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U.S. EPA to Honor Connecticut Climate Change Leadership

Groupís pioneering work will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named the state of Connecticut's Governor's Steering Committee on Climate Change as a recipient of one of its 2005 Annual Climate Protection Awards. The awards honor extraordinary accomplishments of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to protecting the environment.

The Governor's Steering Committee on Climate Change was selected for the award because of its groundbreaking work in developing a plan for reducing Connecticut's emission of greenhouse gases, pollutants that contribute to climate change. Reducing fossil fuel consumption through increased use of energy from clean sources is a major component of the plan.

The steering committee, which was appointed in 2003, consisted of the chairman of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF), commissioners of the Departments of Environmental Protection, Administrative Services, Public Utility Control and Transportation; and the undersecretary of the Office of Policy and Management.

Over two years, the group spearheaded an innovative, comprehensive process involving stakeholders from the public, private, nonprofit and academic sectors. Their work resulted in Connecticut Climate Change Action Plan 2005. In February, this plan received endorsement from the Environment, Transportation, Commerce, and Energy & Technology committees of the Connecticut General Assembly. The plan consists of 55 recommendations whose implementation will enable Connecticut to meet its 2010 and 2020 goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Connecticut is proud to receive this honor on behalf of the many individuals in particular the staff and organizations who worked so hard to develop this comprehensive climate action plan," said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Gina McCarthy, Chair of the Governor's Steering on Climate Change. "The award is a testament to Connecticut's leadership and commitment in efforts to reduce harmful pollution, improve energy efficiency and reliability, strengthen our economy and improve the overall quality of life."

"Taking a leadership role in addressing climate change was a logical step for the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund," says Bryan Garcia, the fund's director of energy market initiatives, who worked closely with the group. "As an organization charged with stimulating the production and use of clean energy in the state, CCEF is keenly aware that a sound strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions must involve replacing energy from fossil fuels with energy from clean and renewable sources such as solar, wind, water, biomass and fuel cells."

The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund provided more than half of the $575,000 required to launch and carry out Connecticut's climate change initiative. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation provided the remainder. CCEF was also responsible for chairing the Governor's Steering Committee and leading and coordinating its numerous activities and working groups.

The Climate Protection Award will be presented at a ceremony on May 4 in Washington, D.C. Representatives of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection will accept the award on behalf of the Governor's Steering Committee.