The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has granted tentative approval of the 401 water quality certification for the Pomfret to Killingly natural gas pipeline. I urge DEEP to deny the 401 certification, as the proposed pipeline would violate the Connecticut’s water quality standards, and the conditions in the draft certification fail to protect our streams, wetlands, and wildlife.
DEEP’s mission is to protect the environment of Connecticut. We in the Northeast “Quiet Corner” cherish our rivers, streams, and wetland areas. That is why we have chosen to live here. The lands to be impacted by this pipeline are special to us, especially the Connecticut Audubon Pomfret and Wyndham Land Trust areas. These lands are fragile, and, in fact, DEEP has been working to restore the Wyndham Marsh, work likely to be undone forever if this proposal is approved. This project would destroy habitat for several state-listed endangered and special concern species including the American bittern, Northern long-eared owl, Northern long-eared bat, Eastern box turtle and wood turtle.
This is one of the most important areas of pristine land still left on the Eastern seaboard, known as “The Last Green Valley” and part of the Quinebaug-Shetucket National Heritage Corridor. The water here supplies much of Eastern Connecticut, all the way to Long Island Sound. Potential leaks from the pipeline and construction damage threaten the waters of the Quinebaug River and several streams and wetlands that the pipeline will cross.
In the bigger picture is the purpose of this pipeline, which is to feed a new source of pollution to our air and water, the proposed Killingly Energy Center. This pipeline would destroy wetlands and endangered species in order to build an unneeded and unwanted gas plant that flies in the face of Connecticut’s mandated climate goals. Emissions from a second gas plant in Killingly would endanger the health of the children in several schools located near the site, and add to high rates of asthma in Windham County.
DEEP should deny 401 certification for this pipeline because it will jeopardize our endangered wildlife, waterways, and wetlands – as well as our communities and our health!
Susan Eastwood of Ashford is Chapter Chair of the Sierra Club Connecticut.