New Bill Could Improve Health of Local Communities

House Bill 5103 is intended to give voice to local community members, which in turn could help protect birds and habitat

Update: The day after this post was written, HB5103 was favorably reported out of the Environment Committee. You can contact any legislators on this committee to thank them: Contact info here. 
On February 21, Audubon Connecticut testified in front of our General Assembly’s Environment Committee to say—
We support House Bill 5103, an act intended to strengthen our state’s environmental justice law.
Enacted in 2008, Connecticut’s environmental justice law increased public participation in decision-making related to siting or expanding facilities like power plants or landfills in “environmental justice communities.”
The law defined these communities to help ensure their voices are heard when their health, or the health of their environment, is at stake.
HB5103 is a new house bill requiring an evaluation of the 2008 law, in an effort to expand and strengthen some of its definitions, like: 
  • The amendment which deems an application insufficient if environmental justice provisions are not completed, and
  • The amendment that expands the definition of a “community benefit agreement” to include financial resources to mitigate environmental and health impacts to air quality, watercourses, quality of life, asthma rates, and more, above and beyond impacts related to traffic, parking, and noise.
  • The amendment that mandates any municipality which hosts five or more affecting facilities enter a community benefit agreement.
Policy Director Robert LaFrance testifies at a public hearing at the Connecticut General Assembly. Photo: Audubon

Other states, including the State of New York, have been watching how Connecticut’s environmental justice law has progressed over time. In fact, last year the State of New York passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The CLCPA is an ambitious climate bill that puts New York on the path to a cleaner future and serves as a model for the nation. One of the most important provisions of the CLCPA is to identify the most vulnerable areas of the state, including disadvantaged communities, and ensure that they are prioritized to receive support and resources to address the effects of climate change.

To protect birds, we must protect the places we all depend on—and restore a healthier balance to our local communities.
That’s why we’re voicing our support for HB5103, on behalf of birds and people.
And you can too! Contact your Senator and State Representative to let them know you support HB5103. Click here to find your local lawmaker's contact information, along with tips on how to have a successful conversation.


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