Advisory Board Panel Meeting
May 7, 2013
Arlington, VAdownload the LWVUS letter in pdf
The League of Women Voters has a long history of conducting research, examining issues from various perspectives, and reaching positions based on consensus.i Advocacy, based on these positions, is an important part of League activity. I am Jessica Jones speaking on behalf of the Leagues of Women Voters of the United States and our State signatories.
We are concerned that hydraulic fracturingii has occurred extensively and continues to occur in over 30 states without the completion of a comprehensive, transparent, science-based, peer-reviewed study on its potential impact on drinking water resources. We are therefore highly dependent on this EPA Study to direct action to prevent damage to public health and the environment.
In reviewing the scope of your investigation, the League urges you to include a thorough examination of EPA’s findings based on test sample analyses in two case studies: Pavillion, Wyoming and Dimock, Pennsylvania. These two sites are in different shale plays and both appear to have experienced water contamination. All investigations conducted at these study sites by the EPA are not included in the EPA’s Progress Report of December 2012. Pavillion is not mentioned at all. Dimock, one of the locations that EPA did test sampling for this Study, is only found in footnote 78 stating no further action is planned at this site.
The League urges the EPA and the Science Advisory Board to examine fully the history and current status of these two critical sites and include them in the study going forward. We ask that the Final Report on the Study address the issues raised at these significant sites.iii The inclusion of Dimock and Pavillion in this EPA study is not intended to exclude the other previously selected sites from consideration.
The public should be assured that non-disclosure agreements, political pressures, and/or financial considerations have not stood in the way of relevant data needed for scientific scrutiny. Sound, reliable, and comprehensive data are essential for building rational explanations and a theoretical understanding of the cumulative impact of hydraulic fracturing on life-sustaining water resources.
In conclusion, the League of Women Voters appreciates the opportunity to provide input for the consideration of the EPA, the Science Advisory Board, and this panel of experts.
Elisabeth MacNamara, President League of Women Voters of the United States
Click below to enlarge, download or print the League's testimony on hydraulic fracking.
Dear Senator Duff, Representative Reed, and members of the Committee on Energy and Technology:
The League of Women Voters of Connecticut appreciates the opportunity to submit written comments in support of SB 807, for which a public hearing was held on February 7, 2013.
The need to conserve water is more important than ever. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the U.S. population has doubled in the past fifty years, with water usage tripling. By this year, more than 36 states face critical water shortages. While Connecticut is fortunately not among those states, measures to conserve water is one way to ensure that an adequate supply of clean, safe drinking water continues to be available for the more than 3 million residents who rely on Connecticut‚s public water systems.
Sections 1-3 of SB 807 address the dichotomy that exists between the need for water utilities to sustain their revenues and efforts aimed at water conservation. Under the current ratemaking structure, water companies are penalized financially for encouraging decreased water consumption, as revenue is directly tied to the quantity of water sold. Through proposals that would allow water companies to sustain revenues in ways other than through increased water sales, SB 807 would effectively remove the barrier that prevents water companies from promoting water conservation.
In Section 1, the Public Utilities Regulatory Agency (PURA) is charged with authorizing rates for water companies that promote conservation. Among other things, these rates shall consider the use of metering and other measures to provide timely price signals to customers and allow for alternative rate designs that promote conservation. The EPA has found that both measures have a significant impact on water usage. Unlike the current uniform rate structure, alternate price structures, such as block rates, time of day, seasonal rates, and water surcharges all encourage water conservation. Furthermore, when coupled with timely price signals, such as more frequent billing, consumers are apt to adjust their behavior in a way that leads to decreased water consumption.
Section 2 allows for the PURA to identify those conservation programs for which water companies will be eligible for recovery. The specification of such programs should increase conservation efforts, as water companies will readily know which programs will allow for recovery and which ones will not.
Section 3 allows for water companies to be „made whole‰ through rate adjustments when actual demand (and hence revenue) falls short of the demand projected in the last general rate case without the need for the utility to request, and go to the expense of, another rate case.
In sum, under the current ratemaking structure water companies are penalized through loss of revenue for efforts to decrease water consumption. Sections 1-3 of the proposed legislation have mechanisms to encourage conservation while also protecting the financial interests of the water utility so that it can meet its established revenue requirements. In order for Connecticut residents to continue to have an adequate, healthy public water supply for decades to come, it is imperative that water utilities undertake efforts to encourage conservation among their customer base. The League of Women Voters of Connecticut supports Sections 1-3 of SB 807.
Carolyn Bayne - Water Resources Specialist, LWV of Connecticut
October 4, 2012
Office of Policy and Management
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
450 Capitol Avenue, MS #54ORG
Hartford, CT 06106-1379
Comments on the Office of Policy and Management revised
Draft 2013-2018 Conservation and Development Policies: A Plan for Connecticut
Dear Mr. Morley,
On behalf of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, I submit the following comments on
the Office of Policy and Management’s revised Draft 2013-2018 Conservation and Development Policies,
specifically with regard to the section on Drinking Water Watersheds.
As you know, three-quarters of Connecticut residents depend on the public water supply for safe,
clean drinking water. Activity occurring in any of these lands that flow into reservoirs directly
affects the quality and purity of our drinking water supply.
To Members of the Planning and Development Committee
The League of Women Voters of Connecticut, a statewide organization with nearly 2000 members, has a strong position in support of policies and programs that protect our state’s drinking water supplies and inland wetlands and watercourses. Based upon this longstanding position, the League urges your support for SB 832 AAC The Protection Of Certain Natural Vegetation Near Rivers.
SB 832 recognizes the substantial research findings that natural vegetation surrounding rivers and watercourses is a vital and cost-effective means to preserve water quality and reduce risks of flooding. Through the work of UCONN’s NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) project and others, it is well documented that water quality deterioration, flooding, negative impacts to plant, fish and other wildlife can occur any time activities disturb the land or water. Much of the remaining undeveloped land in Connecticut contains more wetlands and steep slopes than was typical in the past when we had more land to choose from. As we continue to develop this marginal land, the margin for error shrinks, and the community bears the cumulative costs of all the major and minor mistakes along the way.
As the OFA analysis of this bill notes, there is no fiscal impact. We believe that the establishment of uniform vegetative buffers is a scientifically based and cost-effective measure to protect and ensure the integrity of environmental assets critical to public health and safety.
LWVCT Drinking Water Specialist
Dear Environment Committee Members:
If SB1020 AAC Water Resources and Economic Development is sent to the Environment Committee, LWVCT urges you to oppose it based upon our position in support of policies and programs that protect our state’s watercourses. This bill undermines a multi-year stakeholder process and blocks overdue reforms to protect water resources.
Since the passage of Public Act 05-142 An Act Concerning The Minimum Water Flow Regulations, DEP undertook a five year effort to develop regulations consistent with the law by seeking input from and balancing needs among a wide variety of stakeholders including public officials, water utility representatives, land use lawyers, real estate agents, developers and environmental advocates. The Regulations Review Committee rejected the proposed regulations without prejudice. Stakeholders are working to address concerns. After years of work and an ongoing effort, it would be extraordinarily wasteful and inefficient to taxpayers to “start from scratch” by establishing a totally new process for adoption of overdue regulations to protect our water resources.
In addition to squandering 5 years of work, the proposal will not lead to the balanced approach needed to manage the competing needs for water. Specific provisions of concern include undefined exemptions (what does “not financially viable” mean?); repetitive processes (why propose a new process for the creation of new classification process when a negotiated classification process was already proposed?); “grounds for dismissal” (allows for an easy reversal of a protective classification for economic development without recognition of competing needs for wildlife and recreation).
According to the bill's OLR analysis “The regulations must provide for the needs of public health, flood control, industry, public utilities, water supply, public safety, agriculture, and other lawful water uses...The regulations must also provide for the needs of stream and river ecology, aquatic life, wildlife, and public recreation. ” Is it any wonder it took 5 years to develop the proposed regulations given these competing demands for a limited resource?
LWVCT was among the sponsors of the 2005 Conference “Water Law In Connecticut: Balancing Needs for Fish and Faucet.” All agreed that water is allocated through a patchwork of policies that don’t fit together well.
We do not need another process which fails to provide balance among competing needs for our water resources. Please oppose SB 1020.
Cheryl Dunson, Drinking Water Specialist
CGA Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee March 7, 2011
Comments submitted by Cheryl Dunson, Drinking Water Specialist
The League of Women Voters of Connecticut, a statewide organization with nearly 2000 members, urges your support for sections 9 and 10 of SB 1006 that authorize general obligation and revenue bonds over two years to fund the Clean Water Fund.
The League has long supported programs and policies to improve Connecticut’s waterways and Long Island Sound. Through a combination of grants and low interest loans, the Clean Water Fund has enabled the state and municipalities to work in partnership to correct problems caused by inadequate sewage treatment, combined sanitary and storm sewer overflows, and contaminated runoff.
As a result of approximately 20 years of well-planned Clean Water Fund investments, Connecticut has vastly improved the quality of our water resources and Long Island Sound. This capital investment will continue to improve Connecticut’s environment and maintain its attractiveness as a place to live and work. It will also boost our struggling economy – it will create jobs throughout the state and bolster our water-based recreational and commercial uses, e.g., boating, sport fishing, swimming, and tourism. We urge you to vote in support of bond funding for the Clean Water Fund, an investment that reaps positive returns for Connecticut’s citizens, communities, and economy.
League of Women Voters of Connecticut · 1890 Dixwell Avenue #203·Hamden, CT 06514 · 203/288-7996
The Clean Water Fund bond bill hearing (for FY 2012 & FY 2013) will be 10:30 Monday, March 7th in 2E; details are included below the signature line. We are putting together testimony and are happy to facilitate the movement of testimony from any of you to the committee.
If you are willing and able, it would be super helpful if you could do one of these three things: 1) attend the hearing on Monday and testify in support of sections 9&10 of SB 1006 (attached); 2) send written testimony to us by COB today and we will get a copy to the committee (feel free to build on any of the messages in the updated Clean Water Fund Factsheet (attached)); or 3) sign on to our testimony by tomorrow Friday, March 4th 10 a.m. (can get those interested a copy later today).
Also, we have a sample action alert that we can send to you for circulation to your members or colleagues.
Thanks so much,
-The Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday, March 7, 2011 at 10:30 A.M. in Room 2E of the LOB. All persons planning to testify shall submit 25 copies of written testimony to Committee staff in Room 3700 of the LOB one hour prior to the start of the hearing. Please submit a PDF or Word version of written testimony to finance@cga. ct.gov
by noon on Friday, March 4 2011. If submitting electronically, you must also provide the 25 hard copies. Hearing sign-up will begin at 8:30 A.M. in the break-out space next to Room 2E of the LOB. All sign up will be done by a lottery system. Each person wishing to testify should be in line prior to sign up at 8:30 A.M. At the time of sign up you will draw a number and your name will be placed on the list next to the corresponding number on the sign up sheet. The lottery will conclude at 10:00 A.M., and all those wishing to speak who had not signed up by 10:00 A.M. should report to Room 3700 of the LOB, where your name will be placed at the end of the list. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Ben Barnes, Secretary of OPM. All other speakers will be in the lottery. The public portion will begin at 11:30 A.M. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony. Unofficial sign-up sheets have no standing with the Committee
CGA Commerce Committee February 24, 2011Public Hearing
Opposition to: RB 1020 AAC Water Resources and Economic Development
Testimony by Cheryl Dunson, Drinking Water Specialist The League of Women Voters of Connecticut, a statewide organization with nearly 2,000 members, has a strong position in support of policies and programs that protect our state’s watercourses and watershed lands. Further, the League believes that efficient government requires competent personnel, clear assignment of responsibility, and adequate coordination among the different agencies of government.
Based upon these longstanding positions, we urge you to oppose RB1020 because the bill would circumvent the established Regulation Review process and block much-needed and overdue reforms to protect streamflows.
The passage and signing of Public Act 05-142 An Act Concerning The Minimum Water Flow Regulations required significant multi-year negotiation and compromise to achieve. Since the passage in 2005, the Department of Environmental Protection undertook a five year effort to develop regulations consistent with the law by seeking input from and balancing needs among a wide variety of stakeholders including public officials, water utility representatives, land use lawyers, real estate agents, developers and environmental advocates. After 10-years of work, it would be extraordinarily wasteful and inefficient to taxpayers to “start from scratch” by establishing a totally new process for adoption of overdue regulations to protect our water resources. By amendment to our State's constitution in 1982, the Legislative Regulation Review Committee reviews and adopts or rejects regulations proposed by state agencies.
Specific provisions of concern include undefined exemptions (what does “not financially viable” mean?); repetitive processes (why propose a new process for the creation of new classification process when a negotiated classification process was already proposed?); “grounds for dismissal” (allows for an easy reversal of a protective classification for economic development without recognition of competing needs for wildlife and recreation).
League of Women Voters of Connecticut was among the co-sponsors of the 2005 Conference “Water Law In Connecticut: Balancing Needs for Fish and Faucet.” All agreed that water is an essential, yet limited, resource and it is allocated through a patchwork of policies that don't fit together well.
After 10 years of work, we do not need another process or provisions which fail to provide balance among competing needs for our water resources. We urge you to oppose RB 1020.
1890 Dixwell Avenue, Suite 203, Hamden, CT 06514-3183
Phone (203) 288-7996 Fax (203) 288-7998 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Web site www.lwvct.org