Advocacy

Norwalk River Watershed Association

2020 Policy Focus: Pesticides, PFAS & the Bottle Bill

The 2020 CT Legislative Session is Temporarily Suspended
But You Can Still Let Your Representatives Know You Support These Bills to Protect Water. Find Your State Rep Here.

Some of the bills NRWA supports for 2020

SB 297 AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF PERFLUOROALKYL OR POLYFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES IN CLASS B FIREFIGHTING FOAM. NRWA’s Letter.

HB 5291 AN ACT LIMITING THE USE OF PERFLUOROALKYL AND POLYFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES AND EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE IN FOOD PACKAGING. Letter Template for both PFAS bills.

HB 5288 AN ACT CONCERNING PERFLUOROALKYL AND POLYFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES.

HB 5340 AN ACT CONCERNING THE MODERNIZATION OF THE CONNECTICUT BOTTLE REDEMPTION PROGRAM. NRWA’s letter.

SB 99 AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE AND DISTRIBUTION OF POLYSTYRENE PRODUCTS. NRWA’S Letter

SB 301 AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF CHLORPYRIFOS. NRWA’s letter. 

SB 292 AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS AND PESTICIDE REGULATION IN THE STATE. NRWA’s letter

NRWA’s Goals for Policy Protecting Water

1. Restrict & Monitor toxic PFAS Chemicals to protect drinking water, human health and the environment by   

  • pass SB 297 banning the use of this class of chemicals in fire fighting foam, where not required by the Federal Government
  • pass HB 5291 limiting their use in food packaging and food service wear. More on PFAS in food packaging.  
  • pass HB 5288. funding and expanding monitoring of drinking water sources and other high risk sites for PFAS
  • establishing a health-protective minimum contaminant level (MCL) for the entire class of PFAS chemicals in drinking water.

The acronym PFAS stands for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of chemicals that have been and are presently used for a variety of purposes. Most notably, they are found in non-stick, water, stain and grease-resistant products.

PFAS are commonly used and highly dangerous. The use of long-chain PFAS in the U.S. is being phased out due to an increased awareness of their harmful effects, yet, the short-chain versions — or those with a smaller number of carbon fluorine bonds — are still actively used in consumer products. More… 

2. Keep plastic out of our rivers and Long Island Sound.

Pass HB 5340 to Update the decades-old Bottle Bill to help keep plastic out of the ocean We can keep millions of bottles and cans out of Connecticut’s parks, beaches, and streets every year at no cost to taxpayers by adding perfectly recyclable juice, sports, and energy drinks, as well as tea containers, to our current bottle bill. We also need to increase the container deposit from five to ten cents, a change that will boost Connecticut’s bottle redemption rate, which is the lowest in the country. And finally, it should give a small raise to redemption centers and stores for their work to collect and store empties, which will encourage more redemption businesses to open.

With our recycling system broken and plastic pollution a growing problem worldwide, now is the time for an update to our bottle bill.  More…

Group Letter NRWA has signed on to.

NRWA’s letter

Pass SB 99 to Limit the Use of Polystyrene. Anyone who has joined us at our annual river cleanup at Oyster Shell Park has seen the millions of bits of styrofoam, mainly from discarded food packaging, that cover the banks. Enough is enough. NRWA’s letter

3. Pass Pesticide Legislation to Protect People & Pollinators

 SUPPORT SB 301 TO BAN CHLORPYRIFOS IN CTPlease take action TODAY by calling or emailing your legislators and asking them to support a bill that would ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Dow’s pesticide chlorpyrifos has devastating impacts on our health, children’s developing brains, and our environment. The pesticide, part of a class of chemicals developed for nerve gas by Nazi Germany, has also been linked to Parkinson’s disease and lung cancer. Chlorpyrifos was banned for home use in 2000. After years of study, the EPA determined that there are no safe levels of exposure and was set to ban all uses of this pesticide in 2015. However, our current administration reversed the decision. Read More… 

According to CT DEEP’s data, farms only account for 10.8% of chlorpyrifos used. Golf courses account for 86% of chlorpyrifos use in CT, totaling more than 590 gallons in 2019—here’s a list of where it was used in 2018 and 2019.  (Tara Cook-Littman, a concerned mom and member of the Fairfield Pollinator Pathway, filed a request through the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to the boxes of pesticide applications in Hartford, and that is how we have this list.

Tara’s work revealed the desperate need for digitizing the state’s pesticide applications and led to b SB 292 AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS AND PESTICIDE REGULATION IN THE STATE 

SUPPORT A BILL TO END PESTICIDE PREEMPTION IN CT and allow  municipalities the right to make decisions about pesticide applications in their own towns. (No bill was raised on this issue unfortunately). Now municipal restrictions are preempted by State requirements, a law the pesticide industry has worked to keep in place. If your town would like to restrict a toxic pesticide, but the state allows its use, your town restriction would be preempted. More info here.   

This letter went to your town leaders. Ask them to join this action to overturn preemption. 

The sample letters below refer to the 2019 bill that was not called for a vote. We will update the bill numbers when they are set for the 2020 session.

In 2019 NRWA focused on these legislative actions to protect the watershed AND THEY WERE PASSED:

1. Passing the State Water Plan. To provide that a public trust be retained in the water of the state. More information.

2. Banning Fracking Waste Statewide, first we helped pas bans in four watershed towns Redding, Ridgefield, Weston & Norwalk, then we supported the state ban. 

3. A statewide ban on plastic bags. First we helped pass a local ban in Norwalk.

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Our Advocacy Work

The Norwalk River Watershed Association serves as a guardian of the watershed, voicing concerns about threats to the area’s environment through pollution, development, legislation and regulation. NRWA frequently submits comments and suggestions on proposed development of or new regulations related to the watershed.
Recent comments regarding state and local projects/policies that affect our watershed:

Comments on SB 301 AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF CHLORPYRIFOS and SB 292 AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS AND PESTICIDE REGULATION IN THE STATE.

Comments on HB 5340 concerning updating the bottle bill in 2020

Comments on SB 297 AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF PERFLUOROALKYL OR POLYFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES IN CLASS B FIREFIGHTING FOAM.

Comments on proposed revisions to District Water Supply and Sewer Ordinances, February 24, 2020

Testimony in support of SB 99 to restrict the use and distribution of polystyrene products across the state. February 18, 2020

Comments on proposed draft modifications to the General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater and Dewatering Wastewaters from Construction Activities. February 18, 2020

Letter to Wilton Inland Wetland Commission regarding plans for development near wetlands at 200 Danbury Road.

Letter protesting the overfishing of menhaden by Omega Protein in Virginia

Letter advocating for the protection of Norden Place conservation easement

Letter protesting overfishing that threatens striped bass populations in the Sound

Letter supporting the Weston plastic bag ban and fee on paper bags

Letter supporting HB 76 regarding pesticide use autonomy by municipalities

Letter supporting a bill to support the transfer of brownfields designated as special taxing districts (like Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill)

Letter supporting the 2019 bill to ban fracking waste state-wide

Letter supporting a pilot program allowing towns to raise money for open space using a 1% conveyance fee

Letter to Gov. Cuomo of New York regarding the proposed sale of Plum Island

Comments on the proposed redevelopment of ASML property at 77 Danbury Road, Wilton

Comments on the proposed development of Wilton Heights at 300 Danbury Road, Wilton

Suggestions for Norwalk POCD 2018

Suggestions for Wilton POCD 2018

Comments Opposing SB 427: AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC TRUST COMPONENTS OF THE STATE WATER PLAN, March 2018

Comments Supporting Charter Revision In Ridgefield Establishing Independant Inland Wetlands Board, March 2018

   & More Information About the Ridgefield Charter Revision and How to Craft Your Letter

Comments Opposed to Federal Plans for Oil and Gas Drilling Offshore of CT, March 2018

Comments in Support of Banning Mosquito Misters, March 2018

Comments in Support of SB 103 A Bill To Ban Fracking Waste from CT, February 2018

WPC Draft State Water Plan, November 2017

CT DOT Plans for Redesigning the Route 7/Route 15 Interchange in Norwalk, October 2017

PURA Proposed acquisition of Aquarion Water by Eversource Energy, September 2017

CT DOT Walk Bridge Project, December 2016

CT DEEP Re: Proposed selection of the Norwalk River and the Norwalk Harbor embayment as candidates for water quality restoration work as part of Connecticut’s Integrated Water Resource Management Plan, June 2016

Board members represent the interests of the watershed by taking part in public hearings, workshops, and related committees and other Boards such as:

 

FCRCP (Fairfield County Regional Conservation Partnership)

 

Land Trusts and Conservation Commissions play an important role by preserving access to natural spaces, clean water, and healthy ecosystems, all of which contribute to the well-being of communities and individuals. The Fairfield County Regional Conservation Partnership (www.fcrcp.net) makes these land trusts and commissions stronger by integrating ideas, leadership, and outreach across town boundaries, allowing them to protect more land over broader scales.

 

NRWI (Norwalk River Watershed Initiative)

 

The Norwalk River Watershed Initiative (NRWI) is a partnership among the seven watershed municipalities; federal and state governments; conservation and environmental groups; businesses and, you, the public. Efforts are focused on our primary mission which is to protect and improve the quality of our water and overall health of our river, streams, lakes and wetlands. The Initiative strives to bring together the efforts and resources of other groups with a similar focus including The Norwalk River Watershed Association, Trout Unlimited, HarborWatch at Earthplace, the Norwalk River Valley Trail, and local schools and communities. NRWI goals and objectives seek to engage our entire watershed community which requires a balance between environmental concerns with community and business development interests. The greatest chance for success is when all are vested and work together pooling resources toward a common goal – water systems that are healthy, clean and dynamic.

 

Norwalk River Valley Trail

 

The Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) project aims to build 38 miles of multi-purpose trail connecting Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, Connecticut, and Rogers Park in Danbury, passing through Wilton, Ridgefield, and Redding on the way.

 

In addition to creating recreational opportunities for walkers, hikers, cyclists, kids, pets and – on some stretches – equestrians, the NRVT will offer a green and healthy transportation alternative to reach rail stations, schools, offices, and businesses.

 

Earthplace’s Harbor Watch

 

Harbor Watch monitors a wide area of watershed from the Pequonnock River in Bridgeport to Holly Pond in Stamford in an attempt to protect and improve the biological integrity of Long Island Sound. It is the leading volunteer assisted water quality monitoring program in Fairfield County, which has inspired water quality activism throughout the region. Through this volunteer-driven model, the program simultaneously addresses Long Island Sound contamination issues and educates the environmental scientists of the future through hands-on research and experiential learning.

 

Trout Unlimited

 

The Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited is part of a national conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring our coldwater fisheries. As a conservation organization, the Mianus Chapter is primarily involved in active restoration work on local rivers and streams, but also promotes educational activities, hosts regular fishing outings and works with local and state agencies and regional environmental organizations to plan and implement conservation programs.