As a teenager growing up in Wethersfield, I first became interested in public service after participating in cleanups on the nearby Connecticut River. That passion for environmental stewardship still drives me in the Senate, where I am pushing for strong policies to combat climate change, curb pollution, and invest in renewable energy.
In Congress, I am helping lead the fight to enact aggressive policies to combat climate change. Under President Trump, Republicans in Washington worked to roll back much of the progress we’ve made to reduce carbon emissions - pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement and ripping up President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Fortunately, President Biden has worked to restore America’s leadership when it comes to tackling the climate crisis, from rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement on the first day of his Administration to setting ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law by President Biden in 2021 invests heavily in public transit and electric vehicles, expands access to clean drinking water, builds up a clean power grid, and makes the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in our nation’s history. I fought hard to secure funding to improve travel times and rider experience along the Northeast Rail Corridor, to get more commuters on to trains and get cars off the road.
There’s still much more to do. That’s why I worked across the aisle with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine to co-author one of the only bipartisan climate bills in the Senate, the Super Pollutants Act. Our bill focuses on reducing the outflow of a class of greenhouse pollutants called Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, or SLCPs. These so-called “super pollutants” do much more damage in a shorter amount of time than carbon dioxide. By targeting these pollutants, like methane from landfills and HFCs from air conditioners, we can save millions of lives and prevent irreversible climate damage, all while we work toward a binding international agreement on carbon dioxide emissions.
Finally, we need to be working to preserve open spaces so that future generations can enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. During my time in the Senate, I have helped secure several changes that will help protect open space in Connecticut. I fought to permanently fund and authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is the main federal program used to preserve, develop, and ensure access to outdoor recreation activities.
I spearheaded the effort to provide robust funding for the Highlands Conservation Act—a program that helps fund land conservation projects in the densely populated Highlands region that includes parts of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. I am continuing work to reauthorize the two National Heritage Areas (NHAs) in Connecticut, the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area.
And finally, after working with the conservation community for years on this effort, in 2015, Congress made permanent the charitable deduction for the donation of conservation easements. This change will allow private landowners to permanently preserve undeveloped land in Connecticut. Changes like these will ensure that our wild and scenic spaces will be preserved for generations to come.
In 2022, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)– the single largest investment in energy and climate in American history that will boost clean energy while lowering energy costs for Connecticut families.
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