Employees of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are charged with conserving, improving and protecting the natural resources and environment of the State of Connecticut in such a manner as to encourage the social and economic development of Connecticut. As stewards of the environment and, often times, regulators of businesses throughout the state, the judgments of employees of the Department must be beyond reproach. For this reason, Department employees are held to high ethical standards proscribed by the Code of Ethics for Public Officials and State Employees. See Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 1-79 through 1-89.
Department employees are engaged with private sector individuals and corporate entities in regulation, monitoring, inspection and enforcement, often in the course of the permitting or licensing process. While engaging in work-related activities, Department employees may not use their position or office for any personal financial gain. For this reason, the Code of Ethics prohibits, with limited exceptions:
- The acceptance of gifts from lobbyists, anyone seeking or doing business with or seeking or receiving grants from the Department, or anyone involved in a permit or regulatory proceeding with the Department;
- Solicitation or acceptance of anything of value with the understanding that professional judgments will be altered;
- Acceptance of outside employment that will create a conflict of interest with Department duties or impair the independent judgment required to perform those duties; and
- Using information gained while in the public trust for the financial benefit of the employee, their relatives, or any business associated with the employee or their relatives.
The Department protects the character and legacy of lands and resources belonging to the citizens of the State of Connecticut. To ensure that the Department is an effective steward of the resources it protects, there must be no actual conflict of interest or any appearance of impropriety in its work or interaction with citizens, businesses, or any other regulated groups. The Department is committed to ensuring the impartiality of the permit process, maintaining the fairness of regulations, and avoiding conflicts of interest that would undermine the effective stewardship of Connecticut’s natural resources.