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Rep. Denise Merrill honored for standing firm on environmental issues

December 8, 2009 Local News No Comments
Rep. Merrill joined other lawmakers and members of the Connecticut Alliance Against Diesel Pollution on the grounds of the State Capitol at a May 2007 demonstration in support of SB 1032, “An Act Reducing Diesel Emissions in School Bus Cabins,” which requires and fully funds the installations in 1994-2006 buses of “closed-crankcase filtration systems” that prevent engine emissions from entering the passenger compartment, by routing them into the exhaust system.

Rep. Merrill joined other lawmakers and members of the Connecticut Alliance Against Diesel Pollution on the grounds of the State Capitol at a May 2007 demonstration in support of SB 1032, “An Act Reducing Diesel Emissions in School Bus Cabins,” which requires and fully funds the installations in 1994-2006 buses of “closed-crankcase filtration systems” that prevent engine emissions from entering the passenger compartment, by routing them into the exhaust system.

State House Majority Leader State Rep. Denise Merrill, D-Mansfield, has been named a “2009 Environmental Champion” by the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.

Merrill was recognized for her leadership in passing important environmental bills and for the organization’s determination of a 100 percent score on environmental issues acted upon during the 2009 General Assembly session.

Merrill “consistently ensured that key environmental bills were acted upon and that environmental concerns were included in the budget discussions,” the League’s end-of-the-session report states.

The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters works with elected leaders to preserve a safe and healthy environment for the public good by providing information on issues and monitoring votes on bills as they travel from committee to the floor.

Votes have consequences

“The legislature may do its work in Hartford, but we all feel the impact of what it does – or doesn’t do – in our own backyards,” says CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown. “That park you like to visit, the natural scenery you love in your town, whether that dairy farm down the road is going to be sold to developers – these are the kinds of things our legislators’ votes affect in very real ways.”

This year’s “scorecard” graded lawmakers according to their votes on 19 bills related to the environment that addressed such things as water quality, alternative energy, open space preservation, recycling and sources of pollution.

Merrill was cited by CTLCV for “consistently ensuring that key environmental bills were acted upon and that environmental concerns were included in the budget discussions.”

Merrill said, “I thank the Connecticut League of Conservation for their recognition of my work on behalf of environmental legislation during this year’s General Assembly session… Even though this was a difficult budget year, it remains our responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all of us.”

‘Wins’ for our environment, our health

Among the “wins” for the environment, according to the League:

  • Deposits on water containers – “For a number of years, recycling advocates tried to expand the state’s redemption and recycling program to require five-cent deposits on water containers. This year they finally succeeded in passing an updated bottle deposit bill.”
  • Support for farmers and farmland preservation – “The Community Investment Act was expanded to increase fee revenues and provide more money for dairy farms in addition to preservation of farmland, open space and historic urban centers.
  • Smart Growth – “Smart Growth legislation was passed to codify principles of land use decision-making to protect open space, redevelop brownfields and provide more environmentally-friendly transportation.”
  • Protecting children’s health – “Several bills passed that increase environmental protections for children. These bills banned the toxin BPA (bisphenol-A) in children’s products, required that schools use environment-friendly cleaning products and limited the use of pesticides in day-care facilities and elementary schools.”
  • Making room for pedestrians and bicycles – “The Complete Streets bill, titled An Act Concerning Pedestrian and Bicycle Access, was passed to make streets and roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians by directing towns to use some state-road aid funds for this purpose.”

Mother Earth’s ‘champions’

The League commended the following 2009 environmental “Champions”: Senators Don Williams (D-Brooklyn), John McKinney (R-Southport), Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), and Ed Meyer (D-Guilford), and Representatives Denise Merrill (D-Mansfield), Patricia Widlitz (D-Guilford), Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), Tom Kehoe (D- S. Glastonbury), Mary Mushinsky (D-Wallingford), Vickie Nardello (D-Prospect), Linda Schofield (D-Simsbury), and Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden).

A copy of the 28-page 2009 Environmental Scorecard report is available online in PDF format at http://www.ctlcv.org/Scorecards/CTLCV%27s%202009%20Environmental%20Scorecard-version2.pdf

Posted Dec. 8, 2009

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