Please help save CEQ!
Make contact with your legislators today!
The Governor's Budget Midterm Adjustments for FY 2016-17 include the elimination of funding for the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and a transfer of the agency's functions into the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). This proposal will not only undermine the efficacy of having an independent CEQ, but will also place further burdens on an already decimated DEEP staff and budget -- with the public and the quality of our environment likely paying the price.
What is the CEQ?
Created in 1971, CEQ is the state's independent watch-dog agency that the public relies upon to monitor environmental progress, assess the efficacy of state environmental laws, policies and programs, and investigate alleged violations of environmental laws.
CEQ Services include:
- An annual report on the state of Connecticut's environmental health (View 2015 report HERE);
- The Environmental Monitor which keeps the public informed of proposed state projects or land transfers with potential environmental impacts;
- Monthly public meetings and public forums to report progress and provide the public with an opportunity to voice environmental concerns; and
- Annual Recommendations on legislation, testimony and special reports to improve state environmental programs or laws.(See e.g., "Preserved but May Not: The Impermanence of State Conservation Lands" - recommending reforms to better protect public lands)
Acting through its volunteer council and just two staff, with limited support from DEEP for administrative purposes only, CEQ provides the public with these services efficiently, effectively through two staff, an all-volunteer Council and at minimal cost (less than $250,000/year) to the state.
There is likely no other state agency that does so much for so little.
Times are undoubtedly tough, but there are certain services and programs that, if eliminated, will only cost the state in the long run. For the sake of our environment, quality of life and economy, CEQ provides services that the state can ill-afford to lose.
Amy Blaymore Paterson
PS: View legislative session updates as of 4/20/16 HERE.