HB 5475 / File No. 419 will gut the Wetlands Act and the CT Environmental Protection Act

Your help is needed to stop this very bad bill.  Here is how you can help!

If HB 5475 passes as is, Connecticut’s citizens will lose their ability to have a say in bad projects that will harm your waters and your environment. The intention of this bill is to advance affordable housing.    Unfortunately, Section 1c and Section 3 of the bill do nothing to advance affordable housing but undermine years of environmental protection giving carte blanche to housing developers.  These sections will gut the CT Environmental Protection Act and the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act.

  • Contact your State Representative and let them know that Sections 1c and 3 of this bill is bad for the environment and takes away the voice of all communities including environmental justice communities but does not advance affordable housing (see letter for talking points). You can find your legislator here.
  • Contact House and Senate Leadership and tell them that rolling back CT Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act (IWWA) is not good for Connecticut.  We can have affordable housing AND environmental protection, we do not have to chose.  These laws protect all of us.

This letter developed by Save the Sound. provides excellent talking points and background information. Sorry, the deadline to sign on to this letter has passed.

Below are some examples of how these two sections could impact land use.

Section 1c removes the ability for CT residents/organizations/local governments etc. to intervene in proposed housing develops. 

Example – A developer proposes luxury condos in one of our major cities.  This development would gentrify the neighborhood, remove access to open space, and increase impervious cover with potential to increase flooding and the heat island impacts.  Environmental justice organizations would not longer be able to intervene on behalf of the residents because they are not abutters, thus taking away the newly found voices for this underserved communities.

Example – Currently, if a large scale housing development is proposed in a public drinking water supply watershed, the local water utility could file for intervenor status to ensure the the development does not impact water supplies.  With the proposed change, the water utility would not longer be able to intervene in proceedings unless they were abutters.  This would severely limit their ability to be proactive in development projects and protect the drinking water for the communities that they serve.

Section 3 allows municipal legislative bodies to exempt certain properties from IWWA regulations.   As written this is not limited to housing.   Given recent decisions on the Clean Water Act and the impacts of climate change seen over the past few years, this is not the time for CT to undermine our IWWA.

Example – A town council decides to exempt a certain property from IWWA regulations because it is served by sewer and water and development would promote economic development.  The project significantly increases impervious cover and removes riparian buffers, resulting in reduction in water quality and flooding in the down stream area.  Although it requires erosion and sediment controls, the overall development does not follow best management practices for storm water.  The project circumvented IWWA review but proposed no affordable housing or any housing.   Short term economic gain but with long term environmental degradation that results in long term costs for the town to address.