Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 78

February Session, 2016

 

LCO No. 732

 

*00732_______ENV*

Referred to Committee on ENVIRONMENT

 

Introduced by:

 

(ENV)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING THE DISPOSITION OF DREDGED MATERIALS FROM CERTAIN HARBORS AND PORTS ON LONG ISLAND SOUND.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (c) of section 22a-92 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(c) In addition to the policies stated in subsections (a) and (b), the following policies are established for federal and state agencies in carrying out their responsibilities under this chapter:

(1) Policies concerning development, facilities and uses within the coastal boundary are: (A) To minimize the risk of spillage of petroleum products and hazardous substances, to provide effective containment and cleanup facilities for accidental spills and to disallow offshore oil receiving systems that have the potential to cause catastrophic oil spills in the Long Island Sound estuary; (B) to disallow any filling of tidal wetlands and nearshore, offshore and intertidal waters for the purpose of creating new land from existing wetlands and coastal waters which would otherwise be undevelopable, unless it is found that the adverse impacts on coastal resources are minimal; (C) to initiate in cooperation with the federal government and the continuing legislative committee on state planning and development a long-range planning program for the continued maintenance and enhancement of federally maintained navigation facilities in order to effectively and efficiently plan and provide for environmentally sound dredging and disposal of dredged materials in a manner that is informed by benthic studies and surveys and that disfavors the open water placement of dredged materials; to encourage, through the state permitting program for dredging activities, the maintenance and enhancement of existing federally maintained navigation channels, basins and anchorages and to discourage the dredging of new federally maintained navigation channels, basins and anchorages; (D) to reduce the need for future dredging by requiring that new or expanded navigation channels, basins and anchorages take advantage of existing or authorized water depths, circulation and siltation patterns and the best available technologies for reducing controllable sedimentation; (E) to disallow new dredging in tidal wetlands except where no feasible alternative exists and where adverse impacts to coastal resources are minimal; (F) to require that new or improved shoreline rail corridors be designed and constructed so as (i) to prevent tidal and circulation restrictions and, when practicable, to eliminate any such existing restrictions, (ii) to improve or have a negligible adverse effect on coastal access and recreation and (iii) to enhance or not unreasonably impair the visual quality of the shoreline; (G) to require that coastal highways and highway improvements, including bridges, be designed and constructed so as to minimize adverse impacts on coastal resources; to require that coastal highway and highway improvements give full consideration to mass transportation alternatives and to require that coastal highways and highway improvements where possible enhance, but in no case decrease coastal access and recreational opportunities; (H) to disallow the construction of major new airports and to discourage the substantial expansion of existing airports within the coastal boundary; to require that any expansion or improvement of existing airports minimize adverse impacts on coastal resources, recreation or access; (I) to manage the state's fisheries in order to promote the economic benefits of commercial and recreational fishing, enhance recreational fishing opportunities, optimize the yield of all species, prevent the depletion or extinction of indigenous species, maintain and enhance the productivity of natural estuarine resources and preserve healthy fisheries resources for future generations; (J) to make effective use of state-owned coastal recreational facilities in order to expand coastal recreational opportunities including the development or redevelopment of existing state-owned facilities where feasible; (K) to require as a condition in permitting new coastal structures, including but not limited to, groins, jetties or breakwaters, that access to, or along, the public beach below mean high water must not be unreasonably impaired by such structures and to encourage the removal of illegal structures below mean high water which unreasonably obstruct passage along the public beach; and (L) to promote the revitalization of inner city urban harbors and waterfronts by encouraging appropriate reuse of historically developed shorefronts, which may include minimized alteration of an existing shorefront in order to achieve a significant net public benefit, provided (i) such shorefront site is permanently devoted to a water dependent use or a water dependent public use such as public access or recreation for the general public and the ownership of any filled lands remain with the state or an instrumentality thereof in order to secure public use and benefit in perpetuity, (ii) landward development of the site is constrained by highways, railroads or other significant infrastructure facilities, (iii) no other feasible, less environmentally damaging alternatives exist, (iv) the adverse impacts to coastal resources of any shorefront alteration are minimized and compensation in the form of resource restoration is provided to mitigate any remaining adverse impacts, and (v) such reuse is consistent with the appropriate municipal coastal program or municipal plan of development.

(2) Policies concerning coastal land and other resources within the coastal boundary are: (A) To manage estuarine embayments so as to ensure that coastal uses proceed in a manner that assures sustained biological productivity, the maintenance of healthy marine populations and the maintenance of essential patterns of circulation, drainage and basin configuration; to protect, enhance and allow natural restoration of eelgrass flats except in special limited cases, notably shellfish management, where the benefits accrued through alteration of the flat may outweigh the long-term benefits to marine biota, waterfowl, and commercial and recreational finfisheries and (B) to maintain, enhance, or, where feasible, restore natural patterns of water circulation and fresh and saltwater exchange in the placement or replacement of culverts, tide gates or other drainage or flood control structures.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

22a-92(c)

Statement of Purpose:

To establish a preference for not disposing of harbor and port dredged materials through open water placement and to have benthic surveys and studies inform the decision of how to dispose of such dredged materials.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]