Connecticut Public Utility Environmental Standards Act Glossary: Key Terms & Definitions for Developers and Consultants

Connecticut Public Utility Environmental Standards Act Key Terms & Definitions

Ambient Air: The portion of the atmosphere, external to buildings, to which the general public has access. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(1))

Best Available Control Technology (BACT): An emission limitation based on the maximum degree of reduction of each pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act emitted from or which results from any major emitting facility, which the permitting authority, on a case-by-case basis, taking into account energy, environmental, and economic impacts and other costs, determines is achievable for such facility through application of production processes and available methods, systems, and techniques, including fuel cleaning, clean fuels, or treatment or innovative fuel combustion techniques for control of each such pollutant. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(2))

Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need: A certificate issued by the Connecticut Siting Council, which is required before a public utility company can construct or modify certain facilities. The certificate indicates that the project is compatible with the state's environmental policies and serves a public need. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50k)

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP): The state agency responsible for administering and enforcing the Connecticut Public Utility Environmental Standards Act (PUESA). DEEP oversees the environmental review process for public utility projects and ensures compliance with the Act's provisions. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50j(d))

Connecticut Siting Council: The state agency responsible for issuing Certificates of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for public utility projects under PUESA. The Council reviews project applications, conducts public hearings, and determines whether a project meets the Act's environmental and public need criteria. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50j)

Discharge: The release of any water, substance, or material into the waters of the state, whether or not such substance causes pollution. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(1))

Electric Power Generation Facility: Any electric generating facility, including associated equipment, with a generating capacity of more than one megawatt. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(3))

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF): The electric and magnetic fields produced by the movement of electricity through power lines, electrical equipment, and appliances. PUESA requires public utility companies to assess and minimize the potential health impacts of EMF from their facilities. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50j(a)(6))

Environmental Impact Assessment: A detailed study prepared by a public utility company to assess the potential environmental impacts of a proposed project. The assessment must include an analysis of the project's effects on air and water quality, wildlife, and public health, as well as proposed mitigation measures. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50l)

Hazardous Substance: Any substance designated as hazardous by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection pursuant to the state's hazardous waste management regulations. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(2))

Mitigation Measures: Actions taken by a public utility company to minimize or offset the adverse environmental impacts of a project. Mitigation measures may include habitat restoration, conservation easements, or the use of best management practices to control pollution. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50j(a)(5))

Natural Gas Transmission Line: A pipeline designed to transport natural gas at high pressures, typically over long distances, from production fields or storage facilities to distribution centers or large-volume customers. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(4))

Noise Pollution: Unwanted or excessive sound that can have negative effects on human health and the environment. PUESA requires public utility companies to assess and minimize noise pollution from their facilities, particularly in residential areas. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50j(a)(6))

Overhead Power Lines: Electrical transmission or distribution lines suspended above the ground by towers or poles. PUESA establishes specific requirements for the siting, construction, and maintenance of overhead power lines to minimize their environmental and visual impacts. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(3))

Public Utility: An entity that provides essential services, such as electricity, natural gas, water, or telecommunications, to the general public. Public utilities are regulated by state agencies to ensure the reliable and safe provision of these services. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a))

Public Utility Facility: Any facility owned or operated by a public utility company, including power plants, transmission lines, substations, and pipelines. PUESA establishes environmental standards and review procedures for the construction and modification of these facilities. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a))

Renewable Energy Project: A project that generates electricity from renewable sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, or biomass. The 2019 amendment to PUESA expanded the Act's scope to include renewable energy projects, ensuring they meet the same environmental standards as other utility projects. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(3))

Spill Prevention and Control Plan: A document prepared by a public utility company that outlines procedures for preventing, responding to, and cleaning up spills of hazardous substances at their facilities. PUESA requires companies to develop and implement these plans to minimize the risk of environmental contamination. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50j(a)(4))

Stormwater Management: The process of controlling and treating runoff from rainfall or snowmelt to prevent flooding, erosion, and water pollution. PUESA requires public utility companies to implement stormwater management practices at their facilities to minimize the impact of runoff on nearby water bodies. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50j(a)(4))

Substation: A facility that transforms voltage from high to low, or vice versa, to facilitate the transmission and distribution of electrical power. Substations are considered public utility facilities under PUESA and are subject to the Act's environmental review and permitting requirements. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(3))

Telecommunications Infrastructure: The physical components and networks used to transmit and receive voice, data, and video communications, including cell towers, fiber optic cables, and switching stations. PUESA establishes environmental standards for the construction and maintenance of telecommunications infrastructure in Connecticut. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(5))

Transmission Line: A high-voltage power line used to transport electrical energy over long distances from power plants to substations or distribution centers. Transmission lines are regulated under PUESA and must undergo an environmental review process before construction can begin. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(3))

Underground Utility Lines: Utility lines, such as electric, gas, or telecommunications cables, that are installed beneath the ground surface. PUESA encourages the use of underground utility lines in certain areas to minimize their environmental and visual impacts, but also establishes standards for their construction and maintenance. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50i(a)(3))

Water Supply Watershed: The land area that drains into a water body used as a source of public drinking water. PUESA requires public utility companies to assess and minimize the potential impacts of their projects on water supply watersheds to protect the quality and quantity of drinking water resources. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50j(a)(4))

Wetlands: Areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, such as swamps, marshes, and bogs. PUESA requires public utility companies to avoid or minimize impacts to wetlands when siting and constructing their facilities. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50j(a)(4))

Wildlife Habitat: The natural environment that supports the survival and reproduction of a particular species or group of species. PUESA requires public utility companies to assess and mitigate the potential impacts of their projects on wildlife habitats, such as fragmentation, degradation, or loss of habitat. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-50j(a)(5))

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A Note to Our Readers: We hope this guide is a valuable resource in helping you better understand the . However, it's not a substitute for professional advice and doesn't cover every scenario. Always consult with regulatory bodies and professionals for the most current advice and project-specific guidance.