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Bill would charge fee to help combat invasive aquatic plants

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Boaters will pay a new fee to help cover the cost of combatting invasive aquatic plants if proposed legislation becomes law.

The House of Representatives on Saturday voted 131-10 in favor of a bill that imposes a $5 fee for Connecticut residents and a $20 fee for out-of-state individuals who register vessels intended to operate on state waters. The General Assembly’s Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates the fee will generate approximately $400,000, to be used by Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for various invasive species programs, including grants for research on managing state lakes, rivers and ponds.

Proponents of the bill say various lakes around the state are experiencing pervasive and invasive aquatic species and toxic cyanobacteria blooms, a problem that can be expensive to address.

The bill awaits Senate action.