Boucher, Lavielle sign clean energy pledge

State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) and state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) are among the more than 100 candidates for legislative or statewide office who have committed to moving Connecticut to 100% clean energy by signing the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV)’s Clean Energy for All pledge.

The pledge is part of the Clean Energy for All campaign, launched by the CTLCV, the national League of Conservation Voters, and leagues across the nation in an effort to “double down on [its] progress towards a clean energy economy at the state and local level.”

By taking the pledge, officials promise to “reject dirty fossil fuels and stand up for clean energy,” “fight for pollution-free communities,” and work to move Connecticut toward 100% clean energy by 2050 by:

  • Urging federal, state, and local elected officials to “support this work and hold them accountable for their decisions, actions, and inaction.”

  • Supporting candidates who “will stand up to big polluters and commit to our public health.”

  • Advocating for the right to power homes, vehicles, businesses and communities with clean energy.

Boucher and Lavielle have signed the pledge, but Wilton’s other legislator, state Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125), has not. That, however, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about the environment, O’Dea told The Bulletin.

As a Connecticut resident of 28 years, O’Dea said, “environmental sustainability is a top priority for me, as it should be for all legislators.”

“While, as a general rule, I typically do not sign pledges,” he said, “my voting record shows that I have supported legislation protecting our natural resources.”

O’Dea noted that he supported a bill proposing “an amendment to the state constitution regarding the protection of public lands,” as well as a bill “establishing more rigorous greenhouse gas reduction requirements in the state” — both of which passed.

While he is generally “a yes” to all that’s proposed in the Clean Energy for All pledge, O’Dea said, he would need “a number of questions” answered before he could sign it, such as:

  • Does their definition of clean energy include nuclear?

  • What will be the consequences, if any, for Connecticut businesses and Connecticut taxpayers in 2030 or 2040? What will be our power needs by then?

  • Will we have a surplus of clean energy being generated in 2045?

  • In the decade from 2030 to 2040, if we pass a law requiring 100% clean energy by 2050 or sooner, what new jobs will be created and how many will be lost, if any?

On a personal level, O’Dea said, he tried to get solar panels installed on the roof of his house and he drives a Ford Fusion hybrid.

“I am in favor of any legislation we can pass that gives consumers the ability to obtain clean energy and become self-sufficient,” he said.

Lavielle said she, too, is “usually wary of pledges” because she believes “actions speak louder than words.”

“But in this case,” she said, “I was pleased to sign, because I was simply confirming that I will continue to do something that I am already doing: supporting initiatives that protect our air, water, and health, and at the same time create jobs that help grow the economy.”

Because she “firmly” believes that conservation of natural resources “goes hand in hand with conservation of financial resources,” Lavielle said, she considers environmental stewardship “an important component of fiscal responsibility — an objective that should underpin everything we do in state government.”

“For me, signing the pledge was just a natural extension of a position I have held and work I have already been doing for years,” said Lavielle.