The Working Lands Alliance honored State Senator Clark Chapin with its 2015 Legislative Leadership Award for his dedication to preserving Connecticut’s farmland and agricultural heritage. Senator Chapin received the award at WLA’s Annual Meeting at the Capitol on November 17th.
“As Ranking Member on the Environment Committee, Sen. Chapin has been an incredible ally of Connecticut’s farmers and a strong supporter of the state’s efforts to conserve our vital farmland. This year, he was instrumental in passing legislation that makes it easier for our land trusts and municipalities to leverage the federal and state funding needed to complete conservation projects—giving a boost to our efforts to conserve farmland and open space,” said Lisa Bassani, American Farmland Trust’s Working Lands Alliance Project Director.
“We commend Sen. Chapin for his leadership, hard work and bipartisan spirit, and for understanding the need to fund conservation even in tough financial times,” Bassani added.
Senator Clark Chapin represents the 30th Senate District, comprising 14 towns in Connecticut’s northwest corner. As Ranking Member on the Environment Committee, Sen. Chapin was a strong supporter of legislation amending the “70% rule” and worked closely with the Environment Committee Co-Chairs, Commissioner Klee, DEEP staff, WLA and our advocacy partners to pass Public Act 15-23. This bill increases the total amount of federal and state funds that can be used on conservation projects to 90 percent of fair market value, but also allows the Commissioner to waive the cap entirely if certain conditions are met. In short, this eases the fundraising burden on our land trusts and makes it easier for our land trusts and municipalities to leverage the funding needed to conserve farmland and open space. We commend Clark for his leadership and hard work on this bill.
In a difficult budget season, Sen. Chapin also remained an outspoken supporter of the Community Investment Act, and understood the need to maintain the integrity of this fund even in tough financial times. As proposals popped up to divert CIA funding, Sen. Chapin was vocal in his opposition to using these dedicated funds for other general fund purposes.
Overall, Sen. Chapin brought incredible leadership, institutional knowledge and bipartisan spirit to the Environment Committee this year as its Ranking Member. He is a true statesman, and a valued ally in the legislature for the Working Lands Alliance and our many partners.