Recommendations for Modernizing the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act (CEPA)

The Council on Environmental has been urging other agencies to prepare more concise and less expensive environmental impact evaluations, with some success (see below). The Council also has been recommending sweeping updates to the relevant regulations. Below are examples of the Council's efforts. Additional documents will be added in the coming months.

On December 20, 2013, the Council wrote to Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection Daniel Esty with recommendations to evaluate five specific obsolete regulations. (This recommendation relates to Executive Order 37, which directs each agency to review regulations that are outdated, ineffective and/or burdensome.) One of the five recommended for review by the Council is the CEPA regulations, which have not been updated in 35 years.


On April 18, 2013, the Council submitted comments to the Connecticut Board of Regents regarding its Environmental Impact Evaluation (EIE) for the Eastern Connecticut State University Master Plan. The comments commend the Board of Regents for preparing an unusually concise and readable EIE as intended (and required) by CEPA regulations.


On December 28, 2012, the Council wrote letters to the University of Connecticut (UConn) and the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to recommend an improvement to the implementation of CEPA: When an agency publishes an Environmental Impact Evaluation and receives comments during the public comment period, it should post those comments on its website when they are received.


During 2011, the Council investigated a citizen inquiry regarding the need for state government to prepare an Environmental Impact Evaluation before issuing a grant for a new boat launch facility. The grant was administered by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), which in its ECD (see above) listed a new boat launch facility as the type of project for which an evaluation should be conducted. The Council wrote to DEEP to advise it of its responsibilities under CEPA, but DEEP declined to conduct an impact evaluation. The Council concluded that this case highlights the need for state agencies to adopt concise and inexpensive impact evaluations so that those agencies will embrace their responsibilities under CEPA and not seek to avoid them.
Read the Council's letter to the citizen (November 16, 2011) (PDF, 86KB)


In March 2010, OPM published a new notice in the Environmental Monitor regarding the proposed revisions to the generic ECD, with some changes from the 2009 proposal. The Council submitted comments that, again, recommended updating the regulations first.
Read the comments (May 5, 2010) (PDF, 87KB)


In July 2009, the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) published a notice in the Environmental Monitor regarding proposed revisions to the generic environmental classification document (ECD), and solicited public comment. The generic ECD helps state agencies determine which of their projects will require an environmental impact evaluation. The Council on Environmental Quality submitted comments that recommend modernizing CEPA regulations first, and discussed this recommendation in a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection. These documents are part of the Council's ongoing efforts aimed at the twin goals of 1) reducing the time and money agencies spend on environmental impact evaluations and 2) maximizing public notice.
Read the comments (July 29, 2009) (PDF, 94KB)
Read the letter (July 29, 2009) (PDF, 61KB)