Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6032

Title:

AN ACT CLARIFYING PROVISIONS OF THE GENERAL STATUTES CONCERNING THE USE OF BARRIER SYSTEMS FOR CERTAIN PLANTINGS.

Vote Date:

2/27/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/4/2015

File No.:

73

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

Senator Robert J. Kane, 32nd District

Representative Kevin Ryan, 139th District

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill makes a conforming change to Connecticut's laws regarding the planting of running bamboo by removing a provision that allows an individual who has planted this form of bamboo forty feet or less from an abutting property to avoid fines by installing a barrier system. Given the invasive and quick-spreading nature of running bamboo, barrier systems are not considered a foolproof method of bamboo containment due to the plant's ability to spread deep underground. Because more rigorous methods of prevention are necessary to prevent the spread of running bamboo in concert with barrier systems, the bill would provide greater clarity to the laws governing prevention, violations and fines.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Commissioner Robert Klee, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection: The Department expressed concern that the bill does not offer clarification in instances when running bamboo “is planted more than forty feet from a boundary and then subsequently grows closer to the adjoining property.” The Department also stated that the adjudication of several pending encroachment cases would help to clarify the “rights and responsibilities” of relevant parties.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Zachary Bestor, Legal Fellow – Connecticut Fund for the Environment: Mr. Bestor states he supports eliminating the exemption solely for installing barriers since said barriers is “not 100% effective” at preventing the spread of bamboo rhizomes underground. He advocates for monitoring, killing new growth and removing rhizomes in addition to installing barriers.

Caryn Rickel, Institute of Invasive Bamboo Research: Ms. Rickel stated in her testimony that she supports the bill provided that the language be enhanced to provide more restrictive provisions.

Changes Recommended:

-Language stating that bamboo shall not be allowed within a 40 foot buffer zone regardless of when the bamboo was planted

-Enforcement granted solely to Zoning Officers rather than the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection

-Allocating fines to municipalities in their entirety

-Grant courts the authority to enforce the 40 foot buffer zone with attorney fees, costs and disbursements paid to the prevailing party

Recommendations identical to Ms. Rickel's were expressed by the following individuals: Amy Day Kahn, Lyme; Anne Egan, Milford; Blake Audett &Trudy Meyer, Westport; Byron Sproule, Fairfield; Charles Sherwood, Orange; Alicja & Donald Milardo, Meriden; Denise Capella, Branford; Diane Bania, Trumbull; Dianne Saunders, Wallingford; Ed Bird, Waterford; Elizabeth Zlamany, Newtown; Enilda Rosas, New Haven; Gabrielle Kallenborn, Westport; Gary & Carol Bowers, Woodbury; Holly Kocet, Newtown; James & Melissa Vallillo, Stonington; Janice & Robert Laneri, East Haddam; Jeffrey Douglas, Newtown; Jillian Murphy, Old Saybrook; Joan & Joseph Marrone, Orange; John Kowalsky, Shelton; Joseph Scalabrino, Branford; Kevin & Franziska Hobbs, Bridgewater; Kimberly Sirois Pita, Rocky Hill; Marguerite Gagnon, Ansonia; Mark & Michele Bourdeau, Oxford; Mary Bell, Essex; Mary Gaudet-Wilson, Newtown; Megan Graham, Trumbull; Patricia & Steven Fetyko, Oxford; Priscilla Weadon, Westport; Sandra Suffredini, Southbury; Sharon & Ed Wynne, Orange; Theresa Groff, Preston

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Representative Mitch Bolinsky: Representative Bolinsky opposes the bill due to the lack of the provisions expressed above by Ms. Rickel.

Darryl Newman, President – Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association: Mr. Newman stated that it is impossible for any plant root to grow through a correctly installed barrier. He feels the bill should instead require “a barrier be installed when a plant is in proximity” of property.

Mike Johnson, Summerhill Nursery: In his testimony, Mr. Johnson states that running bamboo can be planted “right up to a property line” if barrier systems are properly installed. He added that since there are “monetary penalties” if barriers are not installed, the current law will likely be obeyed by the majority of landowners.

Reported by: Jared Savas

Date: 3/20/15