Representatives T.R. Rowe (R-Trumbull) and Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield)) both hailed the passage of critical legislation in the House of Representatives today which requires the Siting Council to take public concerns into consideration when evaluating applications such as the one currently pending for a Fuel Cell Power Plant in the Nichols neighborhood in Trumbull.
The measure passed as “House Amendment A” on HB 5213, An Act Concerning the Siting Council. The legislation stems from neighborhood concerns about a proposal to place a 3.4 megawatt, natural gas-fueled electric generation plant in a highly residential neighborhood in the Nichols portion of Trumbull. The plant would be within close proximity to three schools and, under current rules, the Siting Council is only required to consider environmental impact in its decisions. Additionally, the council is not required to hold public hearings in affected communities.
Last month dozens of Trumbull residents wearing red and white “Fragile: Handle with Care” stickers boarded a bus and traveled to the State Capitol to testify before a legislative committee in favor of legislation that would change the way the Connecticut Siting Council makes decisions about where they will allow the construction of potentially dangerous power generators. Representatives Rowe and Hwang testified along with State Senator Anthony Musto (D-Trumbull) in favor of the legislation.
“I am very thankful for the support the full House has given to this legislation,” said Representative Rowe. “The concerns of those members of a community that would have to live with the effects of a natural gas-based power plant being in their neighborhood must be heard. We have one week left in the legislative session. I am hopeful the bill passes the Senate quickly and goes to the Governor for her signature.”
“This kind of bill is long overdue and will have a positive effect not only for the Nichols neighborhood, but communities around the state,” said Representative Hwang. “I appreciate the support the full House gave in passing this bill. It will be difficult, but we must find a proper way to balance the needs of the community with increased needs for power generation.”
The measure now heads to the State Senate for action there. The 2010 regular legislative session adjourns on May 5.