Commerce Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5343

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THROUGH STREAMLINED AND IMPROVED BROWNFIELD REMEDIATION PROGRAMS.

Vote Date:

3/27/2012

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/6/2012

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Commerce Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill requires DEEP commissioner to report, by January 1, 2013, to governor and Commerce and Environment committees on:

● The results of the ongoing review of the brownfield remediation and development regulations and

● Recommend changes to these regulations, new programs for responding to hazardous material releases

The recommendations must consider several sets of factors:

● DEEP's 2011 report evaluating the brownfield remediation programs and laws,

● How the recommendations affect:

Federally-delegated programs

Municipalities and small businesses

Human health and the environment

Efficacy of responding to releases, and

Remediation and economic development

● New and expanded ways of evaluating or auditing recommended changes and new programs, including LEP's authority

● Most effective way to implement recommendations

Effective upon passage

The substitute language deletes the requirement that DEEP include recommendations addressing 13 issues ranging from reporting on releases to prescribing the circumstances in which groundwater monitoring requirements can be limited and where post remediation groundwater monitoring may not be required.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Dan Esty, Commissioner, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Commissioner Esty testified in support of the bill stating “This raised bill will allow DEEP to continue what has been an exceptionally collaborative and productive process. While DEEP believes there is general consensus on the vision and conceptual design as presented, many stakeholders have asked for more time to assist in the analysis, development, and refinement of the details of any proposed statutory and regulatory changes. Given the importance of pollution remediation and Brownfield redevelopment to our environment and economy, DEEP believes that such time would be well spent. Working with stakeholders, DEEP will be able to determine the right balance is established with respect to spill reporting, early off ramps for those performing prompt cleanups, the expanded use of Licensed Environmental Professionals, and increased options for self-implementation, meaningful public participation, multiple cleanup options, and streamlined processes.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Martin Mador, Legislative Chair, Sierra Club-Connecticut Chapter

Mr. Mador testified in support of the bill stating “I am here to fully support HB 5343, which gives us until the start of the 2013 session to craft a program which will best serve us for the coming years. We appreciate that the bill explicitly mentions “protection of human health and environment”. We will not accept a program which turns ownership of the process over to the LEPs in the absence of vigorous and effective agency oversight an accountability. That oversight does not currently exist. Paragraph (c) of the bill does address the importance of this issue.”

Jessica Morowitz, Legal Fellow, Connecticut Fund for the Environment

Jessica Morowitz testified in support of the bill stating “in so much as the bill takes a step back and allows for more time to undertake the evaluation and transformation of Connecticut's cleanup laws. This is a very important process with significant implications for human health, the environment and the economy, as such allowing for more time will allow for a more thoughtful and robust process.”

Seth Molofsky, Environmental Professionals' Organization of Connecticut

Mr. Molofsky testified in support of the bill stating “We have been supportive of the Department's efforts thus far, and will continue to be an active participant as the stakeholder review process moves forward and we learn more of the specific proposed changes to the remediation programs. We believe this significant undertaking by the CT DEEP requires thoughtful and meaningful input by the many stakeholder groups involved and that the Department should carefully consider the comments these groups will provide in the coming months.”

Donna Hamzy, Legislative Associate, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities

Donna Hamzy testified in support of the bill stating “Brownfield remediation and redevelopment are key to putting back into use, and back on the property tax rolls, blighted and contaminated properties. Further, programs to support such efforts eases the pressure to use “green” spaces as an alternative.”

Nancy K. Mendel, Environmental Attorney, Winnich Ruben Hoffnug Peabody & Mendell LLC

Nancy Mendel testified in opposition of subsection (b) stating “I would like to express my support for Section 1(a) of Raised Bill 5343, but with the strong recommendation to delete in its entirety subsection (b) of the Bill as being problematic, unnecessary, and premature.”

Dianne Veley, Global Human Resources Manager, The Siemon Company

Dianne Veley testified in opposition of subsection (b) stating “This proposal of subsection 1 (b) will increase our business costs and our employees' time for what we view as yet another example of over-regulation within the state of Connecticut.”

Tom Banisch, General Manager, chemswap.com, div. T.J. Banisch, LLC

Mr. Banish testified in opposition of subsection (b) stating “This is yet another business-unfriendly bill coming out of the Connecticut Legislature, and my company, chemsawp.com, div. T.J. Banisch, LLC is opposing section 1 (b) of this bill and asking the Commerce Committee to remove it before voting on whether to approve the bill.”

David A. Rothberg, Chairman and CEO, Laticrete International, Inc

Mr. Rothberg testified in opposition of subsection (b) stating “A proposed section of a proposed bill will do nothing to make Connecticut cleaner or safer, and everything to make it less attractive for high quality employers. Please remove this subsection 1 (b) from this bill before voting on whether to approve it.”

Louise DiCocco-Beauton, Director of Governmental Affairs, Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce

Louise DiCocco-Beauton testified in support of the bill but in opposition of section 1 (b) stating “While the chamber recognizes the good intent of HB 5343, there is one subsection of it which does the exact opposite of the bill's intentions, specifically subsection 1 (b) of HB 5343.”

Kate Hampford Donahue, President, Hampford Research Inc

Kate Hampford testified in opposition to section 1 (b) stating “It appears the reporting requirement could place a substantial burden on small businesses to review and assemble environmental reports on releases that occurred under previous owners/operators of a site. I urge you to remove subsection 1 (b) of Raised House Bill No. 5343.”

Eric Brown, Director of Energy and Environmental Policy, CBIA

Mr. Brown testified in support of the bill but in opposition of subsection 1 (b) stating “While CBIA continues to strongly support the transformation initiative and looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with DEEP and other stakeholders, we cannot support this bill with the inclusion of subsection 1 (b).”

Nicholas A. Fanelli, President, Raynard & Peirce Inc

Mr. Fanelli testified in support of the bill but in opposition of subsection 1 (b) stating “With this bill and other pieces of legislation like it, the legislature continues to pursue an agenda that undermines the potential for business stability or growth in Connecticut. I respectfully ask the Commerce Committee to remove subsection 1(b) before voting on it.'

Barry J. Trilling, Wiggin and Dana LLP

Mr. Trilling testified in support of the bill but in opposition of subsection 1 (b) stating “Much to be commended in HB 5343 is that a portion of section 1 (a) which requires the DEEP Commissioner to consider several different factors when making recommendations for any such changes, particularly the consideration of the potential impact of those changes on certain small businesses and how any such changes may facilitate remediation and economic development, including at properties with existing remediation responsibilities. Regrettably, however, section 1 (b) of the bill can be read to be in direct conflict with these mandatory considerations of Section 1 (a) and to fore-ordain certain recommendations that are not consistent with the two factors I have noted above. Further, although the bill's title states that it concerns economic development and the remediation of brownfields, section 1 (b) does not appear to be concerned with either of those topics.”

Michael Origi, EHS Manager, Leed Himmel Industries, Inc

Mr. Origi testified in support of the bill but in opposition of subsection 1 (b) stating “We feel this legislation will create more labor intensive reporting requirements which will result in higher costs to our business.”

NRG Energy, Princeton, NJ

NRG Energy submitted written testimony supporting the bill if section 1 (b) is removed stating “Whil HB 5343 is well intentioned, NRG energy strongly opposes subsection 1 (b).”

MRK Inc, Hamden, CT

MRK Inc submitted written testimony support of the bill if section 1 (b) is removed stating “We at MRK, Inc are opposing section 1 (b) of this bill and asking the Commerce Committee to remove it before voting on whether to approve the bill.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Henry L. Nikora, Tri-Rotor Inc

Mr. Nikora testified in opposition of the bill stating “This is to advise you and all of the members of the Commerce Committee that we are opposed to Raised House Bill No. 5343 and specifically request that you and the entire committee do not allow this Bill or any part of it to pass.”

Elizabeth C. Barton, Day Pitney LLP

Elizabeth Barton testified in opposition of subsections (b), (c), and (d) stating “It is not clear why a bill is needed for the Department to continue with its transformation initiative. If a bill will be moving ahead, Raised Bill No. 5343 should be revised to delete subsections (b), (c), and (d), leaving only subsection (a), wherein the reference to brownfields should be removed.”

Reported by: George Harlamon

Date: 3/29/12