bill.

Shannon Laun, Energy & Environment Attorney, CT Fund for the Environment: Ms. Laun supports the overall purpose of this bill with some minor amendments. She suggests targets to be in place every ten years instead of just in 2030. Ms. Laun also recommends the established target date to be set for October 1, 2016 to give more time to the Council to come to their conclusions on the state's new climate plan. She believes that more power should be given to the state on deciding the options to minimize greenhouse gas emissions where it sees fit.

The Substitute Language strikes the 2030 target from the bill.

Steven Guveyan, Executive Director, Connecticut Petroleum Institute: Mr. Guveyan supports this bill with the exception of Section 3. He recommended deleting the entire section and reintroducing in in 2017, or adding a subsection “requiring the DEEP Commissioner and Governor's Climate Change Council to report back to the” legislature for further action.

The Substitute Language strikes the 2030 target from the bill.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Eric Brown, Counsel for Environmental, Energy and Regulatory Policy, Connecticut Business & Industry Association: Mr. Brown points out that the Governor's Council still has not completed its examination nor has it presented its report as specified in the Executive Order. He explains that this bill gives the DEEP Commissioner authority to establish a 2030 goal and would not allow for any legislative or public discussion.

These concerns were addressed in the Substitute Language.

Reported by: Alexandra Rice and Jane Dauphinais

Date: 3/21/16