Pulling Back on the EV Mandate?

Democratic Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is withdrawing his plan to mandate future EV purchases after the proposal received bipartisan pushback from lawmakers on a key legislative panel. He pulled the proposal only four months after announcing it, claiming it was “decisive action to meet our climate pollution reduction targets.” The proposal tethered Connecticut’s emission standards to match California’s, mandating that every passenger vehicle sold is electric by 2035.

Connecticut Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said, “The Governor’s decision to withdraw the regulations is a reasoned approach to address the growing concerns raised by working and middle-class families. Adopting California emission standards which ban the sale of gas-powered cars is a substantial policy shift which must be decided by the General Assembly.”

What are the odds other states will follow? Given the uncertainty of the capacity of the electric grid, the cost and location of grid improvements, and the negative impact on urban, rural, and working low-income families, Kelly explained that more than 90% of pollution comes from outside Connecticut’s control.

The GOP minority leader and other Republicans on the panel led opposition to the proposed EV mandate. After Democrats on the committee voiced concerns with the regulations, Lamont ultimately pulled the proposal.

Under Lamont’s proposal, 75% of trucks and buses would need to be electric by 2035. The passenger car mandate was enabled by a bill passed by the Connecticut legislature in 2003 that ties the state’s clean air rules to California’s program. The latter mandate impacting trucks and buses was enabled by the 2022 Connecticut Clean Air Act.

Last year, the EPA reinstated California’s authority under the Clean Air Act to implement its own emission standards and electric vehicle sales mandates. The state approved its 2035 mandate, and New Mexico and New Jersey have followed.

Pulling the proposal represents a setback for the EV industry. It’s an unexpected blow to environmentalists who have advocated for such mandates nationwide. “The Committee’s failure to advance these regulations aligns Connecticut’s environmental policy with that of Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia rather than Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and the dozen other states we’ve been proud to call our clean air partners,” Charles Rothenberger, climate and energy attorney with Connecticut-based Save the Sound, told Fox News Digital.

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