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Connecticut State Capitol

Attention land trusts! Please read the following action alert from Denise Savageau. CLCC has signed on to Save the Sound’s letter referenced below. We urge your land trust to consider doing so. The deadline to sign on is April 19. If you have any questions, please contact Amy at abpaterson@ctconservation.org 

CLCC’s testimony in opposition to HB 5475 is here »

Action Alert: STOP HB 5475 and the weakening of key environmental regulations

The Environmental Community is very concerned about HB 5475. This bill is being pushed forward supposedly to advance affordable housing. Unfortunately, Sections 1c and 3 of the bill do nothing to advance affordable housing but undermine years of environmental protection, giving carte blanche to housing development. These sections attack the CT Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act (IWWA).

We have been watching this bill and hoping that new language would come forward; unfortunately, the substitute language is worse. Here is the current language of the bill »

Your help is needed to stop this very bad bill.  Here is what you can do.  This needs to happen asap as we are nearing the end of the legislative session.

  1. Sign on either as an organization or individual to this letter created by Save the Sound. Let Denise and/or Chase Lindeman with Save the Sound know by Friday, April 19 if you will be signing on.
  2. Contact your State Representative and let them know that Sections 1c and 3 of this bill are bad for the environment and take away the voice of all communities, including environmental justice communities, but do not advance affordable housing (see letter for talking points).
    You can find your legislator here. Ask them to let House Majority Leader Rojas know that this bill should not move forward.
  3. Contact House and Senate Leadership and tell them that rolling back CEPA and IWWA is not good for Connecticut.  We can have affordable housing AND environmental protection, we do not have to chose.  These laws protect all of us and should not be used as a scapegoat for the affordable housing crisis.

    CT House Leadership – Majority

    CT Senate Leadership – Majority

Below are some examples of how these two sections could impact land use.

Section 1c removes the ability for CT residents/organizations/local governments etc to intervene in proposed housing developments.

Example #1 — Currently, if a large scale housing development is proposed in a public drinking water supply watershed, the local water utility could file for intervenor status to ensure the the development does not impact water supplies. With the proposed change, the water utility would not longer be able to intervene in proceedings unless they were abutters. This would severely limit their ability to be proactive in development projects and protect the drinking water for the communities that they serve.

Example #2 — A developer proposes luxury condos in one of our major cities. This development would gentrify the neighborhood, remove access to open space, and increase impervious cover with potential to increase flooding and the heat island impacts. Environmental justice organizations would not longer be able to intervene on behalf of the residents because they are not abutters, thus taking away the newly found voices for this underserved communities.

Section 3 allows municipal legislative bodies to exempt certain properties from IWWA regulations. As written this is not limited to housing. This is extremely problematic and given recent decisions on the Clean Water Act, this is not the time for CT to undermine our IWWA. We need to keep IWWA and land use decisions out of local politics.

Example #3 — A town council decides to exempt a certain property from IWWA regulations because it is served by sewer and water and development would promote economic development. The project significantly increases impervious cover and removes riparian buffers, resulting in reduction in water quality and flooding in the down stream area. Although it requires erosion and sediment controls, the overall development does not follow best management practices for storm water. The project circumvented IWWA review but proposed no affordable housing or any housing. Short term economic gain but with long term environmental degradation that results in long term costs for the town to address.

Thank you in advance helping us stop HR 5475.