Gov. Malloy, AG Jepsen & President Herbst Statements on Plea
Agreement in Matter Involving DEEP and Unilever
Portion of Funds Being Directed for New Institute of Community Resiliency
Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen and UConn President Susan Herbst released the following statements today following approval of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorneys’ Office and Conopco, Inc. (better known as Unilever) in a matter involving Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
Under the agreement, Conopco was directed to provide, among other requirements, $2.5 million in funding for the new Institute for Community Resiliency and Climate Adaptation at UConn. Creation of the Institute was envisioned in Special Act 13-9.
Comment of Governor Malloy:
“This court action provides funding that will help bring to life our vision for an Institute that supports Connecticut residents and communities in addressing the very real threats posed by severe weather. Working together with the General Assembly last session we created a framework for an Institute at UConn – that was the first step. The resources made available by the court take us to step two and will help move us beyond planning and study to the real work of the Institute.
“The people of our state suffered greatly as a result of Hurricane Irene and Storm Sandy and unfortunately the outlook ahead is for even more extreme weather events as a result of changes in the climate being predicted by experts. Those events, and the continued rising of sea levels caused by the climate warming, mean that lives, property, and infrastructure are at increasing risk from strong winds, tidal surges, and flooding.
“It is the mission of the Institute for Community Resiliency and Climate Adaptation to help us mitigate the risks posed by the changing climate. We will look to the Institute to provide the people and communities along our coast and inland floodplains with the research and information needed to better predict their vulnerability and to develop and undertake steps toward greater resiliency.
“The Institute is a strong partnership between UConn and Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, bringing together the world-class research capabilities and knowledge of several schools at UConn with the policy making and practical regulatory experience of DEEP.
“There is still much more that needs to be done to formally launch the Institute, set its direction, and secure adequate funding for the research projects and other services it will undertake. But, today’s news is a great boost toward making it all happen. It’s good news for the new Institute, it’s good news for Connecticut’s residents and businesses, and certainly gets us going in the right direction.”
Comment of Attorney General Jepsen:
“In addition to today’s federal plea, the state intends to enter into a settlement with Unilever that resolves several incidents in which the company violated its DEEP wastewater discharge permit. The state filed suit against Unilever in 2009, and amended its complaint in 2012, alleging discharge of thousands of gallons of untreated wastewater over the course of several years.
“The state’s settlement includes $100,000 in civil penalties, to be satisfied by payment of the Supplemental Environmental Project funds specified under the company’s plea agreement with the U.S. Attorneys' Office. In addition to the $2.5 million for the Connecticut Resiliency and Climate Adaptation Center, $500,000 will fund various environmentally beneficial projects in the Town of Clinton and $500,000 will be used to design and construct a fishway at the Chapman Mill Pond in Clinton.
“The state’s settlement also requires Unilever to set forth and implement a strict plan for appropriate clean-up of the former industrial site at John Street in Clinton, subject to approval by Commissioner Esty. The settlement includes a permanent injunction requiring Unilever comply with the water pollution control statutes and regulations at the site.
“This injunction will ensure that Unilever complies with state environmental law in cleaning up its former industrial site in Clinton. Individuals or businesses that violate our laws may endanger public health and safety and the environment. Violations of this nature are not acceptable. I’m pleased that this agreement will require Unilever to safely close its facility and to fund various environmentally beneficial projects that will promote smart growth, energy efficiency and brownfield redevelopment.”
Comment of UConn President Herbst:
“This allocation of funding to launch the center is truly appreciated, and reflects our shared view of Connecticut’s shoreline and its communities as precious resources that are integral to our state’s quality of life, economic vibrancy, and environmental stewardship. We look forward to collaborating closely with DEEP, and to leveraging UConn’s research in the natural sciences, public policy, civil and environmental engineering, and several other disciplines in service of such a valuable undertaking.
“UConn is grateful to the Connecticut General Assembly and Governor Malloy for their vision in creating the center during their last legislative session, and to Connecticut residents for their support for the important research being done at Avery Point and all of our campuses.”
Office of the Governor:
Office of the Attorney General:
Jaclyn M. Falkowski
University of Connecticut:
Facebook: Attorney General George Jepsen