About the CEQ
Activities of the CEQ in 2018
Research and Reports
The Council published the state's annual environmental quality report in May, 2018. The Council continued to develop new indicators of ecological health for the report by adding a new indicator for invasive insects. The presence and spread of Asian Tiger Mosquito was included in the 2017 annual report. This year, the Emerald Ash Borer’s expanding presence in Connecticut was added to the report. The inclusion of biological indicators requires considerable care in the selection of appropriate species, and the Council is grateful for the advice it received from experts.
Residents brought several deficiencies in current laws and policies to the Council's attention. Foremost among these was the controversial proposal to expand a commercial quarrying operation onto existing Class I and Class II protected public reservoir property.
The Connecticut General Assembly directed the Council to consult with the Water Planning Council regarding an environmental study of the City of New Britain's proposal to allow the expansion of a surface mining operation into a drinking water supply watershed. The Council reviewed the proposal for the study and after a series of meetings with the city's consultants, approved a plan for a more thorough and comprehensive study than what had been described in previous documents. The Council also was required to review the final report, which was submitted to the Council in February 2018. The Council's final comments were submitted to the City of New Britain in May 2018.
As 2018 began, the Council discussed the public trust in natural resources after citizens told the Council that the matter had become controversial following its insertion into the draft State Water Plan. The Council published Connecticut Residents and the Public Trust in Air, Water, Wildlife and Other Resources in March 2018 to help guide public discussion of the issue.
Advice to Other Agencies
Council staff reviewed two Environmental Impact Evaluations and twenty three scoping notices prepared by other agencies, and submitted comments when deemed appropriate. The Council also reviewed fifteen applications or petitions submitted to the Connecticut Siting Council to assess possible environmental concerns that could require comments.
A new category was created in the Council's publication, Environmental Monitor, to better inform the public regarding the status of State projects with possible environmental impacts. A "Post-EIE Project Cancellation" notice was added to inform when a project was dropped from active status by a State agency.
In response to a complaint from a citizen group regarding delays in obtaining environmental evaluations from state contractors, the Council communicated directly with the agency to request a modification of its notice on how to obtain those documents. The Council has subsequently included notice in each edition of the Environmental Monitor specific instructions that environmental documents be obtained from the sponsoring agency and not from the consultants who are doing the work.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) released draft regulations for the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act. These were reviewed by the Council and extensive, detailed comments were submitted to DEEP to consider in its regulation review process.
Citizen Concerns and Complaints
State law directs the Council to investigate citizen complaints alleging violation of any statute or regulation in respect to environmental quality. In every month but three, representatives of citizen groups came to Council meetings to express their concern and perspective on matters of environmental consequence. The Council receives many inquiries regarding routine matters that are addressed by providing the person who inquired with the correct person or agency to handle the matter. In 2018, fourteen inquiries were received that were not routine and required some investigation by Council staff or advocacy by staff on behalf of the citizen.
At its regular monthly meetings, the Council heard from many people and organizations including the New Britain Water Department and its consultants, the Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, Keep the Woods, and Friends of Pachaug Forest.
The Council on Environmental Quality was created by the legislature forty-seven years ago.