Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 259

    February Session, 2018

House Bill No. 5456

House of Representatives, April 5, 2018

The Committee on Environment reported through REP. DEMICCO of the 21st Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING LOCAL REPRESENTATION ON THE CONNECTICUT SITING COUNCIL AND THE LANGUAGE OF PROPERTY OWNER NOTICES FOR CERTAIN FACILITY APPLICATIONS.

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

Section 1. Section 16-50j of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) There is established a "Connecticut Siting Council", hereinafter referred to as the "council", which shall be within the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for administrative purposes only.

(b) Except for proceedings under chapter 445, this subsection and subsection (c) of this section, the council shall consist of: (1) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, or his designee; (2) the chairperson of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, or the chairperson's designee; (3) one designee of the speaker of the House and one designee of the president pro tempore of the Senate; and (4) five members of the public, to be appointed by the Governor, at least two of whom shall be experienced in the field of ecology, and not more than one of whom shall have affiliation, past or present, with any utility or governmental utility regulatory agency, or with any person owning, operating, controlling, or presently contracting with respect to a facility, a hazardous waste facility, as defined in section 22a-115, or an ash residue disposal area.

(c) For proceedings under chapter 445, subsection (b) of this section and this subsection, the council shall consist of (1) the Commissioners of Public Health and Emergency Services and Public Protection or their designated representatives; (2) the designees of the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate as provided in subsection (b) of this section; (3) the five members of the public as provided in subsection (b) of this section; and (4) four ad hoc members, three of whom shall be electors from the municipality in which the proposed facility is to be located and one of whom shall be an elector from a neighboring municipality likely to be most affected by the proposed facility. The municipality most affected by the proposed facility shall be determined by the permanent members of the council. If any one of the five members of the public or of the designees of the speaker of the House of Representatives or the president pro tempore of the Senate resides (A) in the municipality in which a hazardous waste facility is proposed to be located for a proceeding concerning a hazardous waste facility or in which a low-level radioactive waste facility is proposed to be located for a proceeding concerning a low-level radioactive waste facility, or (B) in the neighboring municipality likely to be most affected by the proposed facility, the appointing authority shall appoint a substitute member for the proceedings on such proposal. If any appointee is unable to perform his duties on the council due to illness, or has a substantial financial or employment interest which is in conflict with the proper discharge of his duties under this chapter, the appointing authority shall appoint a substitute member for proceedings on such proposal. An appointee shall report any substantial financial or employment interest which might conflict with the proper discharge of his duties under this chapter to the appointing authority who shall determine if such conflict exists. If any state agency is the applicant, an appointee shall not be deemed to have a substantial employment conflict of interest because of employment with the state unless such appointee is directly employed by the state agency making the application. Ad hoc members shall be appointed by the chief elected official of the municipality they represent and shall continue their membership until the council issues a letter of completion of the development and management plan to the applicant.

(d) For proceedings involving any electric distribution company, in addition to the membership provided for in subsection (b) of this section, the council shall consist of one elector from each municipality in which such facility is proposed to be located. Each such member shall serve as a nonvoting member for purposes of such proceeding.

[(d)] (e) The chairman of the council shall be appointed by the Governor from among the five public members appointed by him, with the advice and consent of the House or Senate, and shall serve as chairman at the pleasure of the Governor.

[(e)] (f) The public members of the council, including the chairman, the members appointed by the speaker of the House and president pro tempore of the Senate and the four ad hoc members specified in subsection (c) of this section, shall be compensated for their attendance at public hearings, executive sessions, or other council business as may require their attendance at the rate of two hundred dollars, provided in no case shall the daily compensation exceed two hundred dollars.

[(f)] (g) The council shall, in addition to its other duties prescribed in this chapter, adopt, amend, or rescind suitable regulations to carry out the provisions of this chapter and the policies and practices of the council in connection therewith, and appoint and prescribe the duties of such staff as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. The chairman of the council, with the consent of five or more other members of the council, may appoint an executive director, who shall be the chief administrative officer of the Connecticut Siting Council. The executive director shall be exempt from classified service.

[(g)] (h) Prior to commencing any hearing pursuant to section 16-50m, the council shall consult with and solicit written comments from (1) the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Department of Public Health, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of Agriculture, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, the Office of Policy and Management, the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Department of Transportation, and (2) in a hearing pursuant to section 16-50m, for a facility described in subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Department of Consumer Protection, the Department of Administrative Services and the Labor Department. Copies of such comments shall be made available to all parties prior to the commencement of the hearing. Subsequent to the commencement of the hearing, said departments and council may file additional written comments with the council within such period of time as the council designates. All such written comments shall be made part of the record provided by section 16-50o. Said departments and council shall not enter any contract or agreement with any party to the proceedings or hearings described in this section or section 16-50p that requires said departments or council to withhold or retract comments, refrain from participating in or withdraw from said proceedings or hearings.

Sec. 2. Subsection (b) of section 16-50l of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) Each application shall be accompanied by proof of service of a copy of such application on: (1) Each municipality in which any portion of such facility is to be located, both as primarily proposed and in the alternative locations listed, and any adjoining municipality having a boundary not more than two thousand five hundred feet from such facility, which copy shall be served on the chief executive officer of each such municipality and shall include notice of the date on or about which the application is to be filed, and the zoning commissions, planning commissions, planning and zoning commissions, conservation commissions and inland wetlands agencies of each such municipality, and the regional councils of governments which encompass each such municipality; (2) the Attorney General; (3) each member of the legislature in whose assembly or senate district the facility or any alternative location listed in the application is to be located; (4) any agency, department or instrumentality of the federal government that has jurisdiction, whether concurrent with the state or otherwise, over any matter that would be affected by such facility; (5) each state department, agency and commission named in subsection (h) of section 16-50j, as amended by this act; and (6) such other state and municipal bodies as the council may by regulation designate. A notice of such application shall be given to the general public, in municipalities entitled to receive notice under subdivision (1) of this subsection, by the publication of a summary of such application and the date on or about which it will be filed. Such notice shall be published under the regulations to be promulgated by the council, in such form and in such newspapers as will serve substantially to inform the public of such application and to afford interested persons sufficient time to prepare for and to be heard at the hearing prescribed in section 16-50m. Such notice shall be published in not less than ten-point type. A notice of such an application for a certificate for a facility described in subdivision (3), (4), (5) or (6) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i shall also be sent, by certified or registered mail, to each person appearing of record as an owner of property which abuts the proposed primary or alternative sites on which the facility would be located. Such notice shall be sent at the same time that notice of such application is given to the general public. Notice of an application for a certificate for a facility described in subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i shall also be provided to each electric distribution company customer in the municipality where the facility is proposed to be placed. Such notice shall (A) be provided on a separate enclosure with each customer's monthly bill for one or more months, (B) be provided by the electric distribution company not earlier than sixty days prior to filing the application with the council, but not later than the date that the application is filed with the council, and (C) include: A brief description of the project, including its location relative to the affected municipality and adjacent streets; a brief technical description of the project including its proposed length, voltage, and type and range of heights of support structures or underground configuration; the reason for the project; the address and a toll-free telephone number of the applicant by which additional information about the project can be obtained; and a statement in print no smaller than twenty-four-point type size stating "NOTICE OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF A HIGH VOLTAGE ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION LINE". Any notice provided pursuant to this subsection to any person appearing of record as an owner of property which abuts the proposed primary or alternative site on which the facility would be located shall be written in layman's terms.

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

Section 1

October 1, 2018

16-50j

Sec. 2

October 1, 2018

16-50l(b)

ENV

Joint Favorable

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill has no fiscal impact. It requires, for any Connecticut Siting Council proceeding involving an electric distribution company, the council membership to include an elector of the municipality where a facility is being proposed. It also requires council proceeding notices provided to certain property owners to be written in “layman's terms.”

The Out Years

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5456

AN ACT CONCERNING LOCAL REPRESENTATION ON THE CONNECTICUT SITING COUNCIL AND THE LANGUAGE OF PROPERTY OWNER NOTICES FOR CERTAIN FACILITY APPLICATIONS.

SUMMARY

This bill requires, for any Connecticut Siting Council proceeding involving an electric distribution company (EDC, i.e., Eversource or United Illuminating), the council membership to include an elector of the municipality where a facility is being proposed. The elector must serve as a nonvoting member for purposes of the proceeding. (The bill does not indicate who appoints the elector.)

The bill also requires council proceeding notices provided to certain property owners to be written in “layman's terms.” This applies to notices sent to an owner of property that abuts a proposed primary or alternative site on which a certain type of facility would be located when the council has received an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018

SITING COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP

This bill requires, for any Siting Council proceeding involving an EDC, the council membership to include, as a nonvoting member, an elector of the municipality where a facility is being proposed.

Under current law, the membership consists of the following:

At least two of the public members must have experience in ecology, and no more than one may have any affiliation, past or present, with a utility; a utility regulatory agency; or a person owning, operating, controlling, or contracting with a facility, a hazardous waste facility, or ash residue disposal area.

By law, public members of the council must be compensated for their attendance at public hearings, executive sessions, or other council business at the rate of $200, up to $250 per day.

NOTICE OF CERTIFICATE APPLICATION

The bill requires council proceeding notices sent to certain abutting landowners to be written in layman's terms. This applies when a notice is sent to a landowner who abuts a proposed primary or alternative site on which a certain type of facility is proposed to be located. In this case, a facility means the following:

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

30

Nay

0

(03/22/2018)

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