Holding colorful picket signs, wearing shirts reading “Frack No” and doing lots of chanting, protesters made their way from the headquarters of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in Hartford to the steps of the state Capitol Wednesday afternoon.
As she marched, Ann Gadwah, chapter chair of Sierra Club Connecticut, said she’s optimistic.
“I feel very hopeful going into this session,” Gadwah said. “I feel like people are starting to wake up a little to the climate crisis -- and really wanting to address it. And now’s the time.”
The afternoon protest came as Gov. Ned Lamont delivered his State of the State address to legislators.
Protesters called for greater action on climate change and expressed opposition to a natural gas plant in Killingly that has been approved but not yet built.
“Why isn’t Connecticut, which is a progressive state, tackling climate change as the crisis that it is?” 16-year-old climate change activist Sena Wazer asked the group of a few dozen protesters. “We know what is happening. And yet the political courage to start enacting the change[s] that we know are necessary, that piece is lacking.”
Inside the Capitol, Lamont promoted his environmental record to state officials, including recent progress on an offshore wind project. That bid, proposed by developer Vineyard Wind, is slated to redevelop port facilities in Bridgeport Harbor and come online in 2025.
“We made the largest purchase of wind power in our state’s history, at the nation’s lowest prices on record,” Lamont said. “See what that means for ports like New London and Bridgeport. We are jump-starting those cities with the creation of thousands of new green jobs.”
Lamont also said Connecticut “will continue to take the lead in New England and set a firm timeline for a carbon free, energy efficient future.”
In a list of legislative priorities, Lamont said he’d like to see a zero-carbon electric grid by 2040 and said he’ll ask state officials to review whether Connecticut should adopt California’s stricter tailpipe emission standards for certain new vehicles.