State Rep. Tony Scott (R-112) was among the panelists at a conversation held Oct. 26 at Easton Library by the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. Other panelists included Rep. Anne Hughes (D-135) and Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28). The three legislators discussed measures passed during the 2023 General Assembly session and took questions from the audience.
“It was great to talk with community members about the issues important to them,” said Scott. “We have great pollinator pathways, reservoirs, and farmland in the district, and it’s important for each person to do their part to keep them pristine. I’m looking forward to continuing these conversations in the new session.”
During the 2023 legislative session, Scott supported a bill to establish an account to provide grants to towns that need PFAS testing and remediation. These “forever” chemicals are in common household products, like non-stick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics. They are highly toxic substances that don’t break down in the environment, often ending up in waterways. Scott also supported a bill to study the Department of Transportation’s tree cutting and vegetation management practices. A related bill Scott supported adds a requirement that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection submit an annual report to the legislature about hazardous trees removed from DEEP-controlled properties, such as state parks.
A few bills passed in the recently completed session dealt with protecting the habitats of various animals, including creation of a working group about eel grass restoration, prohibiting the hand-harvesting of horseshoe crabs from Connecticut waters and shorelines, and establishing a seabird and shorebird protection program, among others. Scott highlighted a bill requiring state buildings to turn off unnecessary outdoor lighting at night.
“We’ve seen light pollution from buildings have a devastating impact on migrating birds,” said Scott. “While we shouldn’t tell private building owners what to do, we as a state can lead by example. This will also save on energy, which is a bonus.”
One of the proposals this session, which ended up as a study rather than immediate action, is to designate a fair share number of affordable housing each municipality is required to have.
“Easton doesn’t have the land to be able to add the percentage of new housing units that would potentially be required, in part because of all the designated wetlands in town,” said Scott. “I’m concerned about overdevelopment and the impact it would have on the reservoir system, as well as the many similar towns in the surrounding area, along with Bridgeport.”
The discussion also included the proposed phasing out of gas-powered vehicles by 2035. Scott noted that he himself drives an all-electric vehicle.
“This was the right decision for my family, but it might not be the right option for all Connecticut residents.” said Scott. “We have to look at what role the state has in this transition to EVs. I also have concerns with the state’s plans for building out infrastructure to support an influx in EVs in just 11 years. We currently have grid capacity issues that need to be resolved.”
Scott represents the 112th district, which includes all of Monroe, about half of Easton and a portion of Trumbull.