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West Hartford Legislators Named 2017 Champions by Connecticut League of Conservation Voters

State Sen. Beth Bye (left) and State Rep. Derek Slap (right) have been named 2017 CTCLV Legislative Champions. (we-ha.com file photos)

The state’s leading environmental watchdog group has named State Sen. Beth Bye and State Rep. Derek Slap, both of West Hartford, to its Hall of Fame for 2017.

By Ronni Newton

Sixteen of the state’s legislators were recognized by the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) for their leadership on environmental issues, and two of those champions are from West Hartford.

The CTLCV, a bipartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Connecticut’s environment by making it a priority for elected officials, released its 2017 Environmental Scorecard on Sunday, and State Sen. Beth Bye and State Rep. Derek Slap were among the 16 included in the Hall of Fame.

Bye, a Democrat who has served in the State Senate since 2010 and previously served a term in the State House, was one of just five legislators to earn a perfect score of “100” from the CTLCV this year, with her advocacy on behalf of the state’s public water supply noted as a major factor. Her lifetime score from CTLCV for voting on environmental matters is 91 percent.

Slap, a Democrat who is in his first term in the House, earned an 84 percent this year. His leadership on public water supply issues was also noted.

Both Slap and Bye led the passage of legislation to increase the transparency of the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) and establish an independent consumer advocate to provide oversight of the MDC.

The independent consumer advocate, appointed by the Consumer Counsel, will have access to MDC policies and proceedings and other information pertaining to water and sewer management of the MDC, and be responsible for keeping the municipal officials as well as the public aware of MDC matters that might impact their towns. The bill also contains provision to protect towns in the event any member town fails to pay its portion of the ad valorem tax, eliminating the need for establishing a reserve.

“One thing that the residents of the 5th State Senate District will always be able to count on from me is standing up for Connecticut’s environment, which is one of the reasons why Connecticut has such a great quality of life in national rankings,” Bye said in a statement. “On the issue of water conservation, this ended up being a unanimous and bipartisan piece of legislation. The bill helps crack down on the potential private misuse of public water resources while saving cities and towns in the Hartford region millions of dollars. It was a big win for the environment and for residents.”

“Consumers deserve better oversight of our water,” said Slap in a statement. “I’m pleased that the very first bill to pass both chambers last session and be signed into law was our MDC accountability bill – which establishes an independent consumer advocate. As a member of the Environment and Planning & Development committees I will remain vigilant when it comes to protecting our natural resources.”

CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown said in a statement that even as a freshman representative, Slap was a legislative leader on environmental matters. “He was an important voice for protecting our state’s public waters, and pushed for legislation to ensure that Connecticut’s waters are protected for both the public and the ecological needs of our state. Water is the new ‘gold’ and is going to be fought over for the foreseeable future. With increased pressure to sell off our public water for profit, more frequent droughts, and the impact of global warming on our own water resources, we must have more leaders step up and bring our management of water to meet those challenges,” said Brown.

“We owe it to both our present and our future generations to balance development and business growth with open space preservation and the wise use of our natural resources like water, air, and land,” Bye said in a statement. “I encourage both my Democratic and Republican colleagues to commit themselves to a brighter future for Connecticut’s environment.”

According to a news release from Slap’s office, he plans to interview a member of Save Our Water, a non-partisan, citizen-led group working to protect Connecticut’s waters, about their priorities for the next legislative session on his WHCTV show, Derek and the District. The show can be viewed on WHC-TV or on demand at wchtv.org.

CTLCV Scorecards dating back to 2000 can be found online at www.ctlcv.org.

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