We only have one planet and we need to treat it like the irreplaceable gem it is. Thatâ€™s why we are concerned about the results of a recent environmental impact study on a proposed Tilcon mining expansion plan.
The release of the 500-page study by Lenard Engineering signaled the start of a lengthy process of state agency review before the plan can be presented to the legislature for approval. The proposal has already faced stiff opposition from environmentalists statewide. Among the findings, the project would likely kill off animal species including salamanders and box turtles and require rerouting of the Metacomet Trail.
Tilcon opponent and New Britain resident Paul Zagorsky told The Herald the report makes frequent references to the â€śdirect mortality of all species, total habitat loss and habitat degradation to areas adjacent to the proposed quarry limits.â€ť
The area targeted for the expansion is on Plainville land owned by the New Britain Water Co. In return, Tilcon would give Plainville, Southington and New Britain 291 acres of open space. Tilcon would pay New Britain to mine the land and eventually return the mined land to the city in the form of a reservoir.
While the deal on paper appears to be a win for New Britain in terms of money and water resources, we ask, what is the real cost to the environment?
In general, research shows the environmental impact of mining can include erosion, sinkholes, contamination of soil and groundwater as well as pollution from water runoff into nearby streams and brooks.
In particular, even if Tilcon were to fulfill its promise to dig a new reservoir, the quality of the water would be suspect.
The subcontractors who examined the potential water quality of the proposed reservoir for Lenard concluded â€śthere would no significant contamination.â€ť
However, photos taken by Protect Our Watersheds CT show the quarry filled with dark green water. Lenard officials said the new reservoir would be so large that any pollutants would be â€śgreatly diluted.â€ť
We think diluted chemicals in a potable water source is unacceptable.
So, we ask: do we want to sacrifice our one and only planet for a bag of money and a hole in the ground?
Sorry Tilcon, we choose Earth.