REPORT ON BILLS FAVORABLY REPORTED BY COMMITTEE

COMMITTEE:

Environment Committee

File No.:

Bill No.:

SB-656

PH Date:

3/15/2006

Action/Date:

JFS 03/20/06

Reference Change:

Appropriations

TITLE OF BILL:

AN ACT AUTHORIZING BONDS OF THE STATE FOR AGRICULTURE, OPEN SPACE AND BROWNFIELDS PROGRAMS.

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Sen. Thomas J. Herlihy, 8th Dist.

 

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill authorizes bonds of the state for the Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP shall use fifteen million dollars to establish and administer a program of grants to municipalities for brownfield restoration and remediation in distressed communities. DEP shall use ten million dollars to provide grants to municipalities for open space programs, and may use five million dollars for grants to municipalities for urban park restoration and improvement.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None expressed.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Friends of Connecticut State Parks – Paula L. Schiller – Friends of CT State Parks supports this funding with an additional $6 million for state parks to address operations and staffing needs.

Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut, Inc. – Frank J. Johnson, President – MAC supports section 1 (c) 1, regarding the remediation of brownfields. This bill would allow sites that are currently contaminated to be cleaned up and provide for a partnership between manufacturers and DEP in this cleanup process.

American Farmland Trust – Cris Coffin, New England Director – AFT urges the bill to clarify thee measure to ensure that funding is provided through a direct appropriation of funds rather than through a bonding measure.

The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut Chapter – David Sutherland, Director of Government Relations – The Nature Conservancy supports this bill with changes. The Nature Conservancy proposes that the funds come directly from this year's budget surplus rather than from bonding.

Audubon Connecticut – Sandy Breslin, Director of Governmental Affairs – The passage of this bill will help to ensure the future of birds and other wildlife in the state, in addition to providing economic benefits from working farms, developable brownfields, and restored urban parks.

Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Endangered Lands Coalition – Karen Burnaska, Coordinator – Protecting our drinking water watershed land and preserving open space are critical to the long-range health of our communities. CFE supports this bill.

Connecticut Water Works Association – Elizabeth Gara, Executive Director – CWWA supports efforts to increase funding for the state's open space programs to help protect watershed and aquifer lands.

Connecticut State Grange – Gordon Gibson, Legislative Director – This bill will help to ensure the future of Connecticut's agricultural industry.

Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, Inc. – The state of Connecticut is losing 8,000 acres of valuable farm land to development each year. This bill would help to preserve this land and to ensure that Connecticut continues to reap the benefits of the $2.2 billion state agricultural industry.

Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands, Inc. – CACIWC supports this bill because it will provide an immediate infusion of funds for Connecticut's remaining open space and farmland.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association, Connecticut Branch – Janet Heller, Board Member – CT NOFA believes that funding is badly needed for farmland preservation in the state of CT. There is currently a backlog of 32 farms on the wait list for the farmland preservation program.

Additional Support:

Dr. Susan B. Brachwitz – Resident, Simsbury CT

Susan A. Masino – Resident, West Simsbury CT

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed.

 

Leonard Greene Jr.

03/23/06

 

_______________

_____________________

 

Reported by

Date