DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
CONNECTICUT ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT
The regulations of Connecticut state Agencies are amended by adding sections 22a-1a-1 to 22a-1a-12, inclusive, as follows:
Sec. 22a-1a-1. Definitions
As used in Secs. 22a-1a-1 through 22a-1a-12, inclusive:
1. Act means Secs. 22a-1 to 22a-1f of the Connecticut General Statutes.
2. Action means an individual activity or a sequence of planned activities initiated or proposed to be undertaken by an agency or agencies, or funded in whole or in part by the state. Actions include, but are not limited to, capital improvements, alterations, repairs, or additions to the real property of the state; acquisition of real property for the purpose of capital improvements; lease/purchase agreements; grants-in-aid or financial assistance for housing, business, industry, restoration or demonstration projects; or other proposed activity for which an agency exercises judgment or discretion as to the propriety of that action.
3. Environment means the physical, biological, social, and economic surroundings and conditions which exist within an area which may be affected by a proposed action including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, noise, objects of historic or aesthetic significance and community or neighborhood characteristics.
4. Environmental Assessment means a process to determine if a proposed action listed under Section 22a-1a-4(b)(2) may have a significant impact on the environment.
5. Environmental Classification Document means a document used by a sponsoring agency in conjunction with these regulations to determine which of its actions may have significant impacts.
6. Environmental Impact Evaluation means a detailed written document concerning the environmental impacts of a proposed action.
7. Finding of No Significant Impact means a written document concerning the environmental impacts of a proposed action listed in an environmental classification document which would not have a significant environmental impact.
8. Sponsoring Agency means an agency responsible for the preparation of environmental classification documents, environmental impact evaluations, and findings of no significant impact.
Sec. 22a-1a-2. Determination of sponsoring agency
(a) Each agency responsible for the primary recommendation or initiation of actions is considered a sponsoring agency for the purpose of preparing environmental classification documents, environmental impact evaluations, and findings of no significant impact. When more than one agency is involved in the primary recommendation or initiation of an action, one of those agencies shall act as the sponsoring agency. The participating agency which is determined not to be the sponsoring agency shall share the responsibility for the scope and content of documents prepared pursuant to these regulations.
(b) The determination of sponsoring agency shall be based on:
1. Magnitude of agency's involvement;
2. Activity approval/disapproval authority;
3. Expertise concerning the action's environmental effects;
4. Duration of agency's involvement;
5. Sequence of agency's involvement.
(c) The sponsoring agency may delegate the task of preparing environmental impact evaluations and findings of no significant impact. When such a document is prepared under contract for the sponsoring agency, the contractor shall execute a disclosure statement specifying that it has no financial interest in the outcome of the action. If an environmental document is prepared by contract, the sponsoring agency and other participating agencies shall furnish guidance and participate in the preparation and shall independently evaluate the document prior to its general circulation.
Sec. 22a-1a-3. Determination of environmental significance
Significant effect means substantial adverse impact on the environment. The significance of a likely consequence should be assessed in connection with its setting, its probability of occurring, its duration, its irreversibility, its controllability, its geographic scope, and its magnitude. The following factors shall be considered by agencies in preparation of environmental classification documents and in determining whether a proposed action may be expected to have a significant environmental effect.
(a) Direct and indirect effects. Direct effects are the primary environmental consequences which would result from the implementation of a proposed action. Indirect effects are the secondary consequences on local or regional social, economic or natural conditions or resources which could result from additional activities (associated investments and changed patterns of social and economic activities) induced or stimulated by the proposed action, both in the short-term and in the long-term. For the purposes of determining environmental significance, direct and indirect effects on the environment shall be considered, including but not limited to the following potential or actual consequences:
(1) Impact on air and water quality or on ambient noise levels;
(2) Impact on a public water supply system or serious effects on groundwater, flooding, erosion or sedimentation;
(3) Effect on natural land resources and formations, including coastal and inland wetlands, and the maintenance of in-stream flows;
(4) Disruption or alteration of an historic, archeological, cultural, or recreational building, object, district, site or its surroundings;
(5) Effect on natural communities and upon critical species of animal or plant and their habitats; interference with the movement of any resident or migratory fish or wildlife species;
(6) Use of pesticides, toxic or hazardous materials or any other substance in such quantities as to create extensive detrimental environmental impact;
(7) Substantial aesthetic or visual effects;
(8) Inconsistency with the written and/or mapped policies of the Statewide Plan of Conservation and Development and such other plans and policies developed or coordinated by the Office of Policy and Management or other agency;
(9) Disruption or division of an established community or inconsistency with adopted municipal and regional plans;
(10) Displacement or addition of substantial numbers of people;
(11) Substantial increase in congestion (traffic, recreational, other);
(12) A substantial increase in the type or rate of energy use as a direct or indirect result of the action;
(13) The creation of a hazard to human health or safety;
(14) Any other substantial impact on natural, cultural, recreational or scenic resources.
(b) Cumulative Impacts. Cumulative impacts are the impacts on the environment which result from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present or reasonably foreseeable future actions to be undertaken by the sponsoring agency. For the purposes of these regulations, cumulative impacts include the incremental effects of similar actions with similar environmental impacts and the incremental effects of a sequence of actions undertaken pursuant to an ongoing agency program which may have a significant environmental impact, whereas the individual component actions would not.
Sec. 22a-1a-4. Environmental classification documents
(a) Each sponsoring agency shall prepare an environmental classification document.
(b) The agency environmental classification document shall include:
(1) A list of typical agency actions which may have significant impacts on the state's land, water, air or other environmental resources, or which could serve short-term to the disadvantage of long-term environmental goals, thereby requiring the preparation of an environmental impact evaluation.
(2) A list of typical agency actions whose degree of impact is indeterminate, in the absence of information on the proposed location and scope of a specific action, but which could have significant environmental impacts. For each of these listed actions, when one is proposed, the sponsoring agency shall undertake an environmental assessment, using the criteria set forth in Section 22a-1a-3, to determine whether it shall prepare an environmental impact evaluation or a finding of no significant impact.
(3) A list of typical federal/state actions for which environmental impact statements are prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, and for which the agency is the cognizant or sponsoring agency in the state.
Sec. 22a-1a-5. Review of agency environmental classification documents
(a) Each sponsoring agency shall file its environmental classification document with the Office of Policy and Management not later than sixty (60) days after the effective date of these regulations.
(b) Each environmental classification document shall be made available to the Department of Environmental Protection, the Council on Environmental Quality, and other appropriate governmental agencies as determined by the sponsoring agency. The sponsoring agency shall also make it available to interested persons.
(c) The sponsoring agency shall publish a notice of the availability of its environmental classification document in the Connecticut Law Journal and such other newspapers, journals, and periodicals as it deems adequate to insure adequate public notice.
(d) Any person may comment, in writing, on any environmental classification document within forty-five (45) days of the date of its availability. All comments should be forwarded to the Office of Policy and Management, which shall distribute them to the Department of Environmental Protection, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the sponsoring agency.
(e) The Office of Policy and Management, following consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Council on Environmental Quality and the sponsoring agency shall approve each environmental classification document, or disapprove it with recommendations for change. Upon approval, each environmental classification document shall be filed with the Office of Policy and Management and shall be the basic criterion for the agency's determination whether or not to prepare an environmental study.
Sec. 22a-1a-6. Revision of environmental classification documents
Each environmental classification document shall be amended by the sponsoring agency to reflect significant changes in the agency's programs or operations. Each sponsoring agency shall review and revise as necessary its environmental classification document at least every two years following initial approval by the Office of Policy and Management.
Sec. 22a-1a-7. Environmental impact evaluations
(a) Environmental impact evaluations shall be prepared for those proposed actions listed in an environmental classification document which may have significant environmental impacts. They shall provide full and fair discussions of environmental impacts, inform decision makers and the public of all reasonable alternatives, and compare the impacts of the alternatives on the environment.
(b) An environmental impact evaluation shall be prepared as close as possible to the time an agency proposes an action. The evaluation shall be prepared early enough so that it can practically serve as an important contribution to the decision-making process and shall not be used to rationalize or justify decisions already made. Preparation of an environmental impact evaluation shall not prevent an agency from conducting contemporaneous engineering, economic, feasibility and other studies which do not otherwise commit the agency to commence or engage in such action or limit the choice of reasonable alternatives.
(c) The sponsoring agency shall conduct an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed in an environmental impact evaluation. Through the process, the sponsoring agency shall identify the significant issues to be analyzed in detail, and eliminate from detailed study the issues which are not significant or which have been covered by prior environmental review. The agency shall invite the participation of federal, state and local agencies with special expertise or jurisdiction by law with respect to any relevant environmental impact, and other interested or affected persons. Such consultation may be integrated with any other early planning meetings or early participatory process the agency has.
(d) If an agency is proposing an action which is an interdependent part of a sequence of planned activities which may have a significant environmental impact and depends on the entire sequence for its justification, or which is part of a program of similar activities, the cumulative impact of which may have a significant environmental impact, a single environmental impact evaluation shall be prepared for that sequence or program. Such an environmental impact evaluation shall cover future component actions of a program or sequence of activities provided that there is no substantive change in the action's environmental setting, environmental impacts or alternatives which would merit a revision to the environmental impact evaluation. Subsequent environmental impact evaluations shall be prepared by the sponsoring agency when such actions have environmental impacts not adequately discussed in the initial evaluation.
(e) An environmental impact evaluation shall be clear, concise, and to the point, and written in plain language so that it may be understood by the general public. Impacts shall be discussed in proportion to their significance and the magnitude of the action.
(f) Environmental impact evaluations shall be prepared in a manner which will encourage clear presentation and independent evaluation of the proposed action and reasonable alternatives to it. Summary technical data, maps and diagrams should be presented as to be understandable to the general public. An agency may incorporate material by reference into an environmental impact evaluation when to do so will cut down on bulk without impeding agency and public review of the action. Appendices and referenced documents shall be reasonably available for review, except those materials based on proprietary data.
(g) The environmental impact evaluation shall include:
(1) A brief summary which adequately and accurately summarizes the focus and conclusions of the evaluation. The summary shall include the appropriate agency contact person and an environmental impact evaluation distribution list.
(2) A description of the proposed action, a statement of its purpose and need and a justification for the action. Major assumptions concerning growth and population used to justify the action shall be clearly identified. The location and boundaries of the proposed action, if applicable, shall be indicated on a map of appropriate scale.
(3) A description of the environment of the area which would be affected by the proposed action, as it currently exists prior to commencement of the action. This description shall include the cultural, economic, recreational and ecological characteristics and activities, both in the immediate location of the proposed action and areas that would be affected by the action.
(4) A description and analysis of the reasonable alternatives to the proposed action, particularly those which might enhance environmental quality or avoid some or all of the adverse environmental effects. This discussion shall include but not be limited to alternatives such as taking no action or substituting an action of a significantly different nature which would provide similar benefits with different environmental impacts.
(5) A list of the necessary licenses, permits, certifications or other approvals required to implement the action from government agencies, boards or commissions having relevant regulatory jurisdiction.
(6) A discussion of the potential environmental impact of the proposed action. This discussion shall include:
(A) Direct environmental effects. The primary consequences for the environment during and subsequent to the activity as set forth in Section 22a-1a-3 with emphasis on the most significant effects.
(B) Indirect environmental effects. The secondary consequences for the environment as set forth in Section 22a-1a-3 which result from changes in the pattern of land use, population density, and related effects on air and water or other natural resources.
(C) The relationship of the proposed action to approved land use plans, policies and controls for the affected areas.
(D) Any probable adverse environmental effects which could not be avoided if the proposed action were implemented.
(E) Any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would occur should the proposed action be implemented. Resources means materials devoted to the proposed action and the natural and cultural resources that would be committed to loss or destruction by the action.
(F) Mitigation measures to the proposed action including: limiting the degree or magnitude of the action; rectifying by repairing, rehabilitation or restoring the impacted environment; reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations; compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.
(G) The effects of the proposed activity on energy consumption and energy conservation.
(H) An analysis of the short-term and long-term economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of the proposed action. A comparison of benefits and costs shall be made for reasonable alternatives. The comparative analysis shall explicitly state and evaluate nonquantifiable benefits and costs as well as quantitative benefits and costs.
Sec. 22a-1a-8. Notice, distribution, and review of environmental impact evaluations
(a) The sponsoring agency shall publish notice of the availability of environmental impact evaluations in accordance with Section 22a-1(d) of the Act and shall utilize such other newspapers, journals and periodicals as it deems necessary to insure adequate public notice.
(b) The sponsoring agency shall distribute environmental impact evaluations in accordance with Section 22a-1(d) of the Act. In addition, the sponsoring agency shall distribute environmental impact evaluations to persons who have demonstrated an interest or concern in the proposed action, and other persons it deems necessary to insure effective public participation.
(c) Any person may comment, in writing, on an environmental impact evaluation. The initiating agency shall provide a time period of not less than forty-five (45) days for review and comment. If the proposed action is of unusual scope or complexity, the review period may be extended to sixty (60) days.
Sec. 22a-1a-9. Determination of adequacy
(a) A sponsoring agency shall review all comments submitted on an environmental impact evaluation and any other pertinent information it obtains following circulation of an environmental impact evaluation, and conduct further environmental study and analysis or amend the evaluation if it determines appropriate. In all cases, the sponsoring agency shall prepare responses to the substantive issues raised in review of the environmental impact evaluation, and shall forward such responses, as well as any supplemental materials or amendments and all comments received on the evaluation to the Office of Policy and Management.
(b) The sponsoring agency shall prepare a concise public record of decision, taking into consideration its findings in the environmental impact evaluation, and comments received on that evaluation which it shall forward to the Office of Policy and Management. The record of decision shall state:
(1) The agency's decision relative to proceeding with the proposed action.
(2) Whether all practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm have been adopted, and if not, why they were not.
(c) To insure the sponsoring agency has complied with the procedural requirements of the Act and these regulations, it shall forward to the Office of Policy and Management;
(1) Copies of required notices and other advertisements of the availability of an environmental impact evaluation;
(2) A brief summary of the public hearing record, in those cases when one is conducted in accordance with Section 22a-1a-11;
(3) A brief summary of consultation with agencies and other persons prior to and during the preparation of the environmental impact evaluation as required by Section 22a-1a-7(b).
(d) The Office of Policy and Management shall make a determination as to the adequacy of an environmental impact evaluation in accordance with Section 22a-1(e) of the Act. If the Office of Policy and Management determines that the environmental impact evaluation is inadequate it shall make such determination specifying the areas of inadequacy with reference to the Act and these regulations.
Sec. 22a-1a-10. Finding of no significant impact
(a) If an agency, in the course of an environmental assessment, finds that a proposed action listed in its environmental classification document would not have a significant environmental impact, it shall prepare a finding of no significant impact.
(b) The finding of no significant impact shall include:
(1) A description of the proposed action;
(2) A description of the environment of the area which would be affected by the proposed action, as it currently exists;
(3) The probable impact of the proposed action on the environment, including both primary and secondary effects.
In the finding of no significant impact, the agency shall include information in reasonable detail to support its belief that the environmental impact which would ensue from the proposed action would not be significant.
(c) The finding of no significant impact shall be submitted by the sponsoring agency to the Office of Policy and Management, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Council on Environmental Quality, and other appropriate agencies as determined by the sponsoring agency. It shall also be submitted to the town clerk of each municipality affected by the action, and shall be made available to any interested persons.
(d) Any agency or person may comment, in writing, on a finding of no significant impact within thirty (30) days of the date of its availability. All comments shall be sent to the sponsoring agency, which shall forward them to the Office of Policy and Management.
(e) If no dissenting comments regarding the environmental significance of the proposed action are filed during the comment period, the sponsoring agency may proceed with implementation of the action following notification to the Office of Policy and Management. If one or more dissenting comments are filed during the comment period, the Office of Policy and Management shall recommend, following consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the sponsoring agency, within fifteen (15) days following the end of the comment period, whether an environmental impact evaluation should be prepared for the proposed action. If the Office of Policy and Management determines that a finding of no significant impact is appropriate, the agency may proceed with implementation of the action. If the Office of Policy and Management determines that an environmental impact evaluation is appropriate, one shall be prepared, considered and reviewed in accordance with these regulations.
Sec. 22a-1a-11. Public hearings
Public hearings held pursuant to the Act should be conducted, by the sponsoring agency, no sooner than thirty (30) days following the date of availability of an environmental impact evaluation. Public hearings held pursuant to other statutes on proposed actions shall be considered to fulfill the requirements of the Act provided:
(1) Notification of the hearing states the hearing is being held in accordance with the Act and;
(2) The environmental impact evaluation has been in public circulation for at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of the hearing.
The sponsoring agency shall consider all oral and written comments received at that public hearing in making a final decision on the proposed action.
Sec. 22a-1a-12. Application of these regulations to federal/state actions
Environmental impact statements prepared for federal/state actions may be submitted in lieu of environmental impact evaluations required by these regulations, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. Such federally required environmental impact statements shall be circulated for review and comment in accordance with Section 22a-1a-8 of these regulations, and shall be considered by the Office of Policy and Management in accordance with Section 22a-1a-9 of these regulations.
Statement of Purpose: To provide specific criteria for determining which state actions require environmental impact evaluations under the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act; a procedure for enumerating classes of actions subject to the requirements of the Act; guidelines for the preparation of environmental impact evaluations; procedures for review and comment on environmental impact evaluations; and procedures for effective public participation and effective implementation of the Act.