Substitute House Bill No. 6954

Public Act No. 01-120

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROTECTION OF CONNECTICUT'S AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 22-416 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) For the purposes of this chapter "aquaculture" means the controlled cultivation and harvest in the waters and tidal wetlands of the state of aquatic animals and plants, including but not limited to, oysters, clams, mussels and other molluscan shellfish, lobsters and crabs, fish and commercially important seaweed.

(b) Connecticut's aquaculture is an integral part of the environmental resources of the state and provides an irreplaceable economic and recreational asset to the state's citizens. It is therefore declared to be the policy of the state to protect, to the maximum extent reasonable, the state's valuable aquaculture resources.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 16-50p of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) In a certification proceeding, the council shall render a decision upon the record either granting or denying the application as filed, or granting it upon such terms, conditions, limitations or modifications of the construction or operation of the facility as the council may deem appropriate. The council's decision shall be rendered within twelve months of the filing of an application concerning a facility described in subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i or subdivision (4) of said subsection (a) if the application was incorporated in an application concerning a facility described in subdivision (1) of said subsection (a), and within one hundred eighty days of the filing of any other application concerning a facility described in subdivision (4) of said subsection (a), and an application concerning a facility described in subdivision (3), (5) or (6) of said subsection (a), provided such time periods may be extended by the council by not more than one hundred eighty days with the consent of the applicant. The council shall file, with its order, an opinion stating in full its reasons for the decision. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the council shall not grant a certificate, either as proposed or as modified by the council, unless it shall find and determine: (1) A public need for the facility and the basis of the need; (2) the nature of the probable environmental impact, including a specification of every significant adverse effect, whether alone or cumulatively with other effects, on, and conflict with the policies of the state concerning, the natural environment, ecological balance, public health and safety, scenic, historic and recreational values, forests and parks, air and water purity and fish, aquaculture and wildlife; (3) why the adverse effects or conflicts referred to in subdivision (2) of this subsection are not sufficient reason to deny the application; (4) in the case of an electric transmission line, (A) what part, if any, of the facility shall be located overhead, (B) that the facility conforms to a long-range plan for expansion of the electric power grid of the electric systems serving the state and interconnected utility systems and will serve the interests of electric system economy and reliability, and (C) that the overhead portions of the facility, if any, are cost effective and the most appropriate alternative based on a life-cycle cost analysis of the facility and underground alternatives to such facility, and are consistent with the purposes of this chapter, with such regulations as the council may adopt pursuant to subsection (a) of section 16-50t, and with the Federal Power Commission "Guidelines for the Protection of Natural Historic Scenic and Recreational Values in the Design and Location of Rights-of-Way and Transmission Facilities" or any successor guidelines and any other applicable federal guidelines; (5) in the case of an electric or fuel transmission line, that the location of the line will not pose an undue hazard to persons or property along the area traversed by the line. The terms of any agreement entered into by the applicant and any party to the certification proceeding, or any third party, in connection with the construction or operation of the facility, shall be part of the record of the proceedings and available for public inspection. The full text of any such agreement, and a statement of any consideration therefor, if not contained in the agreement, shall be filed with the council prior to the council's decision. This provision shall not require the public disclosure of proprietary information or trade secrets.

Sec. 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2001.

Approved June 28, 2001