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Katie Rowen '01
Thanks to the Colby Mellon Scholarship I was able to intern with the Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE) this summer. The Connecticut Fund for the Environment is a non-profit organization that uses law, science and education to defend and improve Connecticut's environment. CFE strives to better air and water quality, control toxic contamination, minimize the impact of highways and traffic congestion, protect public water supplies, and preserve the open space and wetlands so crucial to both the state's citizens and its wildlife.
I worked at CFE's headquarters in New Haven and had the freedom and responsibility to contribute to several important projects that CFE is currently undertaking. The Environmental Justice Advocate's Network has been launched to provide free legal services for the residents of inner city neighborhoods. I had the opportunity to assist some of the lawyers that were working pro bono for the Environmental Justice Advocate's Network.
CFE is also in the midst of a large-scale campaign to save Connecticut's open spaces. A current focus is to permanently preserve some 18,000 acres of open space land owned by the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company (BHC). BHC has been sold to a British conglomerate, and during the next decade, many experts believe that most of Connecticut's water utilities will be bought by multinational firms. Over 100,000 acres of critically important open spaces could soon be owned by companies far away from Connecticut's homes and neighborhoods. I frequently traveled to the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) in order to compile data on the DPUC's approval of land sales.
I also made several trips to the Department of Environmental Protection in Hartford. At the DEP, I sat in on several meetings. I listen to the Council on Environmental Quality discuss the state of Connecticut's environment. I had a chance to listen to presentations given by many different environmental organizations and clean-energy companies.
I spent a great deal of my time researching a few important issues for one of the staff attorneys. I researched the health impacts of diesel and particulate air pollution, and the quality of groundwater in Connecticut. The research and graphs that I put together concerning public drinking water were used in the testimony that CFE gave in July.
I had an incredible working experience at CFE. I learned a great deal about some very specific environmental issues and had the opportunity to see how a non-profit organization functions on every level. I was truly inspired by the staff at CFE and would consider working there after graduation.
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