OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 229

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ACCURACY AND APPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT EVALUATIONS.

SUMMARY:

This bill establishes a limited circumstance in which a portion of an environmental impact evaluation (EIE) may have to be redone. Under the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act (CEPA), state departments, institutions, or agencies proposing or funding actions that may significantly affect the environment must generally prepare an EIE before deciding whether to undertake or approve the action. The EIE process involves public review and comment (CGS 22a-1b et seq.).

The bill requires an EIE to be redone if:

1. at least ten years pass between the EIE's completion date and the start of the proposed action the EIE covers;

2. the commissioner of the state agency sponsoring the action receives a petition, signed by at least 100 people, requesting a review by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to determine if there is any substantial change to an item in the EIE; and

3. CEQ's review finds a substantial change.

But the EIE must only be redone with respect to the identified substantial change.

The bill specifies that this requirement does not affect construction contracts entered into by the state before the bill takes effect.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

BACKGROUND

Significantly Affect the Environment

Under CEPA, actions that may “significantly affect the environment” are activities that could have a major impact on the state's land, water, air, historic structures and landmarks, existing housing, or other environment resources, or that could serve short-term to the disadvantage of long-term environmental goals. Emergency measures to respond to immediate public health or safety threats or certain activities with limited state agency involvement are exempt (CGS 22a-1c).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

27

Nay

2

(03/16/2016)