January 28, 2014
Contact: Karl Wagener
Link to Recommendations for Legislation:
STATE COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY:
MAINTAIN THE FOUNDATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRESS,
AND IMPROVE LAWS FOR STATE LANDS, OUTDOOR WOOD FURNACES, SEWAGE REPORTING AND OTHERS.
HARTFORD – The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released its recommendations for legislation on Tuesday, highlighting the need to maintain the "foundation" of environmental progress in Connecticut: major capital programs that include the Clean Water Fund and preservation of agricultural land and open space. They also include proposals to improve the laws and procedures governing the transfer or exchange of state parks and forests, as discussed in the Council's recent report, "Preserved But Maybe Not."
The CEQ’s recommendations can be found on the CEQ’s website.
Council Chair Susan Merrow explained, “Half of this year's recommendations were derived from our review of state environment trends, as reported in our annual report on the state's environment.”
“The CEQ also investigates citizen complaints,” Merrow continued, “and often discovers that existing laws have gaps, some major, some small. The other half of our recommendations are aimed at closing those gaps so that citizens can get relief from the problems they have discovered."
Recommendations that arose from citizen complaints include more enforcement powers for law enforcement agencies to rein in illegal All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use, maintaining effective laws governing the construction of Outdoor Wood-Burning Furnaces, and better notification when telecommunications towers are proposed.
The CEQ published its draft recommendations in December and invited the public to comment on them at a public forum at the Legislative Office Building. "We received an unprecedented volume of comments and suggestions from the public," continued Merrow, "and as a direct result we added some recommendations, including one to prohibit planting certain species of problematic bamboo."
Another recommendation that arose from a Council investigation is to levy substantial penalties for companies that operate alternative sewage treatment systems (sometimes called package treatment plants) but fail to report their mandatory testing results. Many companies fail to report their test results, according to the Council.
About the Council on Environmental Quality
The Council on Environmental Quality is required by state law (CGS Section 22a-12) to submit the state’s annual report on the status of Connecticut’s environment to the Governor and to recommend legislation for correcting deficiencies in environmental laws. Additional responsibilities of the Council include review of construction projects and environmental impact evaluations of other state agencies, publication of the twice-monthly Environmental Monitor, and investigation of citizens’ complaints and allegations of violations of environmental laws. The Council is a nine-member board that is independent of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (except for administrative functions). The chairman and four other members are appointed by the Governor, two members by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and two by the Speaker of the House.
All reports and recommendations are available on the Council’s website, www.ct.gov/ceq