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Sen. Blumenthal Declares "War" Against Trump's Environmental Policies

Lori Mack/WNPR
Sen. Richard Blumenthal speaks to environmental advocates

Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is anticipating what a Trump presidency could mean for efforts to stall climate change. He assembled a group of Connecticut environmental advocates in New Haven to strategize on Monday.

President-elect Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax and has vowed to dismantle policies already in place.

"This is a war," said Blumenthal. "This is a battle and we can have a game plan for two decades from now, but the fight I’m battling is in the next two weeks and the next two years."

The meeting started with talk about what’s become the new reality -- rising sea levels, storms, and damage to coastal communities. Most agreed the conversation needs to move away from fossil fuels and more toward renewable energy, education, and energy efficiency standards.

Lou Burch, Connecticut director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, is cautiously optimistic about a Trump presidency. He said campaign promises aren’t always reality.

"Certain things are not going to happen, regardless of what the president-elect tries to do during his administration," said Burch. "I feel strongly that the market, in a big way, is in control of what’s happened to the coal industry and that despite what the president-elect says, he’s not going to be bringing back the coal industry from the grave." 

Ben Martin, 350 Connecticut chair, said demonstrations can get the point across effectively, giving Trump credit for his response to crowds.

"He realizes what the people that he’s talking to want, so we have to have people out in the streets showing him that we oppose the things that he has promised people in the fossil fuel industries," said Martin.

While Blumenthal agreed that crowds will be key, he said it’s important for people to be for things, not just against them.

Environmental advocates focused on climate and policy issues facing New England and suggested changes on the federal level including additional energy tax credits, workforce training, and enhanced oversight of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.

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