Connecticut Environmental Policy Act
NEW - Generic ECD(revised effective 10/5/2010)
The purpose of the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act (CEPA) is to identify and evaluate the impacts of proposed state actions which may significantly affect the environment. This evaluation provides the decision maker with information necessary for deciding whether or not to proceed with the project. The process also provides opportunity for public review and comment.
Sections 22a-1 through 22a-1h of the General Statutes establish an environmental policy for Connecticut and a process for evaluating the environmental impacts of State agency actions. The process is further defined by Sec. 22a-la-1 through 22a-la-12 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. These regulations identify in detail the procedures for the preparation of a CEPA document by a sponsoring agency and review of that document.
Note: The CEPA regulations were originally adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection in 1972. However, because of changes made to the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act in 2002, these regulations will need to be amended. At this time, these regulations do not reflect the changes made to the Act in 2002. For instance, the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) still identified in the regulations, was removed from the statute. In those instances where the statute and the regulations conflict, the statute has precedence.
A CEPA review is required for each state agency action that could have a major impact on the state's land, water, air or other environmental resources. A CEPA review does not apply to (1) emergency measures undertaken in response to an immediate threat to public health or safety and (2) activities in which state agency participation is administrative in nature, and involves no exercise of discretion.
State agencies are required to prepare environmental classification documents (ECDs) to help determine which of its actions may significantly affect the environment. An ECD is a list of typical agency actions that may have significant environmental impacts.
Sponsoring agencies consult their Environmental Classification Document (ECD) to determine whether a CEPA study of a proposed action may be required. If an agency feels that the potential exists for significant impact, it should solicit comments from the public and other state agencies to determine whether there are any special issues or concerns regarding that project. This scoping process should be performed at a very early point in project planning to help ensure that it considers relevant environmental concerns in an adequate and timely manner.
If, after putting the proposed project through scoping, the agency determines that the potential for significant environmental impact exists, it prepares an Environmental Impact Evaluation.
The sponsoring agency circulates the EIE to OPM, DEP, CEQ, the Historical Commission, other appropriate state agencies and the Town Clerk in the community where the action will occur. The sponsoring agency publishes notice of the EIE in the Environmental Monitor and in publications of general circulation.
Any interested party may comment in writing to the sponsoring agency. The public notice period must remain open for at least 45 days but may be longer at the discretion of the sponsoring agency. The sponsoring agency may hold a public hearing if it wishes or if one is requested in accordance with statutes and regulations.
At the close of the EIE comment period, the sponsoring agency reviews all comments and prepares a response to the substantive issues raised or modifies the proposal. The agency then prepares a Record of Decision.
OPM reviews the sponsoring agency's submittal of the EIE, all comments, responses, appropriate reports, supporting documentation and the Record of Decision. It then determines the adequacy of the EIE and of the process and advises the agency of its decision.
If the document is determined to be inadequate, OPM recommends changes or requests additional information. If found to be adequate, the sponsoring agency may proceed with the project.
Environmental Monitor – This a website maintained by the Council on Environmental Quality for noticing CEPA-related project information.
Office of Legislative Research (OLR) July 30, 2004 Research Report – Overview of the CEPA process.
Office of Legislative Research (OLR) January 30, 2008 Research Report – CEPA Legislative History.
DEP CEPA Fact Sheet - Overview and summary of the CEPA process as prepared by the Department of Environmental Protection