Connecticut Public Law 21–115: An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation
On July 6, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Law 21–115: An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation to increase local resilience planning options, legal authorities, and financing for adaptation and resilience projects. The main components of this law authorize the creation of municipal stormwater authorities, and increase the authority of municipal flood prevention and climate resilience boards and their ability to collect and raise funds for climate resilience projects. In addition, the law expands the scope of the state’s "green bank," the Connecticut Green Bank, beyond clean energy to adaptation- and resilience-related projects, with an emphasis on prioritizing financing for frontline communities.
First, the law authorizes the establishment of municipal stormwater authorities. Municipal stormwater authorities will be charged with developing stormwater management programs to monitor and address flooding and stormwater pollution, establishing public outreach and education about stormwater management activities, and making recommendations to municipal legislative bodies about potential property taxes that can function as a source of revenue to finance green infrastructure and resiliency investments undertaken or managed by said authorities.
The law also expands the purview of municipal flood and erosion control boards to include flood prevention and climate resilience among their responsibilities. These boards would be renamed “flood prevention, climate resilience, and erosion control boards.”
Finally, this law expands the scope of the Connecticut Green Bank — the state’s green bank — which was established in 2011 to invest in clean energy projects.1 This law, however, creates an Environmental Infrastructure Fund to invest in a larger range of environmental projects such as “water, waste and recycling, climate adaptation and resilience, agriculture, land conservation, parks and recreation, and environmental markets,” in addition to clean energy sources. This fund may be used to leverage state and federal funding for infrastructure and climate adaptation. This new authority is noteworthy because it will enable a state infrastructure bank to make investments in climate adaptation and resilience, in addition to more common or traditional purposes for clean energy and hard infrastructure.
Across all of these provisions, the state places an emphasis on using these new authorities and funding opportunities to benefit frontline communities in Connecticut, which are disproportionately being impacted by climate change. For example, the law calls for prioritized financing for adaptation and resilience projects areas in which there has been historical underinvestment.
Publication Date: July 6, 2021
- State of Connecticut
- Funding program
1. "Established by the Connecticut General Assembly in July 2011, the Connecticut Green Bank supports the Governor’s and Legislature’s energy strategy to achieve cleaner, less expensive, and more reliable sources of energy while creating jobs and supporting local economic development. . . . A green bank is an entity that accelerates the deployment of clean energy using limited public dollars to attract private capital investment in clean energy projects. In doing so, it makes clean energy more affordable and accessible to consumers." Ct. Green Bank, https://www.ctgreenbank.com/about-us-2019/ (last visited Aug. 11, 2021).