State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) has been named an Environmental Champion by the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) for the sixth consecutive year. Of the 16 legislators to receive the recognition this year, she was commended for her leadership on issues related to electric vehicles and bottle recycling during the 2017 legislative session.
The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters is a bipartisan, statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Connecticut’s environment by making it a priority for elected officials. CTLCV works with the state’s environmental advocacy groups to identify, highlight, and track important bills that affect Connecticut’s natural resources, including air, water, wildlife, open space, and health. Following each legislative session, it recognizes a number of lawmakers for their leadership on environmental issues by naming them Environmental Champions.
“Because our state’s historic fiscal crisis and the failure to pass a state budget into law have dominated the conversation this year in the General Assembly, many critical environmental issues did not receive the attention they deserved, which is why I am especially honored to maintain the distinction of Environmental Champion this year,” Lavielle says. “Although passing a responsible state budget is the most urgent matter we have, environmental stewardship is essential not only to preserving Connecticut’s unique character and landscape, but also to its quality of life and economic viability. Because I firmly believe that conservation of natural resources goes hand in hand with conservation of financial resources, I consider environmental stewardship an important component of fiscal responsibility, an objective that should underpin everything we do in the General Assembly. It must not be ignored and I thank the CTLCV for keeping legislators focused on these issues.”
During the 2017 legislative session, Lavielle supported legislation aimed at securing dealer licenses for electric vehicle manufacturers in Connecticut. She also helped defeat an effort to dismantle the state’s landmark recycling law, succeeding in retaining Connecticut’s bottle deposit refund program. In addition to her efforts in these areas, Lavielle was a vocal supporter and co-sponsor of a constitutional amendment resolution protecting state conservation lands. She also supported legislation designed to improve the DOT’s management of tree removal on state highways, as well as successful efforts to ban the disposal of fracking waste in Connecticut and to improve access to water planning data.
“Facilitating the sale of electric vehicles in our state and encouraging bottle recycling are two good examples of issues that have the dual effect of both protecting our environment and saving our state money in the midst of a financial crisis, and can even potentially spur more economic growth here,” says Lavielle. “Instead of repealing our state’s bottle bill, we can modernize and expand the program to make it more cost-efficient. Electric vehicles, in addition to helping to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, provide consumers with access to a choice that they have been asking for. Conserving our natural resources and encouraging business development do not need to be competing issues and I will continue to work for a harmonious implementation of these two priorities.”
According to CTLCV executive director Lori Brown, “Gail Lavielle has an in-depth understanding of complex environmental issues. She is a strong voice in the State House of Representatives that we can count on to push for legislation that protects our land, air and water. More of our elected leaders should be working as hard as Gail in fighting for our environmental future.”
State Representative Gail Lavielle represents the 143rd district, which includes parts of Norwalk, Westport, and Wilton. She is the Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee and a member of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee and the Transportation Committee.