Business and Labor Seeking DEP Reform

03.04.2010
Issues & Policies

Citing common frustrations with delays, uncertainty and changing rules at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), business and labor representatives are working together on recommendations for legislative action this session.

“We’re both hearing from our members that Connecticut is losing jobs and economic development opportunities because DEP’s policies, laws and regulations reflect a 1970s approach in a 21st century economy” says CBIA’s Eric Brown.  

“Jobs and businesses—you can’t have one without the other” added John Olsen, president of the AFL-CIO.  “I hear story after story about how the lack of certainty and delays associated with DEP’s permitting programs are killing jobs in this state,” Olsen added.

Both Brown and Olsen are participating in a new task force created by Governor Rell and tasked with producing recommendations on regulatory and permitting reform by early April.  

Meanwhile, the legislature is already moving to address similar concerns they’ve heard from constituents throughout the state. A bipartisan effort is underway to pass several measures that will make important reforms to how DEP operates.    

Several bills have been raised in the Commerce and Environment committees that would, among other things, establish timelines for permit processing; subject DEP’s policies, guidance and other documents with significant potential economic impact to review by other agencies and the legislature before they acquire the force of law; and a measure to ensure the public and policymakers are informed of the largest contributors of pollution to Connecticut’s air, waters and land so that limited resources can be aligned with the most pressing environmental problems.   

“With a new administration coming in next year and an economy starting to recover,” added Brown, “a new, more constructive relationship between the DEP and the state legislature needs to develop so they can work together to insure both Connecticut’s environment and its economy thrive in the coming years.”      

For more information, contact CBIA's Eric Brown at 860.244.1926 or eric.brown@cbia.com.

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