DEEP: Connecticut Environmental Policy Act Fact Sheet

Connecticut Environmental Policy Act
An Environmental Permitting Fact Sheet

Program Overview

The purpose of the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act, often referred to as "CEPA," is to identify and evaluate the impacts of proposed State actions that could have the potential to significantly affect the environment. This evaluation enables the State agency proposing or funding a project to judge the appropriateness of proceeding with the action in light of its environmental impacts. The process also provides opportunity for public review and comment through an early public scoping process as well as later review of any Environmental Impact Evaluation (EIE).

Authorizing Statutes

Sections 22a-1a through 22a-1h of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) as amended by Public Act 03-123

Regulations

Sections 22a-1a-1 through 22a-1a-12 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies

Applicability

Each State department, institution or agency responsible for the primary recommendation or initiation of a State action, as defined by CGS Section 22a-1c, including an individual activity or sequence of planned activities proposed to be undertaken or funded, in whole or in part, by the State, is responsible for conducting an environmental assessment of such action.  An Environmental Classification Document (ECD) lists typical agency actions that are subject to CEPA review.

Early Public Scoping Process

For most types of State actions listed in the ECD, the sponsoring agency conducts an early public scoping process in order to gather relevant information and comments from other State agencies and the public before deciding to prepare an EIE.  Some types of projects require an EIE.  In either case, the sponsoring agency provides a scoping notice that is published in the Environmental Monitor section of the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) website.

The sponsoring agency may hold a public scoping meeting at which certain details of the proposed action will be presented including, but not limited to, a description of the action, its purpose and need, potential sites, any limitations of those sites, and any potential alternatives to the action.

Members of the public and any interested State agency representatives may submit comments to the sponsoring agency on the nature and extent of any environmental impacts of the proposed action. The comment period will extend at least thirty days after the notice is published in the Environmental Monitor, or at least five days following a public scoping meeting, if held.
 
The sponsoring agency decides whether to prepare an EIE based on its internal review and the results of the scoping process.  If the sponsoring agency determines that an EIE does not need to be prepared for the proposed project, it publishes a written memorandum in the Environmental Monitor that documents its findings and a determination of the proposed action's environmental significance using the criteria set forth in Section 22a-1a-3 of the RSCA.  If an EIE is prepared, the CEPA process proceeds as outlined below.
Environmental Impact Evaluation (EIE) The EIE is a detailed written evaluation of the environmental impacts of the proposed State agency's action. The sponsoring agency shall consider any comments received and evaluate any substantive issues raised during the public scoping process in the environmental impact evaluation. The environmental impact evaluation must include: a description of the proposed action; a statement of its purpose and need; a description of the environment of the area which would be affected by the proposed action as it currently exists; a description and analysis of the reasonable alternatives to the proposed action; a discussion of the potential environmental impact of the proposed action and mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate the impact.

Environmental impacts include those involving: air and water quality; ambient noise levels; public water supply systems; groundwater, flooding, and erosion or sedimentation; natural land resources and formations, including coastal and inland wetlands; historic, archeological, cultural, or recreational resources; natural communities, including critical animal or plant species and their habitats; resident or migratory fish or wildlife species; use of pesticides, or toxic or hazardous materials; aesthetic or visual effects; disruption of an established community or neighborhood; displacement or addition of substantial numbers of people; substantial increase in traffic; substantial increase in the type or rate of energy use; or creation of a hazard to human health or safety.

Review and Processing

After completion of an EIE, it is circulated to other State agencies, including the DEEP, and is made available for public review at the office of the local town clerk. Notice of the availability of the document is also published in the Environmental Monitor and local newspaper. The public has 45 days to comment on an EIE. The sponsoring agency reviews and responds to all comments and prepares a Record of Decision stating whether all practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm have been adopted or reasons why they have not.  The Office of Policy and Management determines whether the environmental documentation is adequate.

Public Participation

A public hearing is required during the public scoping process, or upon notice of the EIE, if requested by 25 people or a group representing 25 people.

Note: CEQ's Environmental Monitor webpage provides a range of background information on the CEPA process including how to request a public meeting and what to expect at a scoping meeting.

Contact Information

OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
79 ELM STREET
HARTFORD, CT 06106-5127

860-424-4114

This overview is designed to answer general questions and provide basic information. You should refer to the appropriate statutes and regulations for the specific regulatory language of the CEPA process and the various permit programs.

Fact Sheet: DEP-FS-009
Content Last Updated on October 31, 2011

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