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Connecticut Audubon Society Supports Revisions to State Open Space Policies

For years we’ve called for improvements in the state's open space policies. There’s a bill before the General Assembly now that we think will do that, and which has a good chance of being passed.

For a number of years in our annual Connecticut State of the Birds report we’ve called for improvements in the way the State acquires, manages and keeps track of protected open space. This year there’s a bill before the General Assembly that we think will do that, and which also has a reasonably good chance of being passed and signed into law.

Called “An Act Concerning the State’s Open Space Plan” (SB 347), the bill requires the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to identify lands that are the highest priorities for open space acquisition, including wildlife habitat and ecological resources, and the general locations of these highest priorities.

The legislation also requires the DEEP to work with other state agencies to identify state-owned lands that are important for conservation but which are not protected open space, and to plan a strategy for preserving them in perpetuity.

And it broadens the number of stakeholders the DEEP must consult when it works on these projects. Added to the list are municipalities and regional planning agencies, in addition to the Council on Environmental Quality and private nonprofit land conservation organizations such as CAS.

The bill was drafted by the Council of Environmental Quality, and we’ve been working with its executive director, Karl Wagener, on trying to get it passed. We have created a new Tracking Legislation page on our website to follow its progress, and the progress of other bills we’re interested in. It also includes more information about why we think it’s important and a link to the text of the bill.

To take a look, click here.

The Act Concerning the State’s Open Space Plan was reported favorably out of the Environment Committee, which means the committee endorses it. But it has yet to be placed on the Senate calendar. When it does, we will be asking our supporters to make phone calls and send emails to the appropriate people in Hartford to help get it passed.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tom Andersen March 31, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Thank you! We will let you know when it comes up for a vote so you can call your representative and senator.
Kendall Svengalis April 10, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Under the guise of protecting birds, the Audubon Society is just furthering government control over our lives and driving up the cost of living. The more land that is taken out of private use drives up land costs, increases out taxes, and forces our children to re-locate to other parts of the country. One of the often ignored reasons for the housing collapse is the high cost of land in coastal California (e.g. San Mateo County) as a result of the public acquisition of land for open space and land use restrictions (read: Thomas Sowell's "The Housing Boom and Bust"). That phenomenon led to banks devising novel mortgage instruments (low or non-existent down payments) to allow buyers to buy homes in areas where costs were driven by high underlying land costs. An international study of urban areas with "severly unaffordable" housing found that 23 of 26 such areas had so-called "smarth growth" policies. Most of the bird sanctuaries in CT are on private lands, even if not officially designated as such. What is the optimum amount of land that should be pulled from the private hands? For "do-gooders," no amount is sufficient because they must continually strive to assert his moral bona fides, while ignoring the real world ramifications of their actions. Most landowners have bird santuaries on their land, but don't feel the need to advertise the fact. Private landowners also face the threat of "conservation easements" for similar reasons, and the insidious Agenda 21.
Kendall Svengalis April 10, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Under the guise of protecting birds, the Audubon Society is just furthering government control over our lives and driving up the cost of living. The more land that is taken out of private use drives up land costs, increases out taxes, and forces our children to re-locate to other parts of the country. One of the often ignored reasons for the housing collapse is the high cost of land in coastal California (e.g. San Mateo County) as a result of the public acquisition of land for open space and land use restrictions (read: Thomas Sowell's "The Housing Boom and Bust"). That phenomenon led to banks devising novel mortgage instruments (low or non-existent down payments) to allow buyers to buy homes in areas where costs were driven by high underlying land costs. An international study of urban areas with "severly unaffordable" housing found that 23 of 26 such areas had so-called "smart growth" policies. Most of the bird sanctuaries in CT are on private lands, even if not officially designated as such. What is the optimum amount of land that should be pulled from the private hands? For "do-gooders," no amount is sufficient because they must continually strive to assert his moral bona fides, while ignoring the real world ramifications of their actions. Most landowners have bird santuaries on their land, but don't feel the need to advertise the fact. Private landowners also face the threat of "conservation easements" for similar reasons, and the insidious Agenda 21.
Wyatt April 10, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Sounds like a great idea! Prioritizing the lands to spend limited tax dollars on is a great way to get more 'bang for the buck.' Audubon does great work in CT and I'm happy to hear they are continuing to work to improve CT's environment and its quality of life.
Tom Andersen April 10, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Thanks, Wyatt! As for the previous comment, it is nonsense.

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