To The Editor:
Almost over two years ago The City of New Britain held hearings at the Slade School pertaining to the sale of a watershed to Tilcon, Inc. The basic issue would be selling 13.6 acres of Class I watershed land and 111.9 acres of Class II watershed land. At that hearing I requested that the city provide its citizens with an “evidence-based scientific” report on the impact of such a sale. Evidence-based science requires scientific evidence to support the conclusions and recommendations of the study demanded by Public Act 16-61.
The report, “Environmental Study: Change In Use Of New Britain Water Company Land was submitted to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). It is available on the Council’s website: http://www.ct.gov/ceq/site/default.asp; the Council submitted its report to Mayor Erin Stewart on May 25, 2018.
Over the period of these two years, attorney Paul Zagorsky and I spoke to dozens of area groups including civic organizations, conservation groups and others.
Members of Preserve Our Watersheds CT (POWCT) spoke to many more. During these talks we noted that preliminary studies reported by Lenard Engineering were deficient due to a lack of complete fall and winter data, lack of repeated surveys lack of use of ultrasonic devices used to assess bats, lack of transect based point counts for wildlife, lack of information on migratory bird species, mammals and no inclusion of air quality, cumulative environmental impacts, soil erosion effects of blasting on surrounding communities and alternative quarry sites. Recall, the city paid taxpayer dollars, $350,000, for this study. Its science overall is lacking.
The CEQ concludes, “…that the environmental consequences of the proposal would be adverse and that the need for the additional water storage capacity is not established in the report. Its assumptions about increased demand and reduced supply posit the worst extremes of each. The potential for reductions in demand is not fully considered.”
The city is now required to hold a public hearing on the CEQ’s report. It should be a brief meeting.
The conclusions are now self-evident. It is time for the mayor and the Common Council to do its job and reject Tilcon’s desire to acquire these watershed lands. Water is not only a public resource, it is a public trust.
Richard L. Judd