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State Senator

Julie Kushner

Representing Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman

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Sen. Kushner’s Bill Protecting CT’s Air Quality Approved By Environment Committee

HARTFORD – The Environment Committee gave unanimous and bipartisan approval today to a bill introduced by state Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) that provides air quality monitoring assistance to towns like Sherman, Kent and New Fairfield that may have their air quality affected by the Cricket Valley Energy Center in New York.

Senate Bill 585, “AN ACT CONCERNING AIR QUALITY MONITORING IN TOWNS NEAR THE CRICKET VALLEY ENERGY CENTER,” now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration. The bill passed on the last day of the regular committee meeting schedule of the Environment Committee.

“We need to establish some baseline air quality measurements in nearby towns so we know what air quality we have now, and how that air quality might be degraded in the coming years,” Sen. Kushner said regarding the need for her bill. “If there’s a problem, we’ll know about it, and we will have the facts to take action and protect public health.”

Western Connecticut residents are concerned about possible air pollution from the 1,110-megawatt Cricket Valley Energy power plant that is being built in Dover Plains, New York – less than 10 miles from the Sherman Town Green, and less than 20 miles from New Fairfield Town Hall.

The plant, powered by natural gas, is expected to go online in mid-November.

Since the Cricket Valley project was a New York State project, the residents of Kent, Sherman, New Fairfield and other adjacent Connecticut towns weren’t aware of it until after the project had been approved and construction began.

Even Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection(DEEP) officials concede that the Cricket Valley Energy plant will contribute more pollutants into the air in at least a 50-mile radius of the plant – they just don’t know exactly where, and how much.

The bill calls for DEEP to provide technical assistance and support “to any municipality that purchases, leases or is provided the use of air monitoring equipment for the purpose of establishing an air quality baseline in such municipality and determining any effect on such baseline by the Cricket Valley Energy Center in the State of New York.” That assistance may include information on the best practices for establishing a baseline, guidance on the siting and placement of air quality monitors, information concerning the best maintenance and practices required to assure the accuracy of air quality monitors, proposed schedules for data retrieval, and reviewing the results.

If approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by the governor, the bill would take effect October 1 of this year.

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