Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5708

Public Act No. 02-121

AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE CONNECTICUT ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT.

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

Section 1. Section 22a-1b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2002):

The General Assembly directs that, to the fullest extent possible:

(a) Each state department, institution or agency shall review its policies and practices to insure that they are consistent with the state's environmental policy as set forth in sections 22a-1 and 22a-1a.

(b) (1) Each sponsoring agency shall, prior to a decision to draft an environmental impact evaluation pursuant to subsection (c) of this section for an action which may significantly affect the environment, conduct an early public scoping process.

(2) To initiate an early public scoping process, the sponsoring agency shall provide notice on a form that has been approved by the Council on Environmental Quality, which shall include, but not be limited to, the date, time and location of any proposed public scoping meeting and the duration of the public comment period pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection, to the council, the Office of Policy and Management and to any other state agency whose activities may reasonably be expected to affect or be affected by the proposed action.

(3) Members of the public and any interested state agency representatives may submit comments on the nature and extent of any environmental impacts of the proposed action during the thirty days following the publication of the notice of the early public scoping process pursuant to this section.

(4) A public scoping meeting shall be held at the discretion of the sponsoring agency or if twenty-five persons or an association having not less than twenty-five persons requests such a meeting within ten days of the publication of the notice in the Environmental Monitor. A scoping meeting shall be held not less than ten days following the notice of the project in the Environmental Monitor. The public comment period shall remain open for at least five days following the meeting.

(5) A sponsoring agency shall provide the following at a public scoping meeting: (A) A description of the proposed action; (B) a description of the purpose and need of the proposed action; (C) a list of the criteria for a site for the proposed action; (D) a list of potential sites for the proposed action; (E) the resources of any proposed site of the proposed action; (F) the environmental limitations of such sites; (G) potential alternatives to the proposed action; and (H) any of the information the sponsoring agency deems necessary.

(6) Any agency submitting comments or participating in the public scoping meeting pursuant to this section shall include, to the extent practicable, but not be limited to, information about (A) the resources of any proposed site of the proposed action, (B) any plans of the commenting agency that may affect or be affected by the proposed action, (C) any permits or approvals that may be necessary for the proposed action, and (D) any appropriate measures that would mitigate the impact of the proposed action, including, but not limited to, recommendations as to preferred sites for the proposed action or alternatives for the proposed action that have not been identified by the sponsoring agency.

(7) The sponsoring agency shall consider any comments received pursuant to this section or any information obtained during the public scoping meeting in selecting the proposed actions to be addressed in the environmental impact evaluation and shall evaluate in its environmental impact evaluation any substantive issues raised during the early public scoping process that pertain to a proposed action or site or alternative actions or sites.

[(b)] (c) Each state department, institution or agency responsible for the primary recommendation or initiation of actions which may significantly affect the environment shall in the case of each such proposed action make a detailed written evaluation of its environmental impact before deciding whether to undertake or approve such action. All such environmental impact evaluations shall be detailed statements setting forth the following: (1) A description of the proposed action which shall include, but not be limited to, a description of the purpose and need of the proposed action, and, in the case of a proposed facility, a description of the infrastructure needs of such facility, including, but not limited to, parking, water supply, wastewater treatment and the square footage of the facility; (2) the environmental consequences of the proposed action, including cumulative, direct and indirect effects which might result during and subsequent to the proposed action; (3) any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided and irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources should the proposal be implemented; (4) alternatives to the proposed action, including the alternative of not proceeding with the proposed action [; (5)] and, in the case of a proposed facility, a list of all the sites controlled by or reasonably available to the sponsoring agency that would meet the stated purpose of such facility; (5) an evaluation of the proposed action's consistency and each alternative's consistency with the state plan of conservation and development, an evaluation of each alternative including, to the extent practicable, in terms of whether it avoids, minimizes or mitigates environmental impacts, and, where appropriate, detailed mitigation measures proposed to minimize environmental impacts, including, but not limited to, where appropriate, a site plan; (6) an analysis of the short term and long term economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of the proposed action; (7) the effect of the proposed action on the use and conservation of energy resources; and (8) a description of the effects of the proposed action on sacred sites or archaeological sites of state or national importance. In the case of an action which affects existing housing, the evaluation shall also contain a detailed statement analyzing (A) housing consequences of the proposed action, including direct and indirect effects which might result during and subsequent to the proposed action by income group as defined in section 8-37aa and by race, and (B) the consistency of the housing consequences with the long-range state housing plan adopted under section 8-37t. As used in this section, "sacred sites" and "archaeological sites" shall have the same meaning as in section 10-381.

(d) (1) The Council on Environmental Quality shall publish a document at least once a month to be called the Environmental Monitor which shall include any notices the council receives pursuant to sections 22a-1b to 22a-1i, inclusive, as amended by this act, and shall include notice of the opportunity to petition for a public scoping meeting. Filings of such notices received by five o'clock p. m. on the first day of each month shall be published in the Environmental Monitor that is issued not later than ten days thereafter.

(2) The Council on Environmental Quality shall post the Environmental Monitor on its Internet site and distribute a subscription or a copy of the Environmental Monitor by electronic mail to any state agency, municipality or person upon request. The council shall also provide the Environmental Monitor to the clerk of each municipality for posting in its town hall.

Sec. 2. Section 22a-1c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2002):

[Actions which may significantly affect the environment are defined for the purposes of section 22a-1b as] As used in sections 22a-1 to 22a-1i, inclusive, as amended by this act, "actions which may significantly affect the environment" means individual activities or a sequence of planned activities proposed to be undertaken by state departments, institutions or agencies, or funded in whole or in part by the state, which could have a major impact on the state's land, water, air, historic structures and landmarks as defined in section 10-320c, existing housing, or other environmental resources, or could serve short term to the disadvantage of long term environmental goals. [For the purposes of section 22a-1b,] Such actions shall include but not be limited to new projects and programs of state agencies and new projects supported by state contracts and grants, but shall not include (1) emergency measures undertaken in response to an immediate threat to public health or safety; or (2) activities in which state agency participation is ministerial in nature, involving no exercise of discretion on the part of the state department, institution or agency.

Sec. 3. Section 22a-1d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2002):

(a) [Evaluations required by sections 22a-1a to 22a-1f, inclusive,] Environmental impact evaluations and a summary thereof, including any negative findings [, and environmental statements otherwise required and prepared subsequent to July 8, 1975,] shall be submitted for comment and review to the Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Historical Commission, the Office of Policy and Management, the Department of Economic and Community Development in the case of a proposed action that affects existing housing, and other appropriate agencies, and to the town clerk of each municipality affected thereby, and shall be made available to the public for inspection and comment at the same time. The [department, institution or agency responsible for preparing an evaluation] sponsoring agency shall publish forthwith a notice of the availability of [such] its environmental impact evaluation and summary in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at least once a week for three consecutive weeks and in the [Connecticut Law Journal] Environmental Monitor. The [department, institution, or agency preparing an evaluation required by section 22a-1b or finding that proposed action shall have no significant environmental impact,] sponsoring agency preparing an environmental impact evaluation shall hold a public hearing on the evaluation [or finding that proposed action shall have no significant environmental impact] if twenty-five persons or an association having not less than twenty-five persons requests such a hearing within ten days of the publication of the notice in the [Connecticut Law Journal] Environmental Monitor.

(b) All comments received by the [agency, department or institution preparing the evaluation] sponsoring agency and the sponsoring agency's responses to such comments shall be forwarded to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.

(c) All comments so forwarded to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management shall be available for public inspection.

Sec. 4. Section 22a-1e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2002):

The Office of Policy and Management shall review all [such evaluations and statements,] environmental impact evaluations together with the comments and responses thereon, and shall make a written determination as to whether such evaluation satisfies the requirements of this part and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, which determination shall be made public and forwarded to the agency, department or institution preparing such evaluation. Such determination may require the revision of any evaluation found to be inadequate. Any member of the Office of Policy and Management which has prepared an evaluation and submitted it for review shall not participate in the decision of the office on such evaluation. The [agency, department or institution preparing the evaluation] sponsoring agency shall take into account all public and agency comments when making its final decision on the proposed action.

Sec. 5. Section 22a-1f of the general statutes, as amended by section 54 of public act 01-4 of the June special session, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2002):

(a) [Evaluations required by section 22a-1b] Environmental impact evaluations need not be prepared for projects for which environmental statements have previously been prepared pursuant to other state or federal laws or regulations, provided all such statements shall be considered and reviewed as if they were prepared under sections 22a-1a to 22a-1f, inclusive, as amended by this act.

(b) [Evaluations required by section 22a-1b] Environmental impact evaluations shall not be required for the Connecticut Juvenile Training School project, as defined in subsection (l) of section 4b-55, and the extension of such project otherwise known as the Connecticut River Interceptor Sewer Project, or a project, as defined in subdivision (16) of section 10a-109c, which involves the conversion of an existing structure for educational rather than office or commercial use.

(c) A constituent unit of the state system of higher education may provide for [the evaluations required pursuant to section 22a-1b] environmental impact evaluations for any priority higher education facility project, as defined in subsection (f) of section 4b-55, or for any higher education project involving an expenditure of not more than two million dollars, by (1) reviewing and filing the evaluation for such project with the Office of Policy and Management for its review pursuant to section 22a-1e, as amended by this act, or (2) including such project in a cumulative environmental [assessment] impact evaluation approved by the Office of Policy and Management.

Approved June 7, 2002