OLR Bill Analysis

HB 6528

AN ACT CONCERNING CLEAN MARINAS.

SUMMARY:

This bill boosts the Department of Transportation (DOT) harbor improvement grant amount for, and gives priority to, eligible projects proposed by “certified clean marinas.” These are facilities (1) committed to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's (DEEP) clean marina program and (2) trying to exceed DEEP's regulatory compliance standards.

Current law allows the DOT commissioner to enter into a contract with a municipality, acting through its harbor improvement agency, for a harbor improvement project grant according to a harbor improvement plan. The bill eliminates the need for a (1) municipality to act through a harbor improvement agency, and (2) harbor improvement plan. Instead, it allows a municipality, or any federal or state agency acting on its behalf, to enter into a harbor improvement grant contract with DOT. It requires the DOT commissioner to approve the harbor improvement project, rather than the harbor improvement plan.

As under current law, the DOT commissioner must submit the grant application to the DEEP commissioner for review. The DEEP commissioner must set forth his findings on the grant application in a written report to the DOT commissioner.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2013

CERTIFIED CLEAN MARINAS

Covered Projects

Under the bill, eligible projects include any part of a sediment, dredging, or dredge disposal project for which the marina has received all required permits and certificates and that comply with the laws on harbor improvement projects and grants.

Grant Amounts and Priority Ranking

Certified clean marinas are eligible for an additional grant equal to 10% of a project's costs. They remain eligible for priority ranking until July 1, 2018, or five years from the date of their most recent “certification,” whichever is later. Because the bill refers to “certified clean marinas,” and does not specify a certification process, it appears that a marina need only try to exceed DEEP standards to be certified.

Currently, DEEP's voluntary Connecticut Clean Marina program requires a marina to meet and exceed legal and regulatory environmental standards for DEEP to certify it as a Connecticut Clean Marina (see BACKGROUND). Thus, the duration of the priority ranking is unclear.

Under the bill, a certified clean marina must be engaged in efforts to exceed regulatory compliance by implementing practices to minimize pollution from (1) mechanical activities; (2) cleaning, painting, and fiberglass repair; (3) hauling and storing boats; (4) fueling; and (5) facility management.

BACKGROUND

Clean Marina Program

DEEP certifies a marina as a clean marina if it exceeds the standards for regulatory compliance by minimizing pollution from mechanical activities; cleaning, painting and fiberglass repair; hauling and storing boats; fueling; and facility management. DEEP certifies a marina as a pledged clean marina if it commits to becoming a certified clean marina within one year.

Marinas seeking certification must conduct a self-assessment of their environmental practices, which DEEP must then confirm. According to DEEP, it no longer has the resources to operate the program, and has neither accepted new Clean Marina pledges or conducted certification reviews for more than a year.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Commerce Committee

Joint Favorable Change of Reference

Yea

19

Nay

0

(03/14/2013)

Transportation Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

24

Nay

0

(03/27/2013)