December 23, 2010

Contact:    Karl Wagener, Executive Director



CEQ Hails Completion of First “Free Acquisition” of Open

Space Resulting From 2007 Law

Thirteen Acres of Norwich Hospital Property in Norwich go to DEP

   HARTFORD    The state Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) today commended the actions of individual citizens and two state agencies that resulted in the permanent conservation of 13 acres of the former Norwich State Hospital property in Norwich.

   The December 21, 2010 edition of the Environmental Monitor includes a letter from Brenda L. Sisco, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, to Commissioner of Environmental Protection Amey Marrella confirming that the Department of Environmental Protection would retain permanent custody and control of about 13 acres of wooded land near the Thames River.

   CEQ Chair Barbara C. Wagner explained that the land is part of the Norwich State Hospital property that originally was listed in the Environmental Monitor in February, 2010 as being proposed for transfer out of state ownership. Under a state law recommended by the CEQ in 2006 and adopted in 2007, such transfers must be published in the Environmental Monitor for public review and comment.

   “In response to the original notice,” Wagner continued, “citizens submitted some very thoughtful comments as to why undeveloped portions of this land should be preserved for conservation purposes. The DEP agreed with their reasoning and requested custody of the wooded land near the Thames River. OPM concurred, and the land will now be preserved as open space.”

   “With this action,” Wagner concluded, “the state has moved closer to its open space protection goals at virtually no cost. We are hopeful that there will be more such actions.”

   The Council on Environmental Quality is the state agency that publishes the state’s official reports on the status of Connecticut’s environment. It also publishes the Environment Monitor, which includes public notices of proposals to transfer state lands out of state ownership.