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Your March 16 editorial, "Bridgewater blues," appropriately criticizes the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for allowing the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates to circumvent state environmental regulations for its new state-subsidized headquarters on the Stamford waterfront. But the editorial incorrectly suggests DEEP should never take economic considerations into account when making regulatory decisions.
With Connecticut's economy suffering, it is important that regulatory agencies like DEEP weigh the benefits of regulations against their economic costs. But whatever the outcome of that analysis, agencies must set rules and standards that apply with equal weight to all Connecticut residents. They cannot make exceptions for particular politically connected businesses.
Yet this is exactly what happened with Bridgewater's waiver. The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency recently requested a nearly identical waiver to Bridgewater's for an economic development plan, but was denied. What's the difference? Gov. Malloy is politically invested in Bridgewater's application, having promised $115 million in state incentives for Bridgewater's new headquarters.
Bridgewater's waiver is an example of the governor pushing through a political pet project that, given its cost to taxpayers, is of questionable economic value to the state in the first place.