Council suggests Connecticut Siting Council promote responsible development and not encourage energy gluttons at the expense of other parts of the state.
Mansfield may be the lone voice in this region opposing plans by CL&P to build new power transmission lines that would cut through several towns in northeast Connecticut.
At its Nov. 24 meeting, the Town Council voted to put its objections in writing, to be forwarded to the decision-making body, the Connecticut Citing Council – but the council also learned that 12 other towns affected by the project either are unconcerned or have yet to take a position for or against.
Council member Carl Schaefer suggested that Mansfield might inspire some of these towns to think differently. “Maybe we take the initiative here,” he said, “and pull these towns along.”
At its Nov. 10 meeting, the Town Council asked Town Manager Matt Hart to contact other towns that will be affected by what’s known as the Interstate Reliability Project, to explore whether they might join in a collective effort to respond to the plan, possibly even to pool resources to hire specialized legal counsel.
Hart reported that except for Lebanon – whose residents recently fended off CL&P’s plans to expand the Card Street substation – none of the other towns seem to feel the same concerns as Mansfield.
“Based on responses received from other affected towns, there currently is no regional consensus about the proposal. Brooklyn, Coventry, Killingly, Pomfret and Windham have indicated that the current plan is acceptable as proposed,” Hart said.
Chaplin, Columbia, Hampton, Putnam, Scotland and Thompson, “have either not taken a position… or not yet responded,” Hart said.
He also noted that the Mansfield Planning and Zoning Commission has now gone on record as opposed to the project because of its “expected detrimental impacts to neighboring schools, residences, parks (Mansfield Hollow) and farmland, and its overall impact on the rural character in this part of the state.
The Town Council’s objections include many of these same concerns outlined in a letter sent Northeast Utilities/CL&P, to be included in documents submitted by in an application submitted to the Connecticut Siting Council by the end of November.
Instead of adding more transmission lines and more capacity, the letter states, CL&P and the Connecticut Siting Council should focus on:
- promoting energy conservation
- promoting energy storage within the existing systems
- promoting alternative sources of generating energy, and
- making decisions that encourage new development – especially those with high energy demands – to locate in areas where there already is sufficient infrastructure and capacity.
The letter also stresses that the proposed transmission lines’ route passes through areas that state statutes and long-range planning documents list as important to the region, such as preservation and conservation areas and rural lands.
And it references the fact that these lines are not intended to enhance service in northeast Connecticut ; instead, they are in response to energy demands generated in the Stamford area.
“Many area towns and public agencies are working to preserve the rural and historic character of eastern Connecticut and a need for more transmission capacity is not anticipated in this area,” the letter states.
Should the Siting Council approve the currently proposed route, however, the letter asks that CL&P work with Mansfield officials and property owners to mitigate the impact – for example buying the Mount Hope Montessori School property, installing underground lines, relocating some structures and/or using alternative structures in order minimize tree-cutting, and paying for damage to farmlands.
Posted Nov. 30, 2008
[Editor's Note: also see "Strength in numbers: Town Council to explore joining with other towns to put brakes on CL&P project," "CL&P may be asked to buy Mount Hope Montessori School," and "NU plans Mansfield meeting on $251M transmission project," published in Mansfield Today. ]
For more information see : http://mansfield.htnp.com/news/mansfield_council_officially_opposes_cl_p_project.html