East Lyme and Waterford residents join to discuss data center concerns
Waterford ― For the first time, East Lyme residents joined the Concerned Citizens of Waterford at the group’s Tuesday night meeting to share their own concerns about a proposed data center on the Millstone Power Site.
“They would be affected too,” meeting organizer Bryan Sayles said Tuesday about the East Lyme residents.
The Concerned Citizens of Waterford formed Aug. 15, with the goal of collecting information about data centers and their impact on communities.
That meeting came about five months after First Selectman Rob Brule signed a host fee agreement with data center developer NE Edge. That agreement, signed on March 17, signaled the town was open to hosting a data center.
Per the agreement, NE Edge would pay the town $231 million over a 30-year period to construct two two-story data center buildings that would provide around 1.5 million square feet of storage for cloud and data centers.
The data center would be supplied with energy from Millstone.
East Lyme is directly adjacent to the Millstone Property, across Niantic Bay. Tuesday’s meeting was attended by six East Lyme residents, who realized that noise from the data center might also reach them and questioned whether they should start their own opposition.
Sayles said they should reach out to their town government and sign petitions like the Waterford group has done. The Concerned Citizens of Waterford has collected signatures from residents on two petitions.
The first asks that Brule conduct a public information meeting on the project that could accommodate a large crowd.
The second states residents feel they have sufficient information to oppose the data center, Sayles said.
Sayles suggested East Lyme residents draft a similar petition.
RTM to discuss data center next week
The agenda for Monday’s Representative Town Meeting calls for an update on the data center status. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.
“I’m not sure what to expect with the RTM meeting,” Sayles said Wednesday. “There’s going to be updates from the developer I suppose. I’m not sure if there’s going to be the ability to ask any questions.”
“I know at the Board of Selectman meeting, you could give a comment but you couldn’t give anything that would incite a back-and-forth,” Sayles said.
RTM Moderator Paul Goldstein could not be reached for comment.
At that selectmen’s meeting, Sayles explained the public was told there would be no back and forth commentary between residents and selectman about the data center. The selectmen listened to comments but they did not answer questions.
Sayles added that he’s unsure if an RTM meeting would be the proper venue for residents’ concerns about the data center to be properly addressed while a townwide meeting would give them the ability to “have their questions answered truthfully and let them know how the town feels.”
“Face the people you govern and listen to what they have to say,” Sayles said.
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