REPORT ON BILLS FAVORABLY REPORTED BY COMMITTEE
Energy and Technology Committee
JFS to the Floor
TITLE OF BILL:
AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION LINE SITING CRITERIA.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Energy & Technology Committee
REASONS FOR BILL:
To prohibit the Connecticut Siting Council from siting certain overhead electric transmission lines within a certain amount of feet of a private or public school, licensed day care facility, licensed youth camp or public playground. The substitute language makes the last two sections of this bill equal the first two sections.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (AG)- The concept of this bill is to recognize that high voltage transmission lines may endanger children and are inappropriate near sites where children play for extended periods of time. The AG urges the committee to ensure that the Connecticut Siting Council reviews and considers all alternatives to current siting plans for these high power transmission lines-including conservation measures and small, local power plants-prior to final approval of any siting permit.
Majority Leader Representative James A. Amann- Rep. Amann believes the legislature must take measures to protect our children from health hazards. Given the conflicting scientific effort regarding health risks from electromagnetic fields, the question remains: How should we proceed when locating high voltage lines in our communities? We must come down on the side of caution.
Senator Joseph J. Crisco, Jr.- Supports this bill because he is concerned about the possible health risks the plan could have on children who congregate in close proximity to the transmission lines. With the utilities' plan before us, we are confronted with the possibility that electromagnetic fields (EMF) will impact negatively on the health of children. This bill would allow the Siting Council to deny the Phase II transmission line plan submitted by the utilities, if construction of those lines occurs in the vicinity of schools, playgrounds and daycare centers.
Representative Themis Klarides- Supports this bill because it would prohibit a public service company from constructing, or modifying, an existing overhead electrical transmission line if the right of way or easement of the line is within 100 feet of such institutions for a 50-133kV line; 150 feet for a 220-230kV line; 250 feet for 345-495kv line or within 350 feet for a 500-550 kV line. At present there is no definitive link between childhood leukemia and EMF, however there is some evidence of a cause and effect relationship. Until this relationship is clearly understood, we should avoid placing power lines overhead in residential areas.
Representative Mary G. Fritz- Will support the bill with her recommended amendments, as follows:
1. Rep. Fritz requests that any community, which is part of Phase II of the expansion of electric transmission lines, which already has a 345kV, line in an area, that no duplication of 345kV line be allowed in that same area.
2. Rep. Fritz requests that the Connecticut Siting Council shall require of the applicants of Phase II alternate routes for every community which is part of Phase II, with emphasis and full discovery on placing transmission lines underground or under road.
3. Rep. Fritz requests that the Connecticut Siting Council be mandated to give weight to the arguments and testimony provided regarding health concerns and economic concerns in this expansion of the electric transmission lines known as Phase II docket 272.
Senator William A. Aniskovich- Believes there is an alternative to the overhead line proposition-bury the transmission lines in existing rights of way. This bill would restrict where the Siting Council could allow certain overhead lines to be located-for lines carrying between 345 and 495 kilovolts at least 250 feet from any school, day care facility, camp or playground.
Representative Al Adinolfi- Supports this bill and recommends the inclusion of Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Elderly Housing. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences have reported that there is an association between exposure to EMF and an increased risk for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and brain cancer. With these potential risks, it only makes sense that we strictly limit the location of these power lines near where our communities' children spend a great deal of their time at school or play.
Elaine Zimmerman, Executive Director for the Commission on Children- This legislation establishes a uniform safety zone for educational learning centers. Without this legislation, Connecticut children may face increased risks from EMF exposure as power companies build new and more powerful aboveground cables. Although the scientific evidence is inconclusive, there is sufficient evidence to be very concerned that EMF's pose a serious health risk to children. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/National Institute of Health concluded in a 1999 report called for "continued emphasis on educating both the public and the regulated community on means aimed at reducing exposures".
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Amey W. Marrella, Town of Woodbridge First Selectman- Amey W. Marrella would like for this legislation, as proposed, should go into effect immediately. This bill simply amplifies the need for the Connecticut Siting Council to consider health impacts. Given the potential health effects, it makes sense to enact a limited and specific siting requiring that safeguards all schools, day care facilities, camps and playgrounds within Connecticut.
Carl Baum, M.D. Yale University Assistant Professor of Pediatrics School of Medicine and Director of the Center for Children's Environmental Toxicology at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital- As a pediatrician and medical toxicologist, Dr. Baum has reviewed the medical literature on the subject of power lines and the EMF they generate. The medical literature does support an association between electromagnetic fields and childhood leukemia that is unlikely due to chance; the exact cause-and-effect relationship between the two has yet to be determined. The National Institutes of Health have concluded that exposure of children to EMF cannot be considered safe. Dr. Baum believes the legislature has the responsibility to consider all scientific evidence on the effects of electromagnetic fields.
Peter Rabinowitz, M.D., M.P.H. Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine and Director of Clinical Services at the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program- What the power companies are proposing goes against recommendations of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO's International Agency for Research in Cancer has labeled EMF as "possibly carcinogenic". Background EMF exposures for the general population have been estimated in the range of less than 1 milligauss, averaged over a 24-hour period. In studies of children, EMF daily exposures of 3-4 milligauss have been associated with a doubling of leukemia risk. Dr. Rabinowitz urges the legislature to protect the children by not allowing power companies to increase EMF exposures near schools and playgrounds.
Alan Gerber, Professor of Political Science at Yale University- Given the potential danger, going ahead with the current utility company plan is extremely irresponsible and fails to show proper regard for our children's health and safety.
John H. Krystal, M.D., Deputy Chairman for Research Yale University School of Medicine/Department of Psychiatry- Asks the legislature to consider the negative psychological impact of the proposed power lines could adversely affect the brain function of our children.
Jody Ellant, Co-Chairperson Keepthechildrensafe (Woodbridge, CT)- Through her research, in other similarly densely populated states, Power Companies have self-regulated by making the ethical corporate decision not to site high voltage power transmission lines near schools. In fact, the Tennessee Valley Authority states that a desirable distance between transmission lines of a similar voltage to the ones proposed by Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating and schools is 1200 feet.
Shelley G. Kreiger, Head of School Ezra Academy- The proposed line is within 30-50 feet of the school. She is very concerned for the health of the students as she once lost a child to cancer herself. She urges the committee to heavily consider the health risks.
Diana McCain (resident of Durham, CT)- Encourages the authors of this bill to change the text of added subsections D, E and F to read, "No private or public school licensed child day care facility, licensed youth camp or public playground or residence within."
Stephanie Green, M.D. Infectious Diseases Specialist/New Haven Health Department- Supports the proposed bill to protect the health and safety of the children in the state of Connecticut. Dr. Green also requests support for the language in the proposed legislation to ensure that the proposed safety buffers are enacted with respect to the Phase II application before the CT Siting Council.
Connecticut Education Association- Supports the legislation that could avoid possible health risks.
South Central Regional Council of Governments (SCRCG)- Michele Goldblatt, Chairman of SCRCG supports this bill with an amendment in sections (D), (E) and (F).
RuthAnn Wiesenthal-Gold, President of the Woodlands Coalition- Supports this bill but respectfully requests the bill be amended by adding the words "residential neighborhoods".
Lynn Stanwood of Durham, CT- "Residential neighborhoods must be included in the Energy bill simply due to reasonable doubt. All power lines must be under grounded especially in residential neighborhoods."
Karen Leibowitz of Woodbridge, CT- Supports this legislation because the transmission lines cut right across areas where many children go to school and play. This bill employs a precautionary principle and ensures that the children are safe.
Walter Pietruska of Durham, CT- Would like the language of the bill to be changed to include "densely populated areas."
Mayor James L. Richetelli, Jr. of Milford, CT- Supports this bill with the hope that it twill protect those individuals, families and communities that will be impacted as well as ensuring the health and safety of our community's future.
Maryann P. Goord, Town of Durham First Selectwoman- Supports this bill and would like to recommend additional language, such as, "residential neighborhoods". Selectwoman Goord also requests that if the bill is passed into law, have it apply to pending as well as future applications before the Connecticut Siting Council.
Rabbi Richard Eisenberg of Woodbridge, CT- Supports the bill
***For additional testimony, please read the transcript.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA)- Robert Early, CBIA Staff Attorney, opposes the bill because they feel that "the ultimate solution to CT's energy problems requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond transmission enhancement and siting revisions. In short, state energy policy must recognize the need to support the following priorities:
1. Upgrades to our electric and natural gas transmission systems and the siting of adequate generation capacity.
2. The creation of vibrant competitive marketplaces for both electricity and natural gas.
3. Conservation and Load Management efforts, as well as, the development and deployment of alternative energy technologies.
"Such a multifaceted approach will likely remedy the problems not only in Southwest, CT but the entire state."
United Illuminating Company (UI)- Dennis Hrabchak opposes this bill because they feel the proposed legislation is unnecessary, because the CT Siting Council already has the statutory responsibility and authority to consider the issues of concern in this bill. UI shares the concern for the public health and safety that forms the underlying intent of the bill "However, these concerns are already comprehensively addressed in the existing siting process".
Northeast Utilities (NU)- Robert Carberry on behalf of Connecticut Light & Power feels that this bill "proposes unnecessary construction limitations which threaten to compromise NU's ability to provide reliable service to Connecticut consumers. Enactment of this bill would impose significant constraints on the siting of electric transmission lines making the process unnecessarily difficult and the cost of these facilities far more costly to Connecticut consumers than is necessary to address the concerns noted by bill sponsors."
Kellie M. Guilbert, Clerk
March 24, 2004