Substitute House Bill No. 6830

Public Act No. 99-226

An Act Concerning Exemplary Environmental Management Systems.

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

(NEW) (a) Any business required to obtain a permit or other approval from the Commissioner of Environmental Protection to operate in this state may apply to the commissioner for the benefits of the program established under subsection (e) of this section. Such application shall be on forms and in a manner prescribed by the commissioner. The advisory board convened under subsection (c) of this section shall consider, and may approve, such application if the business has demonstrated to the satisfaction of such board that such business (1) has an exemplary record of compliance with environmental laws which shall include, but shall not be limited to, evidence that such business has not been found in violation of any such law, other than a minor violation as determined under section 22a-6s of the general statutes, within the preceding three years; (2) has complied with the provisions of section 22a-6s of the general statutes, and any orders of the commissioner under said section, with regard to any minor violation, as defined in said section; and (3) consistently employs practices in its operation that ensure protection of the natural environment to a degree greater than that required by law.

(b) Upon approval of such application, the commissioner may provide the benefits of the program to the business if the commissioner finds that (1) the business is registered as meeting the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard and has adopted principles for sustainability such as the CERES principles, the Natural Step, the Hanover Principles or equivalent internationally recognized principles for sustainability as determined by the commissioner, or (2) in the case of a small business, as defined in section 32-344 of the general statutes, the business has an equivalent environmental management system which employs a data collection system for the categories of information described in 63 Federal Register 12094 (1998). The environmental management system of any business approved for the program system shall include provisions for commitment of the management of the business to the environmental management system, compliance assurance and pollution prevention, enabling systems, performance and accountability, third-party audits and measurement and improvement. Any business approved for the program shall be issued a certificate by the commissioner evidencing such approval.

(c) The commissioner shall submit an application of a business under subsection (a) of this section to an advisory board convened by the commissioner for consideration of such application. Such board shall consist of a representative of the Council on Environmental Quality; the Attorney General, or a designee; a representative of the industry in which the business is engaged, provided such representative has no business relationship with the applicant; and the commissioner, or a designee.

(d) If the commissioner finds that a business that has been approved for the program ceases to be qualified for the program because it no longer complies with the requirements provided for in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the commissioner shall revoke the certificate issued under subsection (b) of this section and the business shall not be entitled to any further benefits under the program. Any such business may reapply to the program at any time.

(e) The Commissioner of Environmental Protection may establish a pilot program to attract to this state, or to support in this state, businesses which require a permit or other approval from the commissioner in order to operate in this state and which have a history of providing for the best protection of the natural environment in the operations of such business. Such program may be based on any model plan developed by a multistate working group or may replicate a pilot program developed by such a group. Such program shall provide for expedited review of permit applications and a public recognition process which may include issuance to businesses of a symbol or seal signifying the exemplary record of environmental protection and exclusive use of such symbol or seal by the business in its advertising or other public displays. Notwithstanding any provision of title 22a of the general statutes and the regulations adopted by the commissioner under said title, such program may provide for (1) less frequent reporting, consistent with federal law, of information otherwise required to be reported as a condition of the business' operation in this state, (2) a facility-wide permit for all approvals required from the commissioner for operation of a facility operated by the business in this state, (3) a permit that would allow for changes in individual processes at a facility without the need for a new permit provided the total pollutant emissions or discharge from the facility does not increase, or (4) reduced fees for any permit required from the commissioner.

Approved June 29, 1999