Letter to the editor by Atty Paul Zagorsky of New Britain, CT appeared on 8-7-16 in the New Britain Herald. Below is an aerial photo of Tilcon quarry, Wasal reservoir, and Crescent Lake in New Britain. The Tilcon
proposal would double the size of the quarry onto protected watershed land.
To the Editor:
As to the proposal to allow Tilcon to quarry 131.4 acres of protected watershed, and the independent environmental review commissioned by the city, there is a lot of misleading information out there.
The mayor has stated “By law this study is to be completed within six months.” In a letter to the state, she states “given the aggressive time frame” laid out in the Public Act, the city is anxious to proceed with the environmental review as expeditiously as possible. The Public Act has no completion date. It says the city shall “commission” an environmental study within 180 days of the act’s effective date (6/1/16).
The mayor has stated “The State Water Planning Council and the Council on Environmental Quality both signed off on having Lenard Engineering, Inc. conduct the study which will be completed within 180 days.” That is misleading. In her letter to the WPC she asks them to “consider the following (four) firms and inform us as to their acceptability as a consultant in the event we were to select them to work with the city on the study project.” The WPC at its June 23, 2016 meeting found all four firms acceptable. The city did not tell the WPC or the CEQ that it had already selected Lenard’s June 17, 2016 proposal, nor did it provide the CEQ or the WPC the proposal. Why keep it from the public and the state?
Once the CEQ and WPC were provided the Lenard proposal (not by the city), both scheduled meetings. The CEQ in its July 27, 2016 meeting voted to rescind its June 22, 2016 determination regarding the acceptability of the consultants proposed by the city,” and also “to recommend to the Water Planning Council that it urge the city to select an independent third party consultant through a Request For Proposals process.” The WPC has scheduled a special public meeting on August 12, at 1 p.m. at the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, Ten Franklin Square, New Britain.
In her July 28, letter to the WPC the mayor states she was “dismayed to learn that the CEQ passed a motion yesterday rescinding their approval of Lenard Engineering.” While Gilbert Bligh, head of the city’s Water Department was at that CEQ meeting, he did not speak, no one from the city did. I am dismayed the city has withheld and/or provided misleading information to the public and the state, that the Lenard study is a Tilcon quarry feasibility study and not an environmental study, that Lenard is a long time contractor for the city and not “independent,” and that the city is working so closely with Tilcon’s lobbyists on this.
The mayor in her July 1 letter to residents living near the quarry says “This (study) is being done to ensure that all environmental concerns are being addressed with transparency.”
That is misleading.
Paul E. Zagorsky
Save Our Water CT
Citizen advocates acting to protect and conserve Connecticut's public trust waters.