PUBLIC POLICY ALERT
April 22, 2016
Dear Chamber Member,
We need to call your attention to the following bill under consideration at the State Capitol: Substitute Bill 422, "An Act Concerning Residential Water Rates, Public Drinking Water Supply Emergencies and Sellers of Bottled Water," and a related amendment to the bill, LCO 4192.
The hastily drafted bill and amendment were adopted with little discussion or understanding of the implications to public water supplies and economic development in the state. As currently written, the bill and amendment require both existing and future users of large amounts of water - hospitals, colleges and universities, some manufacturers - to get a "diversion permit" from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). The bill/amendment also pave the way for DEEP to require hundreds of longstanding companies that already have permits to obtain a new permit or potentially face a shutdown of their operations.
As the Connecticut Business & Industry Association notes, "Effectively, this would give DEEP the power to decide which new economic development projects or manufacturing operations seeking to come to our state would be allowed to take place or locate here - and if so, where."
The legislation ignores the fact that Connecticut already has significant laws and regulations in place to ensure our water supplies are protected, but from pollution and from overuse. It also fails to recognize that DEEP does not currently have enough staff to process individual water permits of any type. In fact, a typical diversion permit takes more than a year to process. So this bill could place a huge burden on DEEP and leave hundreds of businesses in limbo for years, while negatively affecting the state's already tenuous ability to attract new businesses.
We urge you to contact your legislators and demand that this hastily drafted legislation be reviewed by additional committees to gain a better understanding of its full implications. Failing that, urge them to reject it if it remains in its current form.
The session ends May 4, so please email your legislators as soon as possible. You can cut and paste from the corresponding form on the Chamber's website here. A complete list of legislators from the region is included below.
Thanks for your prompt attention to this matter.
Contact Your Legislators:
Senate Democrats (1-800-842-1420)
Sen. Dante Bartolomeo: Cheshire, Meriden, Middlefield, Middletown
Sen. Joseph J. Crisco Jr.: Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck, Woodbridge
Sen. Joan Hartley: Waterbury, Middlebury
Senate Republicans (1-800-842-1421)
Sen. Rob Kane: Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Middlebury, Oxford, Seymour, Southbury, Roxbury, Washington, Watertown, Woodbury
Sen. Joe Markley: Cheshire, Prospect, Southington, Waterbury, Wolcott
House Democrats (1-800-842-1902)
Rep. Jeff Berger: Waterbury
Rep. Larry Butler: Waterbury
Rep. Theresa Conroy: Beacon Falls, Seymour, Derby
Rep. Mary Fritz: Cheshire, Wallingford
House Republicans (1-800-842-1423)
Rep. Al Adinolfi: Cheshire, Southington, Wallingford
Rep. Eric Berthel: Watertown, Woodbury
Rep. Anthony D'Amelio: Middlebury, Waterbury
Rep. David Labriola: Naugatuck, Oxford, Southbury
Rep. Craig Miner: Bethlehem, Litchfield, Morris, Warren, Woodbury
Rep. Selim Noujaim: Waterbury
Rep. Arthur O'Neill: Bridgewater, Roxbury, Southbury, Washington
Rep. John Piscopo: Burlington, Harwinton, Litchfield, Thomaston
Rep. Rosa Rebimbas: Naugatuck
Rep. Rob Sampson: Southington, Wolcott
Rep. Lezlye Zupkus: Bethany, Cheshire, Prospect