Governor Jodi Rell and state lawmakers are continuing to meet this week to hash out a new state budget. Part of that discussion is whether to eliminate certain state commissions, including the Council on Environmental Quality.
The Council, known as the C.E.Q., is thought of as an independent ‘watch dog’ group that makes recommendations to improve environmental protection in the state. Under the Governor’s budget proposal the C.E.Q.’s $170 thousand dollar budget and two staff positions would be eliminated, along with 70 other state boards, committees and appointments. Rell spokesman Rich Harris says the Governor’s goal is to streamline state government, but he said specific cuts, like getting rid of the C.E.Q., are still being negotiated.
“State government continues to grow and grow and grow and so one of the things the governor is trying to do is to minimize that bureaucracy. These proposals are all part and parcel of the budge negotiations that are continuing. And ll of those things are still in discussion.
Harris says the Governor believes it’s possible to continue the functions of the C.E.Q. within the Department of Environmental Protection. But environmental groups disagree. The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters says the CEQ is “not disposable”.