HARTFORD, CT – Today, state Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) announced the formation of the bipartisan Coastal Caucus. Sen. Cohen, who is co-chair of the Environment Committee, will co-chair the Coastal Caucus with state Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield). The Senator said the creation of this caucus coincides with the Governor's Executive Order announced at today's climate forum. It will facilitate collaboration between the Executive and Legislative branches, as well as between legislators most impacted by issues along Connecticut's coastline.
“With the myriad of matters presented by sea-level rise and our changing environment, it is imperative we do all we can to protect our coastline for our state’s residents, environment and economy,” said Sen. Cohen. “The formation of this Coastal Caucus is a useful tool in ensuring the well-being of Connecticut's shoreline communities. I am confident the legislature, together with the Executive branch and environmental agencies and advocates, can devise creative and effective methods to shore up coastal resiliency and provide for a sustainable future."
Rep. McCarthy Vahey said she is excited to join the caucus in a leadership role. She said taking on climate change will ensure the overall health of Coastal Connecticut.
“I look forward to joining Sen. Cohen and legislators from both chambers and both sides of the aisle to address one of the most urgent and pressing needs of our era, climate change,” said Rep. McCarthy Vahey. “Governor Lamont’s leadership and recognition of the crucial role we play as policy makers in creating resilient, prepared communities will result in effective solutions. Coastal Connecticut is at risk and we must work together to take bold steps that will assure the long term health and safety of the people of our state.”
The Coastal Caucus will address the state’s unique needs in regards to our proximity to the Long Island Sound and other waterways. From tackling how climate is impacting sea-level rise, to delving into coastal resilience, finding ways to end offshore energy and waste contamination, and dealing with the unique needs of aquaculture, fisheries and marine wildlife, the Coastal Caucus aims to properly address these items and more. The Coastal Caucus plans to hold an informational session with the Connecticut Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation in late September or early October with subsequent meetings with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and other environmental agencies in order to educate itself on pertinent issues and how best to tackle climate action.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been invited to participate in the caucus. Invitations were sent out following an environmental forum with Governor Ned Lamont, Connecticut DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes, Sen. Cohen and other state legislators. At the press conference, Gov. Lamont announced an executive action regarding climate action.