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Connecticut News

Climate activists promote new Connecticut job creation law

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A Connecticut climate advocacy group believes a law it helped pass this summer will help strengthen the labor movement and address climate change. This comes as advocates struggle to get the state to join the Transportation and Climate Initiative, which could fund more green energy projects.

Aziz Dehkan, the executive director of the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, said without the law, there would be no guarantee the green jobs in Connecticut would be well-paying.

“It creates a path forward, and for not just the workers but the unions themselves,” Dehkan said.

Dehkan’s group said the law was prompted by a large solar project in East Windsor. The group pushed to employ local, union workers rather than out-of-state or low-wage workers. The law will help to create jobs that pay family sustaining wages and increase training opportunities for marginalized residents.

Dehkan said the legislation will ensure no communities will be left behind as Connecticut spends money to fight climate change.

“If we build enough projects and have enough projects out there, those jobs will come,” Dehkan said.

The organization has been working with Vineyard Wind, a major offshore wind developer that has its Connecticut headquarters in Bridgeport, to make sure they hire local workers. He said the labor standards set by the law will help the state meet its goal of zero carbon emissions in coming decades.

Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs is also in the early stages of a campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by installing solar panels, upgrading lights and insulating Bridgeport city schools.

Dehkan said Bridgeport spends around $5 million annually on energy. He wants to convince the school board to use federal pandemic relief funds to improve energy efficiency.