As the Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee and through his master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Ted understands that a clean environment is key to our health, economic prosperity, and quality of life. Our region has some of most beautiful coastline, open space, parks, and farmland in Connecticut. Ted will continue to work hard to better protect, manage, and utilize these critical natural resources. He has tirelessly fought and will continue to:
1. Protect Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is the environmental keystone of Connecticut, but according to the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, “every year, over 2 billion gallons of raw sewage are dumped into Long Island Sound and its tributaries, closing beaches and shellfish beds.”1 Ted believes we must continue to invest in Connecticut’s clean water infrastructure. He will keep fighting against the industrialization of the Sound by energy corporations. He led passage of Long Island Sound Blue Plan and support preservation efforts by environmental organizations like Save the Sound. and has supported preservation efforts by environmental organizations like Save the Sound. Ted also spearheaded the effort to eliminate the use of tiny plastic micro beads in personal care products, a statute that became the model and basis of a federal law that was recently enacted to phase out the use of the products nationwide. Ted will keep protecting the Sound’s fragile ecosystem so that we can all enjoy its natural beauty, and so that its economic benefits—fishing, recreation, and tourism—will flourish.
2. Support local farms
The 2012 Census of Agriculture reveled, there has been a 22% increase in new farms in Connecticut. Currently we have 6,000 farms in the state with more than 700 of them in our region.2 Farms help grow our local economy. They promote job creation, provide a quality, local food source, and drive agricultural tourism. Ted recognizes the value of these important small businesses, and supports efforts to promote and better position them in the marketplace, such as the CT Grown program. Strengthening labeling requirements for products sold as “CT Gown” to prevent out of state farms from falsely representing their products. During his first term, Ted championed several critical farm bills, to name a few:
- The nation’s most innovative and comprehensive pollinator protection law to address the dramatic die-off of bees and other beneficial insects that are responsible for pollinating 80% of Connecticut’s fruits and vegetables;
- “Farm-to-School” initiative that gives a preference for Connecticut grown products when purchasing food for school cafeterias; and
- Connecticut’s “Farmlink” program, which matches new farmers in search of farmland with farmers interested in leasing or selling their farms, helping to keep our agriculture land in production.
3. Increase recycling efforts
Recycling is not only good for the environment, but also creates jobs and saves towns money. Today, Connecticut only recycles 24% of its solid waste. The plan to increase that to 58% by 20243 requires new and creative ways to address the issue. Ted has worked to identify and promote innovative efforts to improve our state’s recycling efficiency and capabilities, including:
- A legislative Task Force to study ways to reduce, reuse, recycle packaging waste and plastics; and
- A proposed expansion of our State’s bottle bill to include juice drinks and iced tea containers and, an act which would direct a portion of wine and liquor bottles unredeemed money to enhance our state parks.
4. Improve our state parks
Connecticut is home to more than 100 state parks and forests including Cockaponset State Forest, Chatfield Hollow in Killingworth, and Hammonasset Beach in Madison. They are natural treasures, popular tourist destinations, and a driving force in the local economy. Unfortunately, our State Parks are in desperate need of maintenance, renovations, and funding for programs and staff, such as the popular Ranger Russ activities at Hammonasset. Ted has proven to be one of the legislature’s strongest supports of the preservation of our parks and has worked to develop new reliable revenue sources to help support them.
5. Promote affordable renewable energy
Connecticut has one of the highest costs of energy in the United States. Ted knows we must make efficient and alternative energy sources a top priority. We need to focus on new and viable ideas and find affordable solutions for consumers.
Ted will continue to work hard to develop incentives for renewable energy sources and also advocate for expanding established programs like Solarize Connecticut. He will work to collaborate with utility companies to streamline the process of solar installation and develop initiatives like shared solar and distributed generation. Renewable energy sources—including solar, wind, geothermal, and water—will both help our environment and stimulate new economic industries for the 12th District. Ted has foresight to strengthen our renewable energy sectors by supplying initiatives such as – Backing Connecticut’s virtual net metering law to enable municipalities and others to receive a billing credit if their solar installations generate excess power.
6. Monitor toxic chemicals and pesticides
Connecticut residents are exposed to hundreds of unmonitored chemicals, additives, and pesticides every day. Most of us are not even aware of the presence of toxins in everyday products that we assume are safe—but are not. We need access to reliable information and transparent public reports so that we can protect our children and ourselves from these environmental toxins.
Ted spent years working with the Yale Department of Pediatrics to create safe housing for children diagnosed with lead poisoning. He understands the complexities of the medical and public health systems, and knows how to connect these systems to create real solutions for tough problems
Ted applauds Connecticut’s broad ban of bisphenol- A or BPA, a chemical used in food and beverage packaging, including infant formula can liners. BPA exposure has been linked to early puberty, diabetes and cancer. Ted also supports efforts of organizations to help inform and educate us, such as the Coalition for a Safe & Healthy Connecticut and the Connecticut Campaign for Toxic-Free Kids.
Ted will continue to work hard to promote vigilant monitoring, increased public awareness, and better regulation of toxic chemicals to help keep us safe from environmental toxins.