Friday, June 29, 2007

Connecticut's Council on Environmental Quality Says the State Isn't Doing So Great on Long Island Sound Issues

The Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality released its annual report yesterday and it says the state isn't doing so well, particularly on water quality and Long Island Sound issues. An excerpt:

Prospects for Long Island Sound are unclear. With substantial investment in sewage treatment plants, Connecticut met short-term goals for removing nitrogen from sewage. The condition of the Sound has improved but hypoxia (low levels of oxygen in the water) continues ... . Hypoxia is expected to persist at least hrough 2014, the year that Connecticut and New York have pledged to meet their ultimate nitrogen-removal goals. Beach closings have been fairly constant ... , and lobsters hit a new low in 2006,,,

The treatment of sewage is much better than it was a generation ago, and about half of the major sewer overflows were corrected by two decades of reconstruction....

State government and the shellfish industry invested several million dollars since 1987 in the improvement and monitoring of oyster beds, and the result has been a fairly constant expansion of the areas suitable for shellfish growth.... Oyster stocks were hit hard by two diseases in 1997 and 1998 and have not yet recovered.

More than 500 acres of compromised tidal wetlands have been restored to ecological health by direct action of the state and many partners since 1994. During that time, only a few acres were lost to permitted activities. (Many old unpermitted disturbances and structures remain, however.) ...

The overall result was slow and steady progress, but not enough to reach most statewide goals and not across all programs. Some of the greatest improvements have been achieved in programs that require only small amounts of public funding, such as wetlands conservation, air pollution control and industrial waste management. Meanwhile, programs that require substantial state investment are lagging.

That last sentence is a clear reference to the Clean Water Fund. A year ago I criticized the CEQ for issuing a report that ignored the state legislature's refusal to put adequate money in the Clean Water Fund and the CEQ's executive director, Karl Wagener, responded that it's been their policy to follow actual environmental trends rather than political or policy trends, which was a reasonable answer. You can read what both of us wrote, here.

The full report can be found here, and news accounts are here and here.

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Blogger Sam said...

Show me the money. If the CEQ has a job to follow trends so be it but show me the money. Sure, it is expensive and all decisions on the budget go through legislature and through committees and many line items don't make it or are woefully under-funded. But show me the trends in money spent and I can show you a correlation with a cleaner Sound.

Think about it, it is pretty ludicrous for a paper-pushing bureaucracy such as CEQ to say they don't rely on "paper trends" when in fact they do it for a freaking living!

But let's give the CEQ a break. Usually state agencies and commissions are prohibited from engaging in lobbying and perhaps that is what they're trying to say.

Nobody is asking the CEQ to predict the water contaminants and physical characteristics if $200M was invested. Too bad you don't have it though. /sam

8:59 PM  

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