Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5385

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION'S MATERIALS MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS.

Vote Date:

3/11/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/4/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Technological advances in waste management have resulted in the development of new methods of separating solid waste, recycling, disposal and conversion to energy. At the same time they have increased obsolescence of some of Connecticut's traditional waste to energy facilities. This bill amends certain definitions to more accurately reflect the nature of solid waste management facilities. The bill also revises certain considerations employed during the determination of need process for such facilities.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE removes the new language defining recycling in Subsection (7) of Section 1 and reinstates the original definition. This reflects concerns expressed over the bill's proposed change to distinguish recycling from the new waste conversion category, and to clarify that a facility cannot be classified as both a recycling and waste conversion facility for the purposes of permitting. DEEP determined that this proposed change is not necessary to meet the objectives of the bill.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Robert J. Klee, Commissioner, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)

Given the technological advances in waste management handling, there is well-founded concern about the economic viability of some of the state's 5 operational waste-to-energy facilities in the future. Studies have concluded that, in order to meet the goal of 60% solid waste diversion by 2024, the state must diversify its approach to waste management by developing new technologies to replace the aging technology and infrastructure. Failure to do so will result in a massive shortfall in disposal capacity that will significantly increase landfilling, transportation distances, costs, and potential liability to municipalities. DEEP needs statutory flexibility to study and promote alternative technologies such as anaerobic digestion, gasification, plasma arc gasification, pyrolysis, hydrolysis/fermentation and waste to fuel.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Kim O'Rourke & Virginia Walton, Connecticut Recyclers Coalition Mr. O'Rourke and Ms. Walton support the addition of language so that small facilities, and technologies not envisioned in earlier permitting regulations, can play a role in materials management. Currently the permitting process is geared toward larger facilities requiring more oversight, and thus is burdensome and too expensive to support innovation. If the State wants to continue to see more source separation of materials to recycle, it is necessary to support small innovative programs, technologies, and facilities.

Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority The HRRA supports modifying existing law to make it easier for DEEP to permit new technology that may come along to dispose of municipal solid waste and/or organics in a way that is consistent with the Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy as well as the state's climate change policies.

Mike Paine, President, Paine's Recycling and Rubbish Removal Inc. Mr. Paine supports the legislation although is concerned about the section that proposes to change the definitions of what constitutes a recycling facility.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed

Reported by: Jane Dauphinais

3/15/2016