State Representatives T.R. Rowe (R-123), Tony Hwang (R-134) and State Senator Anthony Musto (D-22) effectively won a public hearing for legislation they are sponsoring which would revise Siting Council guidelines. More specifically the proposal would give the Siting Council greater leeway in the process of approval or denial of proposals for energy plants. The measure would also give local land use boards a greater voice in the process.
FuelCell Energy, Inc. has applied to construct a 3.4 megawatt generator alongside the Tennessee Gas Pipeline on the property of Southern Connecticut Gas on the Huntington Turnpike. The area is largely residential and three schools are nearby.
A public hearing was held in Trumbull the evening of Wednesday, February 17, where roughly 200 local residents came out to oppose the placement of the plant due to many concerns, primarily safety-related.
“The area residents have some very legitimate concerns and those need to be addressed,” said Representative Rowe. “I wanted to be certain that both the Siting Council and the local land use boards have the greatest latitude possible when evaluating those concerns versus the benefits of constructing this new plant.”
“I want to be sure that the people who live nearby this proposed site have all their concerns heard, and that all of those concerns be given the proper weight in the Siting Council process,” said Representative Hwang. “The Siting Council and local land use boards are in place to protect our communities and we want to be sure their ability to do so is unfettered.”
“The fact that the Siting Council does not need to hear community concerns under current law angers many residents – and rightly so,” said Senator Musto. “We need to have these voices heard and also need to have the Council review all effects of this project before ruling on it.”
The public hearing will be conducted by the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee. The date and time has not yet been set. This session of the legislature will adjourn on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2010.