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CFPA Asks You to Save the CEQ!

Karl Wagener, CEQ

You may have heard that the CT Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) was proposed for elimination in the state budget.  This would be a tragic and inexcusable end for Connecticut’s most important environmental watchdog agency.

The Legislative session ends on Wednesday, May 4th at midnight, so we ask you to contact your Legislators by Monday, 4/25 about the importance of saving the CEQ. If your legislators hold leadership positions in the House or Senate, your contact is even more important.

With a budget of less than $250,000, two staff, and an all-volunteer Council, CEQ is a bargain for the public when you consider its responsibilities: 

  • An Annual Report (just released) on the state of Connecticut’s environmental health,
  • The Environmental Monitor which provides for public input on proposed state projects or land transfers that have potential environmental impacts;
  • Monthly public hearings to report progress and enable public input on various environmental concerns; and
  • Recommendations each year to improve Connecticut’s environmental programs or laws.

The need for these important responsibilities would not disappear if CEQ’s staff were eliminated; and the proposal for CEQ’s responsibilities to be picked up by CT DEEP (a department which has received budget cuts and is already understaffed for its important mission) is both unrealistic and less cost-effective than keeping the current CEQ model both intact and independent.

It is critically important to preserve CEQ’s independence which enables CEQ to provide fair, balanced, and unfiltered recommendations to the Administration, the General Assembly, and to the Public. CEQ’s status as a valued watchdog for Connecticut’s environment would quickly come into question if that independence were not honored, and certainly their objectivity in making recommendations to CT DEEP would be undermined.  

The Governor’s Budget Midterm Adjustments for FY 2016-17 proposes the elimination of CEQ’s budget, staff, and independence.  This would be a tragedy for Connecticut’s environment.  Please don’t let this happen and do what you can do to save the CEQ!