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DEEP extends deadline for EV regulations public comment

The Lamont administration proposed new regulations last month to phase out all new sales of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Residents now have until the end of the month to weigh in on proposed regulations to eventually ban the sale of new gas-powered cars in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is extending the public comment deadline after officials heard hours of public testimony about these contentious regulations during their virtual hearing Tuesday.

“The goal of cleaner air and a better environment is a worthy one, one that we support, how are we going to get there?” questioned Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly.

The Lamont administration proposed new regulations last month to phase out all new sales of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035. 

“Connecticut has always been out of compliance with federal air pollution, regulations, or levels,” said Barry Kresch, president of the EV Club of CT.

Environmental advocates said this shift is necessary, citing air quality data from the American Lung Association, which gave four Connecticut counties an “F” on their State the Air report card.

“We need the right set of policies to make this happen as well as more availability of vehicles which is starting to happen from just about every manufacturer,” Kresch said.

However, there is rising opposition from some legislative leaders.

“There's really not a lot of thought given to what's going on, how this is going to impact our families,” Kelly said Wednesday.

Kelly and his Republican colleagues argue electric vehicles are unaffordable for most residents and would be hard to implement with a state power grid needing major upgrades.

“We need to have a plan on how to build this out, but it's the legislature that really needs to have a voice here, not just the bureaucrats who have decided to make this change by regulation,” he said.

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Supporters said there is funding available and state projects already underway to install chargers and offer residents rebates for purchasing an EV.

“By the time combustion sales are phased out, EVs will be cheaper,” Kresch said. “Nobody's taking away anybody's vehicles, you can still buy a used gasoline vehicle.”

Residents can submit written comments on this proposal until Aug. 30.

If DEEP approves these regulations, they will still need to be approved by the legislature’s Regulations Review Committee before going into effect.

Emma Wulfhorst is a political reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at ewulfhorst@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookX and Instagram.


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