ALEXANDRIA, Va—An emissions bill by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) would fuel higher gasoline, home heating oil and transportation costs for residents, according to Connecticut fuel retailers, truckers and home heating companies, the Inside Investigator reports.
“The Connecticut legislature is advancing a bill that will place a fourth tax on gasoline, new taxes on diesel fuel and a first-time-ever tax on heating fuel along with every fuel used in this state,” said Chris Herb, president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association (CEMA). The group represents both gasoline retailers and home heating oil companies. “When gasoline prices spiked last year, the legislature suspended the excise tax to provide relief to motorists, and now they’re on the verge of contradicting themselves as they consider legislation that will significantly increase fuel prices across the board.”
The General Assembly Environment Committee approved the bill earlier this year, and now it’s before the state senate as Senate Bill 1145, which would give the DEEP commissioner authority to sign interstate agreements designed to reduce the state’s emissions. “It’s going to increase costs for everybody in Connecticut, especially those who fuel their vehicles, heat their homes, really do anything,” said Peter Brennan, executive director of the New England Convenience Store & Energy Marketers Association (NECSEMA).
“This is a horribly regressive policy. These taxes don’t impact the wealthiest in the state, these taxes impact those who can barely … drive their kids to practice and put food on the table every day,” Brennan said.
While the bill doesn’t specify taxes on gasoline or home heating oil, the groups expressed concern over giving the DEEP commissioner power to agree to interstate compacts, which could lead to future higher fuel prices. The commissioner would also have the authority to levy fines on those who don’t meet lower emission goals. Currently, Connecticut follows California’s emissions policy for passenger vehicles and medium and heavy-duty trucks.
“Senate Bill 1145 would allow the largest transfer of power from the legislative branch to the commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection by allowing her to enter into tax agreements with other states and Canadian provinces,” Herb said. “To put that in perspective, not even the governor has that power.”