It was a disappointing end to the 2018 General Session, with the failure of the first State Water Plan to be adopted. But the overwhelming public support for the inclusion of "water as a public trust resource" in the plan - and the vehement opposition by industry groups- brought the importance of our environmental protection laws to the forefront. Our 1971 CT General Statute 22a-15 declares as state policy that our air, water, and natural resources are held in the public trust. The plan is intact, still contains its important public trust language, and will return to the General Assembly next year, hopefully to more receptive legislators.
Save Our Water CT is taking a necessary break to re-assess, re-group, and re-strategize for the coming year. As we write, decisions are being made over allowing Tilcon Connecticut to strip mine Class I and II watershed lands, to allow California corporations to buy out CT water utilities, and to potentially re-instate water rate discounts for industrial water bottlers like Niagara Bottling of California.
We hope all those who care deeply for this precious resource make it an issue in the upcoming 2018 elections!
The 2018 legislative session ended at midnight on May 9th with no vote taken on the State Water Plan. After a public hearing on April 17th by the 4 committees of cognizance at at the General Assembly (Environment, Public Health, Planning & Development, and Energy & Technology) further advancement was blocked by a combination of special interest groups. Although a coalition of environmental advocates reached compromise language with the CT Water Works Association (CWWA) and the MDC, the CT Business and Industry Association (CBIA), and Sen. Len Fasano remained firmly opposed. The mere mention that "water as a public trust" was a frequently made public comment during the draft review, along with the citation of CGS 22a-15 in the draft document, was the reported cause. After years of work, the input of countless experts, and over a million dollars of state funds, our first state water plan will sadly need to await next year's legislative session.
With an ongoing bidding war by California corporations for a major CT private water utility, a pending decision on a proposal to grant Tilcon CT access to Class I watershed land for strip mining, and the possible re-introduction of large volume water discounts to Niagara Bottling of CA by the MDC, it's ever more important to make water policy an issue in this fall's elections.
Save Our Water CT
Citizen advocates acting to protect and conserve Connecticut's public trust waters.