Slossberg requests legislation that would impact Silver Sands project

Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford) submitted a letter to legislators leading the General Assembly’s Environment Committee requesting that the committee raise legislation that would impact projects similar to the buildout at Silver Sands State Park.

The bill requested by Slossberg would give members of the public the ability to request a new environmental impact evaluation if one has not been completed in the five years preceding the start of a new state development.

“Connecticut’s natural environment is one of the greatest resources this state has, and it is vital that we ensure state construction projects do not inadvertently damage it,” said Slossberg. “Milford residents have raised valid concerns about the Silver Sands buildout being done based on a 24-years-old environmental impact evaluation. I believe that residents of Milford and communities throughout Connecticut have a right to call for an evaluation so as to better protect the areas they live in from damaging development projects.”

Milford City leaders and numerous local residents held meetings this past year calling for the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to complete a new environmental impact evaluation at Silver Sands State Park. DEEP is in the process of building restrooms and a concession stand, as well as expanding the parking lot where they will charge for parking.

Slossberg and hundreds of Milford residents have participated in public hearings on the project. A primary point of concern is that it has been 24 years since and environmental impact evaluation was conducted at Silver Sands, Slossberg said. In that time, Hurricanes Irene and Sandy as well as other major weather events have struck Connecticut, greatly impacting shoreline communities like Milford. Residents are concerned that the planned construction projects could damage the shoreline and surrounding wetlands, harm local wildlife and potentially make the area more prone to flooding.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s website describes an environmental impact study as “a detailed written evaluation of the environmental impacts of the proposed State agency's action. The sponsoring agency shall consider any comments received and evaluate any substantive issues raised during the public scoping process in the environmental impact evaluation.”

The environmental impact evaluation must include: a description of the proposed action; a statement of its purpose and need; a description of the environment of the area which would be affected by the proposed action as it currently exists; a description and analysis of the reasonable alternatives to the proposed action; a discussion of the potential environmental impact of the proposed action and mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate the impact.

Environmental impacts include those involving: air and water quality; ambient noise levels; public water supply systems; groundwater, flooding, and erosion or sedimentation; natural land resources and formations, including coastal and inland wetlands; historic, archeological, cultural, or recreational resources; natural communities, including critical animal or plant species and their habitats; resident or migratory fish or wildlife species; use of pesticides, or toxic or hazardous materials; aesthetic or visual effects; disruption of an established community or neighborhood; displacement or addition of substantial numbers of people; substantial increase in traffic; substantial increase in the type or rate of energy use; or creation of a hazard to human health or safety.”