Gov. Ned Lamont has publicly stated his opposition to the Killingly Energy Center fracked-gas power plant construction sought by NTE, a Florida-based private equity firm. The actions of this administration’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner, Katie Dykes, don’t match up with either the governor’s opposition to the plant or with his clean energy policy for Connecticut.
Permits that have been approved for this 650-megawatt fracked gas power plant, with an emissions stack only 150 feet high, will allow plans for construction to proceed even though it is only about a mile from Killingly’s already-existing 792-megawatt gas power plant.
Carbon dioxide, particulate matter and other pollutants of 2 million tons per year are estimated by NTE’s own printed materials, and will not diffuse high enough in the atmosphere to avoid falling into the soil and water, and to be breathed by residents of Killingly and surrounding towns. Those residents will surely include children, elderly and those with respiratory and other health problems because the facility is within three miles of four public schools, a day care center, a town recreation park, a convalescent center and a recently-built 74-unit elderly housing complex.
D.E.E.P. has already approved the wastewater discharge permit, which will discharge water contaminated with pollutants including ammonia, copper, lead, oil, nickel, phosphorus and zinc to be treated at the Killingly Water Pollution Control on route 12 in Danielson. It is unlikely that the treated water, discharged into the Quinebaug River, can be completely purged of all those pollutants over the 20-year period NTE predicts the plant to be active.
Another factor is the risk to endangered species such as the long-eared owl, as warned by Sierra Club of Connecticut during the state hearing process. Per CT.gov, “The main reason the long eared owl is endangered is because of the lack of habitat due to land development.” D.E.E.P., in granting provisional approval for the Pomfret-Killingly pipeline extension for EverSource, has ignored the impact of such significant environmental disruption to wildlife.
Although NTE presents its fracked gas power plant as cleaner than coal and oil-fired plants, which are expected to close, that is not the same as guaranteeing that this gas powered facility will be clean. The claim of “cleaner” does not equate to “safe.” A “clean” investment in an energy storage plant for wind and solar power or for water power is a better option if NTE wants “safe” energy investment.
Finally, in spite of Gov. Lamont’s stated objection to this plant, his administration’s D.E.E.P. Commissioner Dykes apparently has only taken seriously the “Energy” part of her department at the expense of the “Environmental Protection,” as she has rubber-stamped one permit after another that has allowed this environmentally damaging project to go forward.
For the sake of the health of vulnerable citizens, of finally ending our chronic resort to dirty fossil fuels, please call the governor (800 406-1527) or email him at to turn away from this bridge to the past that has brought us to the brink of our planet’s destruction.
Claudia Allen lives in Thompson.