Senator Bye, Senate President Looney Demand ‘Public Trust’ Phrase Remain in State Water Plan

On the eve of a historic vote on a new state water plan, State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) and state Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) today called on state Water Planning Council members to unequivocally declare in the final version of their State Water Plan that there is indeed a ‘public trust’ in the air, water and other natural resources of Connecticut that must be protected, preserved and enhanced.

Sens. Looney and Bye issued their call to protect Connecticut’s vital and natural water resources as the Water Planning Council is facing attacks from Republican state lawmakers, business lobbyists, and others for including the phrase ‘public trust’ in its draft water plan, the final language of which is to be voted on tomorrow, Tuesday January 23, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. in the PURA offices at 10 Franklin Square, New Britain.

“I have been intricately involved in advocating for and protecting the public’s essential and limited water resources ever since Niagara came to Bloomfield a year ago and laid out a plan to take nearly two million gallons of water a day out of Connecticut during one of the worst droughts in recent memory,” Sen. Bye said. “It’s inconceivable to the average person that our land, our water, our air is not a public resource that needs to be protected and maintained. Yet this is apparently a very scary concept to some Republican lawmakers and to some highly-paid lobbyists who choose the almighty dollar over protecting water for the future. I encourage the Water Planning Council to heed the overwhelmingly supportive input they received from the public, to use their common sense, and to maintain the clearly stated concept that Connecticut’s water is a public trust to be managed and protected for generations to come. Anything less would be caving to monied special interests over the will of the people.”

“Certainly the principle that Connecticut’s water is to be treated as a public trust is a key component to any state water plan, if that plan is indeed committed to preserving our natural resources for generations to come,” Sen. Looney said. “Arguments to the contrary undercut what is the essential aspect of the public trust concept: to ensure that there is enough water for all to use in perpetuity. So I join with my colleague Senator Bye in urging the Water Planning Council to maintain this essential ‘public trust’ phrasing in the final State Water Plan.”

View a copy of the senator’ letter to Water Planning Council Chair Jack Betkoski.

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