On Monday, the Planning & Development Committee of the legislature will be holding a public hearing. On the agenda are four bills of concern to us regarding climate change and adaptation:
- S.B. 459: AAC Local Control of Shoreline Preservation
- S.B. 460: AAC Local Applications for Seawall and Coastal Protection Measures
- S.B. 461: AA Establishing a Task Force to Study Municipal Coastal Management in Times of Emergency
- S.B. 462: AA Establishing a Task Force to Study Seawalls
Storms Irene and Sandy brought back to back devastation to our coastline communities.
Unfortunately, the frequent occurrence of these storms may well be our new normal. It is imperative that Connecticut develop strong policies which will allow us to adapt to our changing shoreline while protecting property, people and our coastal resources.
We understand the pain and worry residents on our coast suffer from in the aftermath of these storms. Unfortunately, S.B. 459 and 460 move Connecticut backwards on coastal protection, not forward. Together, these bills would:
- Exempt seawalls from state and local permitting;
- Significantly curtails DEEPs authority by allowing some construction to move forward without permits and in some cases requiring mandatory approval of many previously unauthorized coastal structures; and
- Promote shoreline armoring.
Irene and Sandy taught us two things: 1- developing on our coast is a game of chance and at some point, we have to stop putting our money on the table, and 2- natural systems like beaches, wetlands and dunes protect our homes, rail-lines and roads by providing buffers during these intense storms.
The Shoreline Preservation Taskforce collected information and provided valuable recommendations to the legislature to help guide the state in its planning effort for sea level rise and other climate change concerns. One of those recommendations includes developing a plan to institute a Connecticut Center for Coasts (S.B. 1013), which will gather information, provide guidance, and explore issues including municipal/state jurisdiction and seawalls. As such, the efforts set forth in SB 461 and 462 are repetitive.
HOW TO TESTIFY
The Planning and Development Committee Public Hearing will be held on Monday, March 18 at 10 A.M. in Room 2A of the Legislative Office Building.
If you would like to testify at the hearing, you must submit 30 copies of written testimony to the Committee clerk at the time of sign-up. Sign-up for the hearing begins at 8:30 A.M. in Room 2100.
If you would like to submit testimony but cannot attend, email your testimony to the Committee Clerk Peter Murszewski, email@example.com, by 8 A.M. Monday.
Posted by Rebecca Kaplan, director of communications for CFE/Save the Sound