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Shelton, City of v. Commissioner of the Dep't of Envtl. Protection

Citation: 14 ELR 20843
No. Nos. 12446, 12447, 479 A.2d 208/22 ERC 1449/193 Conn. 506, (Conn., 06/26/1984)

The court rules that a state statute passed while appeal was pending empowered the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) to operate a landfill without preparing a state environmental impact evaluation (EIE), obtaining local government consent, or complying with local zoning laws. The court first notes that with the possible exception of the EIE exemption, no part of the new statute need be applied retroactively to allow CRRA's future operation of the landfill. The court holds that the EIE [14 ELR 20844] exemption is simply a clarification, not a change, of existing law, and thus no question of retroactivity arises.

The court then rules that the new statute also indirectly allows the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to issue CRRA a landfill permit notwithstanding local zoning laws. The Department's permitting power originally preempted local zoning powers. The legislature later withdrew the Department's power to override local regulations. The new statute repealed that withdrawal, restoring the Department's preemptive authority, which is implicit in the state's solid waste control scheme. Finally, the court holds that the new statute does not violate the constitutional prohibition on special privileges, since the law confers no public emolument for private gain, or the home rule provision, since the law addresses statewide concerns.

A dissent would hold that the new statute violates the prohibition on special privileges, as it effectively deprives only the City of Shelton of the power to refuse CRRA permission to site a landfill.

Counsel for Plaintiff
John H. Welch Jr.
Winnick, Vine & Welch
70 Platt Rd., Shelton CT 06484
(203) 929-6351

Counsel for Defendants
Robert I. Whitehead; Joseph I. Lieberman, Attorney General
Capitol Annex, 30 Trinity St., Hartford CT 06106
(203) 566-2026

John C. Yavis Jr., Paul R. McCary, Mark R. Sussman
Murtha, Collins, Richter & Pinney
P.O. Box 3197, Hartford CT 06103
(203) 549-4500

Counsel for Defendant-Intervenor
Thomas J. Welsh
Tarlow, Levy, Mandel & Kostin
5 Farm Springs, Farmington CT 06033
(203) 235-1651

Before PETERS, HEALEY, PARSKEY, SHEA and GRILLO, JJ.

In this opinion HEALEY, PARSKEY and GRILLO, JJ., concurred.