Virginia Lee’s Comments at the December 5 EFSB Public Hearing

The following comments were spoken by Virginia Lee at the December 5 Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) Public Hearing at the Charlestown Elementary School. Virginia Lee is President of the Charlestown Town Council.

My name is Virginia Lee. I am President of the Charlestown Town Council who authorized me to speak tonight on behalf of the Town of Charlestown.

First, thank you for granting Charlestown intervener status and for holding a public hearing here tonight so that you can hear our concerns in a proper public forum.

Second, we appreciate your diligence and thoroughness in this permitting process. Please respect the rural nature of our town and the initiatives and regulations we have put in place over many years to protect it and the heath and safety of our citizens.

Third, the Town Council has passed two resolutions of objection. I offer copies to you and ask you to formally enter them into your record this evening.

The Town of Charlestown objects to the transfer of large volumes of water out of the Pawcatuck sole source aquifer. Charlestown has no municipal water or sewer utilities; every household, business and public building relies solely on wells for drinking water and septic systems for wastewater treatment, a process that sustainably draws from and then recharges our groundwater aquifer. The arrangement by Invenergy to permanently take away large volumes of water from wells in our town to truck it to the northern part of the state potentially depletes our drinking water and therefore the health and safety of our citizens. It also threatens our quality of life if wetland habitats are lost or freshwater ponds dry up. Trucking large volumes of water out of town potentially threatens the health and safety of people living along and using the roads.

It is unprofessional how the applicant is handling this permitting process. A power plant cannot operate without water. Although they have been seeking a permit to build a power plant for several years, their water plan is still incomplete. We suddenly hear about their plan for supplemental water from a newspaper article this October; the applicant did not have the common courtesy to notify the town of their intentions.

Even though Invenergy is proposing to build a public utility, they are negotiating in secret, keeping key documents hidden from public view, so the Town Council and the general public have not been able to get even basic information necessary to assess how big an impact this may have on our town. Moreover the plans that are submitted are vague, ambiguous and keep changing in a manner that defies objective analysis. It has already been costly for the town to hire lawyers and experts to review their inadequate documents. This should not continue.

The applicant’s actions undermine the open, deliberative process required for public confidence in government decision-making. Please reject this proposed supplemental water supply plan because it is vague, ambiguous, misleading, unnecessary, environmentally detrimental and a risk to the public health, safety and welfare.

Virginia Lee

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