2023 CEQ Annual Report

About the Council

Council Duties               Council Members               Acknowledgments

Activities of the Council in 2023

Research and Reports

The Council published the 2022 Environmental Quality in Connecticut annual report in May 2023. In this year’s annual report, the Council included new data and charts on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the transportation sector, which accounted for approximately 40 percent of all GHG emissions in the state in 2021; waste diversion; projected electric vehicle stock; and the results of the Council’s review of the municipalities’ use of funds derived from the surcharge on miniature alcohol beverage containers.

In 2023, Public Act 23-76 established a requirement for the Council to conduct a review of “programs and measures of local governments implemented pursuant to subsection (d) of Section 22a-244b,” as part of the Council’s review of the programs and activities of the state and local governments and private organizations, as required by Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) Section 22a-12. Subsection (a) of CGS Section 22a-244b established a five-cent surcharge on any beverage container containing a spirit or liquor of fifty milliliters or less, often referred to as Nips. The Council found that 56 reporting municipalities or approximately 42 percent of respondents indicated that no funds had been expended through June 30, 2023, and overall, only 29 percent of the total funds received by the reporting municipalities had been expended through June 30, 2023. Further, the Council calculated that, through June 30, 2023, approximately 42 percent of the funds received from the surcharge on the Nips was expended to reduce the generation of solid waste, and approximately 58 percent was expended to reduce the impact of litter caused by such solid waste. Some municipalities reported using some or all of the funds on one or more environmental measures to reduce solid waste and to reduce the impact of litter, and only ten of the municipalities reported using all of the funds they received through June 30, 2023.

The Council also notes that there was no new data for certain indicators, including wetlands, forests, and turtles. The inclusion of biological indicators requires considerable care in the selection of appropriate species, and the Council is grateful for the advice it received from experts.

Advice to Other Agencies

Council staff reviewed proposals submitted to the Connecticut Siting Council; Environmental Impact Evaluations, and notices prepared by other agencies, consistent with the requirements of the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act; forest management plans; draft request for proposals / bid preferences; draft general permits, studies and reports; and proposed projects funded through the Local Bridge Program and submitted comments when deemed appropriate. The Council provided training to several state agencies and updated the notice templates to assist state agencies to develop notices for publication in the Environmental Monitor.

The Council commented on several state activities and plans, including the following:

The Council also commented on proposed legislation, during the 2023 legislative session, that could have impacted Connecticut’s environment.

Public Act 20-9, An Act Revising Provisions of the Transfer Act and Authorizing the Development and Implementation of a Release-Based Remediation Program, stipulated that the Council would be a member of a working group to develop regulations to implement a Release-Based Remediation Program. The Council has participated in the working group through the subcommittees and group meetings. 

Public Act 23-204, Section 69 established a working group, which included a representative from the Council, to study the State Historic Preservation Officer's role in administering historic preservation review processes.

Citizen Concerns and Complaints

State law directs the Council to investigate citizen complaints alleging violation of any statute or regulation in respect to environmental quality. In 2023, staff investigated numerous complaints, including noise; inland and tidal wetland impacts; potential impacts associated with the possible development of a school and expansion of the Tweed New Haven Airport; the application of herbicides; indoor air quality and odors; invasive species; property remediation; development and decommissioning of solar facilities; and water quality. The Council also addressed questions regarding the applicability of the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act (CEPA) to certain proposed state actions. Routine matters are usually addressed by providing the person who inquired/complained with the correct person or agency to handle the matter. The Council is appreciative of the assistance provided by the Departments of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Public Health, and Transportation; the Office of Policy and Management; and others to answer citizen inquiries and resolve complaints. 

Every month the Council discusses the inquiries and complaints of environmental consequence that were presented to the Council by individuals and groups. In 2023, the Council held 12 regular meetings. Many times, citizen complaints and inquiries lead to special reports, such as the Council’s 2020 special report Low Deposit, Low Return, on the problem with the State’s beverage container redemption program.