New bill to hold Connecticut Siting Council accountable on projects like UI monopoles

The House bill raises concerns about the makeup and expertise of the state Siting Council.

Mark Sudol

Mar 7, 2024, 10:31 PM

Updated 41 days ago

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A new bill in Hartford is giving lawmakers and people from Fairfield a chance to voice their continued frustrations over projects like United Illuminating's monopole proposal.
People from Fairfield lashed out at a hearing Thursday in Hartford.
"We don't feel like we're being protected," said Meghan McCloat, from Fairfield.
They are demanding changes to the state Siting Council following frustration on how the UI monopole project was approved.
"We don't feel like we're being represented. We don't feel like we have a voice and in fact we don't feel it’s an equitable option for justice to be delivered on this issue," said McCloat.
The House bill raises concerns about the makeup and expertise of the state Siting Council.
Some of the key points include that the governor should appoint the chairman of the council, and if necessary, the council should employ one or more independent consultants.
"The Siting Council was not all that interested in getting all the facts to make the best decision necessary," said state Sen. Tony Hwang.
People testifying Thursday say they are upset about the Siting Council making decisions without knowing what the final project will actually look like.
"They did not disclose to anybody along the way that in fact they were taking new easements from individual property owners, municipalities, churches," said Steve Ozyck, from Fairfield.
United Illuminating's plan is to install more than 100 monopoles across seven miles through Fairfield and Southport.
People have argued the project is taking away people's property rights and they don't understand why power lines can't be buried.
The Connecticut Siting Council approved UI's monopole project last month.
UI is now in the design phase of that plan and should have more details in nine to 12 months.


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