If there is ever a year when we need your conservation commission as a member of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC), this is it!
Throughout this challenging state legislative session, CLCC has been on the front line at the Capitol advocating to protect and support programs (such as the Community Investment Act), agencies (such as the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection [CT DEEP] and Council on Environmental Quality), and legislation (such as a constitutional amendment to better protect our public lands) – critical to saving land and other natural resources in your communities.
Whether organizing lobby days, meeting directly with legislators, submitting testimony on important bills, commenting on state policies and plans, or penning Op-Eds, CLCC is a strong and effective voice for land conservation because of the collective strength of our membership.
Here’s an example. When the Governor proposed a sweep of $4.5 million from CT DEEP’s Community Investment Act (CIA) account as part of his 2017 deficit mitigation plan – threatening the availability of funds for the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program (OSWA) – we immediately launched a call to action.
The result? Thanks to intense pressure from towns and land trusts across the state, the final 2017 budget mitigation plan adopted by the General Assembly left DEEP’s CIA account intact.
But that fight is far from over.
As I write this letter, the Connecticut General Assembly is in special session, attempting to enact a state budget before the new fiscal year begins July 1. Budget proposals from both sides of the aisle released during the regular session have included cuts to the CIA during the next biennium – raising the alarm about the future of OSWA, and other critical CIA programs that support open space, farmland preservation/dairy support, historic preservation and affordable housing in your community.
CLCC has once again taken the lead to publicize the importance of the CIA including penning several opinion editorials that were published in papers around the state and distributed to legislators.
With budget negotiations expected to continue, we will not let up!
Your conservation commission is an essential partner in a coalition of advocates that give us the resources and the support to fight hard every day to bring attention to the land conservation programs that make a difference in your town. Please join us as a 2017-18 member at the highest level possible.
On behalf of the CLCC Steering Committee, thank you in advance for your commission’s support!
With warmest regards,
Amy Blaymore Paterson, Executive Director
P.S. Attached are copies of two of CLCC’s opinion editorials in support of the CIA and CEQ, respectively, published by the news media this year. We encourage you to share them with your legislators when making the case to support funding for these critical programs in the biennial budget.