The residents of Rocky Hill handed Spectra Energy a decisive defeat last week when the Town Council voted unanimously to deny a lease for an infusion station where compressed gas would be released into the Algonquin pipeline. On December 7, officials from Pentagon Energy, LLC gave the details of their proposal to a largely empty room, which included deliveries of natural gas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for five months of the year, as well as the construction of a 2,700 foot paved access road. The compressor station would have been located in the Old Forge Road industrial park.
On Dec 21, the hearing reconvened to a room filled with residents and activists. This time, Council members heard from people, including our friends from the Sierra Club and 350CT, who were concerned about the constant traffic, increased noise and air pollution, danger from methane leaks, and impact on global warming. When the Town Council met again to vote on January 19, the vote was unanimous and across party lines – nine to zero against the proposal. When asked about the vote, Town Council members cited the specific health and environmental concerns of the residents, while criticizing Pentagon Energy for downplaying these concerns in their initial proposal.
Jen Siskind, of Food and Water Watch, has been organizing local efforts like this one to oppose natural gas in Connecticut communities. “Rocky Hill citizens spoke up and prevented a local project that threatened their health, safety and quality of life,” she said. “Currently, three towns in CT have passed local ordinances banning fracking waste, joining hundreds of municipalities in surrounding states with similar local protections.”
Even though the Town Council in Rocky Hill voted to oppose the compressor station, residents are still concerned. Pentagon Energy has taken an option to lease privately owned land in the neighboring town of Cromwell, which would mean that residents would still be impacted by the compressor station. Siskind said that area residents from Rocky Hill, Cromwell, and Middletown are currently planning their next move.
In preparation, local residents, along with Food & Water Watch, are planning an informational session on fracking on Thursday, January 28 at 7:00pm in the Hubbard Room at the Russell Library. Siskind will present a powerpoint presentation, including videos, photos and science-based resources on fracking and fracking waste, as well as information about how local communities can oppose natural gas.
Even though this was one decision by one town, it shows that these local battles matter and that showing up to these meetings makes a difference. For more information about this event, visit www.foodandwaterwatch.org. For questions, contact Lyn Shaw at 860-346-0862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.