Republicans Call on Regs Review Committee to Defer to Legislature Regarding New Gas-Powered Car Sales

    Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly and House Minority Leader Vin Candelora are making headlines with their opposition to the planned phase-out of new gas-powered car sales. They are urging the legislature’s Regulation Review Committee to hold off on approving the regulations, arguing that the issue should be considered by the broader General Assembly next year.

    The debate centers around regulations that would require car manufacturers to sell an increasing share of zero-emission vehicles, with the ultimate goal of discontinuing new gas-powered vehicle sales by 2035. Republicans believe that this proposal is unrealistic and that the state has not adequately prepared for the infrastructure upgrades required for a widespread transition to electric vehicles. They are calling on the committee to defer the decision and allow for a more comprehensive discussion among all legislators.

    The proposed regulations are rooted in a bipartisan 2004 law that aligned Connecticut’s emissions standards with those of California, the state where the 2035 phase-out was first introduced. Proponents argue that adopting the California standards would put Connecticut in line with neighboring states like Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. However, critics believe that the state should instead adopt less-stringent regulations set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

    The Regulatory Review Committee, which typically reviews proposed regulations for compliance with state law, now finds itself in the midst of a political controversy. The outcome of the vote is uncertain, as it remains unclear whether there is enough support on the panel to approve the proposal. While a tie vote would eventually lead to approval, one Democratic lawmaker on the committee, Sen. Cathy Osten, has expressed skepticism about the change. The committee members have faced pressure from both sides, with Republicans hosting community forums opposing the regulations and representatives of various industries, including fuel sellers and motor transport companies, voicing their concerns. On the other hand, environmental advocates and Democratic co-chairs of legislative committees strongly support the regulations and have lobbied for their approval.

    As the debate continues, Rep. Lucy Dathan, a Democrat and co-chair of the Regulation Review Committee, remains positive about the upcoming vote but acknowledges that there are concerns among her party members. The committee’s decision will be closely watched, with Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly suggesting that it is evenly divided on the issue.

    While the committee members deliberate, the call for transparency grows. House Minority Leader Vin Candelora has urged Democrats on the review panel to publicly state their positions on how they plan to vote on November 28th. He anticipates an interesting public response to a “yes” vote.

    In the end, the fate of the phase-out of new gas-powered car sales in Connecticut hangs in the balance. The decision of the Regulation Review Committee will determine whether the state aligns with California and neighboring states or takes a different approach to emissions standards. It remains to be seen how the debate unfolds and what impact it will have on Connecticut’s transportation landscape in the years to come.

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