Environment Council: Businesses Leading on Energy Efficiency

05.13.2011
Issues & Policies

A new report from the state’s Council on Environmental Quality shows Connecticut is making progress on cleaning up its air and water. Despite last year’s sizzling summer, air quality in the state in 2010 “was the best in decades — the fourth record-breaking year in a row,” says the CEQ.

Not surprisingly, Connecticut’s electricity use continues to rise, but “For two years in a row, … businesses have used electricity more efficiently to produce goods and services.”

Facing huge energy costs and tough economic conditions, Connecticut businesses are leading the way in making the most efficient use possible of energy.

Energy costs in Connecticut are among the highest in the United States. When energy costs rise, businesses are hit hard and that impacts jobs.

Recent energy policy in Connecticut has led to Connecticut having markedly higher energy costs than many of its nearby states. Proposals for adding new taxes on Connecticut electric generators will only make matters worse.

The added charges may mean a few extra dollars for residential consumers, but they will translate into thousands–and often hundreds of thousands—of dollars to businesses.

Sound progress

Along with the positive air-quality findings, the CEQ says that pollution in Long Island Sound continues to drop off. What’s more, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) last year saw a big jump in areas of the Sound with “adequate oxygen levels.”

While compliance with environmental regulations was down slightly last year, the first time since 2005, there are many reasons for that decline—including more government regulations. But one thing continues to stand out: Businesses are looking for help from state government in attaining compliance.

A bill spearheaded by CBIA last year requires the DEP to implement a consulting-type compliance assistance program and the agency is moving forward on that initiative.

To his credit, new DEP Commissioner Dan Esty says that he wants to work with the business community and environmental advocates to find efficient and effective ways to protect the environment while improving Connecticut’s economy.
Policymakers should recognize the good work that businesses are doing to become more energy-efficient and focus on helping them comply with the vast array of regulations they must follow. Doing that will help businesses compete and grow here, and create more jobs.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Brown at 860.244.1926 or eric.brown@cbia.com.

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