Release-Based Cleanup Legislative Authorization & Background

During the 2019 legislative session, changes to the Property Transfer Act, the state’s flagship cleanup program, were enacted through Public Act No. 19-75.  This Public Act also convened a Transfer Act Working Group to develop recommendations regarding further legislative changes to the Transfer Act.  The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) met with the Transfer Act Working Group from the summer of 2019 through January of 2020.  During this time, DEEP and DECD heard from a variety of stakeholders about the negative economic implications of the Transfer Act.

As an outgrowth of the discussions of the Transfer Act Working Group, DECD and DEEP proposed to legislative leaders of the Commerce and Environment Committees a sunset to the Transfer Act and a new, release-based cleanup program authorization.  The Legislature had public hearings on two bills – Senate Bill No. 281 (changes to the Transfer Act) and Senate Bill No. 293 (release-based authorization).  DEEP and DECD discussed these proposals with stakeholders in the first quarter of 2020 and received significant public feedback. 

COVID-19 halted public discussions on these two bills and curtailed the full deliberation of these proposals during the 2020 legislative session.  However, DEEP and DECD continued to work to refine the proposal raised through Senate Bill No. 293.  The 2020 September Special Session again raised the concepts proposed in the regular session earlier in the year and combined both proposals into House Bill No. 7001, which was passed and signed into law as Public Act No. 20-9 of the September Special Session.

Public Act No. 20-9 enacted changes to the Transfer Act with immediate effect.  Many believe that these changes will bring immediate economic benefit to the state that are especially needed during the state’s economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19.  In addition, the Public Act authorizes DEEP to draft regulations that once adopted will create a new, release-based cleanup program.  The Public Act provides the contours and backbone of the release-based cleanup program and relies heavily on regulations to deliver the details.  In addition and in consideration of the importance of this change, which will align the state’s cleanup program with the system used by 48 other states, the Public Act prescribes that DECD and DEEP shall co-convene a working group to provide advice and feedback for regulations to be adopted for the released-based program.  This engagement is above and beyond other stakeholder engagement and communication that is planned.   

These legislative acts are the continuation of the discussions fostered through the Comprehensive Evaluation and Transformation process to reform Connecticut's cleanup program that began in January 2011.  Over the course of this transformation process, DEEP has been working with stakeholders in an iterative manner (see Transformation Materials).  Feedback from stakeholders has been a critical component to crafting and adopting appropriate legislative and regulatory changes.  DEEP continued this process to develop the proposed draft regulations addressing the RSR Revision Concepts ("Wave 2").

Release-Based Clean Up Program Regulation Development

Content Last Updated November 17, 2020