Environment: Regulatory Clarity, Consumer Packaging, State Water Plan
SB 301 brings greater regulatory clarity and certainty by requiring DEEP, for the first time, to define for manufacturers and other businesses what spills need to be reported to the agency and which do not.
Unlike failed past attempts, DEEP agreed to develop “reportable quantity” thresholds for future, contemporaneous spills.
Regulations are anticipated to be formally proposed by the end of 2016.
SB 233 passed, and in its final version, creates a task force to study methods for reducing consumer packaging in Connecticut through source reduction, and reuse and recycling.
The bill is part of a heightened focus on helping DEEP achieve a state recycling goal of 60% by 2024.
A task force will evaluate non-regulatory methods for reducing the amount of consumer packaging in Connecticut’s waste stream.
As with many other solid wastes, a large amount of consumer packaging is recyclable and significant progress could be made simply by making sure those recyclable materials are actually recycled rather than tossed into the solid waste stream.
HB 5425 creates a Brownfield Land Bank for the purpose of acquiring, remediating and selling abandoned, contaminated properties on behalf of the municipalities—thereby shielding affected municipalities from liabilities associated with these environmentally distressed properties.
If lawmakers fail to adopt the state water plan within two years after submission, it must be forwarded to the Governor for adoption or rejection.
For example, it eliminates a requirement that legislative committees hold joint public hearings on the plan within 45 days after the start of the 2018 regular legislative session, and submit it to the legislature for approval, modification, or disapproval.
It instead allows committees to hold the public hearing and either submit the plan to the legislature for approval or, if they reject it, return the plan with any recommended revisions to the WPC for revision and re-submittal.
Under the bill, if the legislature fails to adopt the state water plan within two years after the date it was originally submitted, the plan must be forwarded to the Governor for adoption or rejection.
Current law deems the plan approved if the legislature fails to act on it by July 1, 2018.
One bill that died at the end of the session was SB 326, which would have clarified that consent orders are a contract between DEEP and another party that neither party can unilaterally change or revoke without the agreement of the other.
Another bill, SB 422, that threatened to force hundreds of businesses that use water for their operations to obtain a "diversion permit" from DEEP was defeated.
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