Statement of Attorney General Candidate Chris Mattei on Tilcon Quarry Expansion
I am deeply concerned by the joint proposal of New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart and Tilcon, Inc., a subsidiary of an international conglomerate, to enter a long-term lease that would allow Tilcon to mine and quarry 131 acres of public watershed land in close proximity to a major water source.
As a candidate for Attorney General and a citizen of the State of Connecticut, I have strong policy and legal objections to the proposal.
First, I am skeptical of any proposal to turn over public lands and resources for a private enterprise that will permanently alter the topography, ecosystem and available public use of our land. This is especially true where, as happened here, the two parties who claim they will benefit financially from the transaction – Tilcon and the Stewart Administration – paid for the environmental impact study. Prior to a recent change in the law, former Attorney General Blumenthal opined that any such study must be paid for and conducted by a neutral third party.
Second, the proponents acknowledge that the destruction of a sensitive watershed requires a change to existing state law. The proposed change could have major legal implications for protected watershed property throughout the State of Connecticut. It is not at all clear to me that such a broad exception would be compatible with other existing statutes, including the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act, and the state’s environmental protection goals.
Third, I am troubled by the fact that the elimination of watershed would disproportionately impact poor communities and communities of color, which for too long have borne the burden of environmental degradation, resulting in adverse health and wellness consequences.