PA 08-186—SB 615

Environment Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION POLICE OFFICERS, CLEANING PRODUCTS, THE STATE HAZARDOUS WASTE PROGRAM, DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS, A STUDY OF THE NORWALK RIVER WATERSHED, AND THE SALE OF CERTAIN REAL PROPERTY

SUMMARY: This act adds Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sworn law enforcement officers to the people whose home addresses are not publicly disclosable by state and local government agencies under the Freedom of Information Act.

It also allows the DEP commissioner to approve solid waste demonstration projects under certain conditions, and specifies, for the purposes of criminal violations of state hazardous waste laws, that certain terms have the same meaning they do under state hazardous waste regulations.

The law prohibits the use of cleaning products in state-owned buildings unless they meet certain guidelines or environmental standards. The act excludes from this restriction products for which these guidelines or standards have not been established, or which are otherwise excluded from them.

It requires DEP, within available resources, to award a grant to the Norwalk Public Works Department to study portions of the Norwalk River watershed, and develop a watershed and flood management plan for it.

By law, sellers of one-to-four family homes and real estate licensees can fully satisfy a duty to disclose the presence of hazardous waste facilities to a prospective purchaser by providing him with written notice of the availability of the list of hazardous waste facilities kept by municipal clerks. Under the act, if a seller provides written notice to the prospective purchaser, before or when entering a contract, of the availability of information on environmental matters from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Response Center, the Defense Department, and third-party providers, the seller and real estate licensee are deemed to have fully satisfied any duty to disclose environmental matters concerning properties other than the home that is the subject of the contract. The act specifies that it does not impose liability on a seller or real estate licensee who does not disclose the required information.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except for the provisions on hazardous waste definitions, demonstration projects, and written notice about environmental matters, which are effective October 1, 2008.

SOLID WASTE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS

The act allows the commissioner to approve a solid waste demonstration project upon finding it (1) is necessary to research, develop, or promote methods and technologies of solid waste management consistent with the goals of the state's solid waste management plan; (2) does not pose a significant human health or environmental risk; and (3) is consistent with the federal Water Pollution Control, Rivers and Harbors, Clean Air, and Resource Conservation and Recovery acts.

People seeking an approval must (1) apply on a form the commissioner prescribes, (2) provide the information the commissioner deems necessary, and (3) pay a $1,000 application fee. They cannot start the project without the commissioner's written approval.

The commissioner may impose conditions on the approval to protect human health and the environment or to ensure a project's success. An approval is valid for two years, but the commissioner may renew it for an additional three years. Under the act, anyone may seek, or the commissioner may require, that a demonstration project also obtain a solid waste permit. The commissioner may order summary suspension according to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act.

DEFINITIONS

The act specifies that, for the purposes of enforcement of certain hazardous waste laws, the terms “treatment,” “storage,” “disposal,” “facility,” “hazardous waste,” and “used oil” have the same meaning as under the state hazardous waste program and regulations authorized under CGS 22a-449(c). The Connecticut Supreme Court declared prior law to be unclear on whether state or federal definitions applied for enforcement purposes (State v. Cote, 286 Conn. 603 (2008)). The state hazardous waste program's regulations incorporate federal hazardous waste law (40 CFR 260) by reference unless otherwise specified.

CLEANING PRODUCTS

The law prohibits anyone from using cleaning products in state-owned buildings unless they meet guidelines or environmental standards set by a national or international certification program approved by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), in consultation with the DEP commissioner. It excludes from this requirement certain disinfectants and other antimicrobial products. The act also excludes products for which no guideline or environmental standard has been established by a DAS-approved national or international certification program, or which is outside the scope of, or otherwise excluded from, these guidelines or standards.

NORWALK RIVER WATERSHED STUDY AND PLAN

The act requires, DEP, within available resources, to award a grant to the Norwalk Public Works Department (DPW) to study, in consultation with Darien and New Canaan, the Five Mile River, Stoney Brook, and Goodwives Creek portions of the Norwalk River Watershed. The Norwalk DPW must develop a watershed and flood management plan that includes a map of the hydrology of the Five Mile River portion and a design to control floods and prevent erosion. DEP must report to the Environment Committee on the status of the plan by January 1, 2009.

BACKGROUND

Residential Addresses Exempt from Disclosure

The Freedom of Information Act prohibits state and local government agencies from disclosing the home addresses of certain specified local, state, and federal employees, with one exception. The prohibition does not apply to personal information, including home addresses, in Department of Motor Vehicles records, which are disclosable to government agencies and others who obtain and agree to use the information only for limited specified purposes.

The law already covers:

1. federal and state judges, federal magistrates, and state family support magistrates;

2. state and local police officers;

3. Judicial, Department of Correction, and Department of Children and Families employees;

4. past and present state prosecutors and public defenders;

5. social workers employed by the Public Defender Services Division;

6. Division of Criminal Justice inspectors;

7. firefighters; and

8. members and employees of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and Board of Pardons and Paroles.

DEP Sworn Law Enforcement Officers

DEP has four categories of sworn law enforcement officers: seasonal special conservation officers, conservation enforcement trainees, police officers, and conservation enforcement officers.

OLR Tracking: PF: VR: JL: ts