Three legislative committees are holding a public hearing in Hartford on Monday about Governor Malloy’s proposal to create a mega state agency consolidating the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) and adding a new component—a Bureau of Energy Policy and Efficiency.

As proposed in HB 6386, the new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) would “allow for a more effective coordination of state energy and environmental policies … ,” said the governor, “ … in order to strengthen our ability to protect the environment; to clean, conserve and lower the cost of energy; and to set the table for rapid and responsible economic growth.”

The Environment, Energy and Government Administration and Elections committees will hear public comments on the proposal, and CBIA will testify on the bill.

Businesses are hopeful that the new agency will, among other things, clarify the role and mission of the state’s environmental agency. It is imperative that Connecticut come to terms with the side-by-side needs to grow the economy and protect natural resources.

Connecticut’s environmental challenges today are very different from those the state faced in the 1970s and 1980s, when most of the DEP’s current regulatory system was established. Ideally, the DEP—and new DEEP—will focus on encouraging innovation, rewarding businesses for going “beyond compliance,” and basing success on environmental progress—rather than the number of inspections, enforcement actions and penalties.

Much could be done by DEEP to promote brownfield redevelopment, streamline permitting, evaluate the potential costs and benefits of new regulations and help businesses comply with complex regulations.

Similar to the environment issues, businesses hope the new DEEP will clarify what approach the state is going to take on energy. Specifically, businesses are hopeful that this new agency, which has a bureau of energy policy and efficiency, will formulate a strategic plan for Connecticut on energy policy.

Recently, state energy policies have been inconsistent and almost always increased the cost of energy. Businesses need cost reduction to be the priority energy policy issue. That will help create jobs and restore our economy.

For more information about environmental issues, contact CBIA’s Eric Brown at
860.244.1926 or eric.brown@cbia.com.

For more information about energy issues, contact CBIA’s Kevin Hennessy at 860.244.1979 or kevin.hennessy@cbia.com.