Black Rocker Jennifer Buchanan, co-host of the Bridgeport Now public access cable show, wonders if the benefits of United Illuminating’s plan to install 9,000 solar panels on the old dump in Seaside Park outweigh the risks. The state regulatory agency Connecticut Siting Council conducted a public hearing last week on the proposal supported by Mayor Bill Finch and approved by the City Council. The agency is the final step in the approval process.
Can Taxpayers afford the risk and liability?
The proposed UI installation of a Solar power plant on the landfill adjoining Seaside Park appears to be a positive, productive and income-producing use of land probably not suitable for any use, other than visual open space.
One issue not receiving publicity is the liability to taxpayers included in the land lease for this project. The agreement gives total control of the landfill to UI and total liability to the City of Bridgeport. We the taxpayers are liable for any and all illness, injury or death caused by the toxic material contained in the landfill.
Workers will probably be covered by workman’s compensation. This does not prevent workers (illness, injury or death) from seeking additional damages from the City. We the taxpayers, not UI, will be on the hook for any lawsuit brought by workers, and possibly any damage to the environment for the 20 or more years of the UI lease.
Landfills are living, moving, constantly decaying, organic masses; producing toxic gas and liquids capable of escape into both the air and water. The installation of 8,550 solar panels, bolted onto two solid cement pads measuring approximately 3 x 2 x 2 will add tons of weight and pressure to a 1/2 mile long, 12 acre area on the top of this landfill. There is no guarantee this weight will not compromise the stability of this unlined landfill, which could result in toxic fumes escaping into the air, and contaminated liquid seeping into Long Island Sound.
The question each of us needs to ask; is the benefit worth the risk? Is $350,000 per year this project could bring to Bridgeport enough to cover the financial risk to us, the taxpayers?
I do not believe the benefits outweigh the risks and cannot support this site as appropriate.
UI has listed 10 other equally suitable sites they have considered. Many are located in areas zoned industrial, and not owned by the city. We receive the benefit of having a solar power facility, equal or more income from taxes, without the inherent risk and real liability of building on a toxic, fragile landfill ecosystem, located next to Seaside Park.
The CT Siting Council is the last step in the approval process for this location. They are accepting written (on recycled paper) public comments until September 30. This is your opportunity to communicate your opinion on the use of this site. I urge you to weigh the benefits against the risk and write.
CT. Siting Council, 10 Franklin Square, New Britain CT 06051.