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News From

State Senator

Edward Meyer

Assistant President Pro Tempore

Representing Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison & North Branford

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Contact: Dan Doyle
860-240-8633

February 29, 2012

Environmental Issues Abound

A column by Senator Ed Meyer

Much of my legislative responsibilities, at the beginning of a legislative session, focus on bills introduced by the Environment Committee, of which I am Senate Chairman.

Perhaps the most controversial bills this year relate to the effect of weather on our shoreline. Tropical Storm Irene did damage to the coastline of East Haven, Branford, Guilford and Madison. Some environmental organizations like the Nature Conservancy have introduced initiatives to encourage construction further back from the shoreline, and indeed one bill implies that the state or local communities might exercise a power of eminent domain to promote such a construction retreat. I don’t support our state or town taking our homes!

A very different bill seeks to “harden” the shoreline by permitting, without regulatory intervention, the use of more and larger seawalls to block water invasion during harsh storms and hurricanes. The Environment Committee is wrestling with those alternatives and will seek a reasonable compromise.

Other environmental legislation involves tree-trimming proposals, realizing that the falling of trees during weather emergencies has been the major cause of power outages.

One creative proposal puts homeowner insurance companies in charge of tree trimming. These insurance carriers would coordinate with town tree wardens to establish a tree- trimming project for each town, and the insurance company would advance the funds to pay for the projects. The cost would then be passed on to the homeowner insurance policyholders.

Other environmental bills of interest include an effort (which I oppose) to repeal the pesticide ban on the school grounds of younger children in grades kindergarten through 8. The case has been made that pesticides are highly toxic to young children, and we are encouraging our elementary and middle schools to go organic on their school grounds.

The Environment Committee is also looking at safe ways to dispose of pharmaceutical waste and mercury-laden objects. Further, we are seeking a plan to fix the many leaking and contaminating underground storage tanks of our gas stations. Some of these tanks go back to the 1920’s and 30’s.

 

Committees

Chair: Environment

Vice-Chair: Government Administration & Elections

Member: Commerce; Judiciary

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Hartford, CT 06106-1591

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