ANNUAL ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT: DATA SHOW THAT CONNECTICUT NEEDS TO STEP UP
HARTFORD – The Council on Environmental Quality released its annual report on the state’s environment today, and said it illustrates three facts about Connecticut:
·Air and water continue to show gradual long-term improvement,
·Connecticut hit a bump in the road in 2005, when air quality declined and most other indicators showed decline or no change, and
·Certain stubborn problems will require a renewed effort.
“Once again, it is our landscape that stands out as the resource in greatest need of attention,” explained Council Chairman Thomas Harrison of Avon. “Our forests are shrinking, and the state’s goals for natural land and farmland preservation are not being met.”
Harrison said he was encouraged by developments such as the Department of Environmental Protection’s Landscape Stewardship Initiative and the recent formation of groups such as the 1000 Friends of Connecticut. But he pointed to two recent reports, one on birds and one on trout, that describe how sprawling development is taking its toll on Connecticut’s environment. “We must work to preserve the landscape right now and for many years to come,” Harrison said.
In addition to land, Harrison pointed to recycling and overall compliance with environmental laws as two “leading environmental indicators” that have not improved significantly in recent years. “We failed to meet the goal for recycling statewide, and that has had real consequences for the environment,” Harrison said.
Harrison noted some positive trends. The nesting bald eagle population reached ten pairs for the first time in decades. Two trends in new cancer cases – breast cancer and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – showed improvement for the first time, though the most recent available data are from 2002. And inland wetland conservation improved, though the data only go up to 2004.
“The common thread among these improvements is that each is the result of actions or decisions that were made years or even decades ago,” Harrison concluded. “There is often a long delay before the consequences, good or bad, of government’s actions show up in the environment. This makes it imperative that we do not allow ourselves any further delays in our efforts to conserve land and improve our air and water.”
Copies of the report are available for free from the Council on Environmental Quality at 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106, and is on the Council’s web site at www.ct.gov/ceq.
The Council is a state agency, independent of the Department of Environmental Protection, that reports on the status of Connecticut’s environment. Its nine members, who serve without compensation, are appointed by the governor and legislative leaders.