Freedom of Information Commission Hearing: Valerie Rossetti vs. Commissioner, CT Department of Public Health Nov 1, 2016
Listen in as the Dept. of Public Health (DPH) responds to a request for the 2008 MDC Water Supply Plan: ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=13391
On March 1, 2016 Valerie Rossetti of Save Our Water submitted a request to the DPH to view the most recent MDC Water Supply Plan - or any portions of it open to the public. That request went unfulfilled. The DPH reportedly sent the plan to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) for redaction, a process whereby information on the truly critical infrastructure is blacked out for security reasons in keeping with a 2022 federal law. Months passed. Late in August, Rossetti was informed that she would receive NONE of the plan. According to the DPH, the MDC had submitted its multi-volume plan to the Department of Homeland Security shortly after Save Our Water's request, resulting in the entire plan being ruled off limits to the public.
The timing of the MDC request was "coincidental", which may well be true.....However earlier in the year, the water authority, the governor's office, and multiple environmental groups had been in negotiations over access to water supply information in order to do wise state water planning. Unbeknownst to those groups, the MDC -alone among CT utilities- had forwarded its plan to Homeland Security. is that negotiating in good faith?
Why the request for the water supply plan. Save Our Water certainly does not want to put at risk any truly critical water infrastructure. however, it's important that the public and environmental advocates actually KNOW where their water is coming from, where it goes, how much of it there actually is, and what the projections for future needs are.
The MDC has been guilty of some "doublespeak" in the past year. For example, it represented to the public that it had no choice or control over to whom it supplies water. If there's enough, anyone who asks for it gets it. Then it was revealed that the MDC "jumped over hoops" to accommodate Niagara, including a series of emails discovered under a FOI request that showed the private corporation demanding- and receiving- special discounts never before provided by the MDC. Although the public was told that the MDC had more than enough water and that a multi-year drought in CT was unlikely, here we are with the first in history state drought declared by Governor Malloy. With 2 large reservoirs containing a multi-year supply of drinking water, the MDC represents that it has plenty. But does the rest of the state? Ask Greenwich, Norwalk, New Britain, Manchester, Storrs, and others. Of even more concern is the environmental need for enough water to keep our aquatic environments and recreation healthy. Mr. Jellison, MDC's has stated that if stream flow requirements are met, the drought triggers for MDC would have been hit multiple times already. Should we be sending water out of state in single serve plastic bottles while our streams lack enough water to keep fish healthy?
Save Our Water CT
Citizen advocates acting to protect and conserve Connecticut's public trust waters.