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Connecticut Public Acts 1996

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Substitute Senate Bill No. 422

PUBLIC ACT NO. 96-118

AN ACT CONCERNING TECHNICAL AND MINOR REVISIONS TO THE STATUTES RELATING TO AGRICULTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 21 of public act 95-218 is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

When the commissioner determines, based on the size, novelty, complexity or technical difficulty of a project, that work cannot be completed within the schedule for timely action applicable to a permit application pursuant to subdivision (3) of section [18] 20 of [this act] PUBLIC ACT 95-218, the commissioner shall notify the applicant of such determination within thirty days of receiving the permit application, and shall, within forty-five days of providing such notice, establish an alternative permit schedule for timely action.

Sec. 2. Section 22 of public act 95-218 is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

On or before July 1, 1997, and annually thereafter, the commissioner shall submit to the Governor and the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to environment and the Department of Economic and Community Development a report on the permitting efforts of the Department of Environmental Protection in the preceding state fiscal year. Such report shall include, but not be limited to: An identification of revenues received from permit application fees and any revenues derived from the processing of such applications as set forth in chapter 439 of the general statutes and the department's appropriation from the General Fund for permitting activities; the number and amount of permit applications received; the number of permit decisions issued and the number of permits pending; the number and amount of permit application fees refunded; the number of permit applications requiring alternative timely action schedules pursuant to section [19 of this act] 21 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-218; and a summary of the significant improvements the department has made in its permitting programs.

Sec. 3. Section 2 of public act 95-333 is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

As used in sections 1 to 9, inclusive, of [this act] PUBLIC ACT 95-333: (1) "Approved river corridor management plan" means a river corridor management plan approved by the commissioner pursuant to section 6 of [this act] PUBLIC ACT 95-333; (2) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Environmental Protection or his agent; (3) "Local drainage basin" means a local drainage basin as referenced on a map entitled "Natural Drainage Basins of Connecticut", published by the Department of Environmental Protection, 1981; (4) "Major state plan" means any of the following: The master transportation plan adopted pursuant to section 13b-15 of the general statutes, the plan for development of outdoor recreation adopted pursuant to section 22a-21 of the general statutes, the solid waste management plan adopted pursuant to section 22a-211 of the general statutes, the state-wide plan for the management of water resources adopted pursuant to section 22a-352 of the general statutes, AS AMENDED, the state-wide environmental plan adopted pursuant to section 22a-8 of the general statutes, the historic preservation plan adopted under the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 USC 470 et seq., the state-wide facility and capital plan adopted pursuant to section 4b-23 of the general statutes, the housing advisory plan adopted pursuant to section 8-37t of the general statutes, AS AMENDED, the comprehensive energy plan adopted pursuant to section 16a-35m of the general statutes, the water quality management plan adopted under the federal Clean Water Act, 33 USC 1251 et seq., the Connecticut hazardous waste management plan adopted pursuant to section 22a-134cc of the general statutes, any plans for managing forest resources adopted pursuant to section 23-20 of the general statutes, and the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Compact adopted pursuant to section 26-302 of the general statutes; (5) "Member municipality" means a municipality which is a member of a river commission established pursuant to section 3 of [this act] PUBLIC ACT 95-333; (6) "Person" means person, as defined in section 22a-2 of the general statutes, AS AMENDED; (7) "River advisory board" means any of the following: The Five Mile River Commission established pursuant to section 15-26a of the general statutes, the Connecticut River Gateway Commission established pursuant to section 25-102e of the general statutes, the Connecticut River Assembly established pursuant to section 25-102dd of the general statutes, the Bi-State Pawcatuck River Commission established pursuant to section 25-161 of the general statutes, the Niantic River Gateway Commission established pursuant to section 25-109e of the general statutes, the Housatonic Estuary Commission established pursuant to section 25-170 of the general statutes, the Farmington River Coordinating Committee established pursuant to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, 16 USC 1274 et seq., [the Housatonic River Commission established pursuant to section 25-102r of the general statutes,] the Shepaug-Bantam River Board established pursuant to public act 84-522 or a river committee established pursuant to section 25-203 of the general statutes; (8) "River corridor" means any river, river segment, or river system, together with its floodplains, wetlands, and uplands, contributing overland runoff to such river, river segment or river system; (9) "River commission" means a river commission established pursuant to section 3 of [this act] PUBLIC ACT 95-333; (10) "River system" means a river, its tributaries and any lands draining into such river or its tributaries; (11) "Secretary" means the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management or his agent; (12) "State rivers assessment database" means the state-wide assessment of the state's rivers prepared by the commissioner pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (d) of section 25-102qq of the general statutes; (13) "State plan for conservation and development" means the state plan for conservation and development prepared pursuant to part I of chapter 297 of the general statutes; (14) "Subregional drainage basin" means a subregional drainage basin as referenced on a map entitled "Natural Drainage Basins of Connecticut", published by the Department of Environmental Protection, 1981; (15) "Water-dependent use" means a use which, by its nature or function, requires direct access to, or location in or immediately adjacent to, water and which therefore cannot be located upland, and includes such recreational uses as riverside trails and bicycle paths; (16) "Use" means agriculture, public and private water supply, power generation, waste assimilation, transportation, recreation, including, but not limited to, boating, swimming, fishing, camping and hiking and residential, commercial, industrial and other water-dependent uses; and (17) "Resource" means any riparian waters of the state, related fisheries and wildlife habitat and adjacent shorelands, both developed and undeveloped; any vegetation, fish and wildlife; endangered and threatened species, species of special concern and essential habitat identified by the commissioner pursuant to chapter 495 of the general statutes; tidal and inland wetlands; unique geologic features; scenic areas; forest lands, as defined in section 23-65f of the general statutes AS AMENDED; agricultural lands, as defined in section 22-26bb of the general statutes; and archaeological and other historical resources.

Sec. 4. Section 22a-42c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

When an application to conduct or cause to be conducted a regulated activity upon an inland wetland or watercourse IS FILED AND any portion of [which] SUCH WETLAND OR WATERCOURSE is within five hundred feet of the boundary of another municipality, the applicant shall give written notice of the application by certified mail, return receipt requested, on the same day to the inland wetlands agency of such other municipality. Sec. 5. Subsection (c) of section 22a-363b of the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 95-37 and sections 12 and 21 of public act 95-257, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(c) A request for a certificate of permission shall be made to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. If a proposed activity is within a category listed in subsection (a) or (b) of this section the commissioner may, in whole or in part, approve, modify and approve or deny a certificate. The commissioner shall issue such a certificate if the eligible proposed activity is consistent with a permit issued pursuant to section 22a-33 or 22a-361 AS AMENDED or was in place prior to June 24, 1939, and continuously maintained and serviceable since such time. If the eligible proposed activity does not have a permit or has not received any prior permits, the commissioner shall determine if the information provided is sufficient to determine if the proposed activity complies with the applicable standards and criteria and may (1) issue a certificate of permission if he finds that the information indicates compliance with all applicable standards and criteria, or (2) require the submittal of a complete application for a permit pursuant to section 22a-32 AS AMENDED or 22a-361, AS AMENDED if he finds that the information is not sufficient to indicate compliance with the standards and criteria. If the commissioner finds that changes in conditions or circumstances associated with a permitted structure, fill, obstruction or encroachment are likely to result in significant impacts to the environment or coastal resources, he may require an application for a permit pursuant to section 22a-32 AS AMENDED or 22a-361 AS AMENDED. If the commissioner finds that the structure, fill, obstruction or encroachment is not in substantial compliance with the permit or authorization under which a certificate of permission is requested, and is not consistent with applicable standards and criteria, he shall not issue a certificate of permission. For the purposes of this subsection, standards and criteria are those specified in [section] SECTIONS 22a-33 AND 22a-359 and regulations adopted pursuant to section 22a-30, [section 22a-359,] in any regulations adopted pursuant to subsection (c) of said section 22a-361, AS AMENDED IN the water quality standards of the Department of Environmental Protection, and IN sections 22a-92 and 22a-98 for activities within the coastal boundary, as defined in section 22a-93 AS AMENDED.

Sec. 6. Section 15-149a of the general statutes, as amended by public act 96-82, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Any person operating a vessel upon the waters of this state which vessel is in any manner involved in an accident in which any person dies, IS injured so as to require medical attention, or disappears, shall immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency and, within forty-eight hours after such accident, report the matter in writing to the commissioner of environmental protection. The report shall be on a form prescribed by the commissioner and shall state as accurately as possible the time, place and cause of such accident, the injuries occasioned by the accident and any other facts the commissioner deems necessary. If such operator is physically incapable of notifying the nearest law enforcement agency or of making such report and there is another participant or passenger in the accident not incapacitated, such participant or passenger shall immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency and make the report to the commissioner within forty-eight hours after such accident. Any person operating a vessel upon the waters of this state which is in any manner involved in an accident in which the total damages to all property affected by such accident, including property of such operator, is in excess of five hundred dollars, shall, within five days after such accident, report the matter in writing to the commissioner on such forms as said commissioner may prescribe. If there is no person other than the owner capable of making such report or if the report has not been submitted and the owner of such vessel is not incapacitated, such owner shall, within five days after learning of the facts of such accident, report the matter to the commissioner, on such forms as said commissioner may prescribe. Any such operator of a vessel, or surviving participant or passenger in any such accident, or the owner of the vessel involved in any such accident, shall provide any other information or additional report as the commissioner shall require. Failure of any person to comply with any provision of this subsection shall be an infraction.

(b) Except in an emergency, no vessel towboat operator who for a fee or other compensation conducts vessel towing services for recreational boaters shall take under tow any vessel which has been involved in a boating accident or has been abandoned without first notifying federal, state or municipal law enforcement authorities and the owner of the vessel. In the event circumstances are such that the vessel should be immediately towed to safety to prevent loss of the vessel or injury to passengers, the towboat operator shall immediately notify such authorities upon reaching safe harbor. Failure to notify law enforcement authorities and the vessel owner as required by the provisions of this subsection shall be an infraction.

Approved May 24, 1996. Effective October 1, 1996.

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