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Political roadhouse brawl at State Pier

Op-eds, insults, pink paint, and felony charges flying as two chairmen, an executive Director and office manager at the Port Authority all lost their jobs. Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s investigation of the Connecticut Port Authority is dragging through its second year.

The press outside of Southeastern Connecticut seems largely unaware of the political roadhouse brawl going on at State Pier over plans to fill 7 ½ acres of the deepest commercially available water in the state. The recent op-ed by Eversource’s Joe Nolan and Orsted’s David Hardy paints a deceptively rosy picture.

Here are a few important facts they left out:

The 400 jobs they reference in their recent op-ed are part-time and temporary.

Roughly 100 people lost their jobs as DRVN Enterprises and the ILA 1411 Longshoremen’s Union were forced out of State Pier with no viable alternate location to continue operations.

All conventional cargo that used to arrive efficiently at State Pier by ship has been displaced. It will now have to be inefficiently (environmentally and economically) trucked to the region increasing road wear, pollution, and traffic accidents.

Initially sold to the public as a $93 million plan to remake State Pier; the price quickly grew to $157 million, then $200 million with Connecticut taxpayers being asked to chip in $120 million and cover all cost overruns.

The project is already over a year behind schedule and faces strict deadlines and well-defined consequences for tardiness.

The $5.25 million Host Community Agreement only pays New London if the project goes to full scope. The project is highly likely to go to MINIMAL SCOPE meaning the HCA will not apply.

The bulk of the $77.5 million investment by Eversource and Orsted goes away under MINIMAL SCOPE. And the lease term of State Pier drops from 10 years down to two.

If completed State Pier will enter a crowded and highly competitive field of wind ports. Every State on the Eastern Seaboard from Virginia up is undertaking similar wind port development based largely on the unrealistic promises of former oil companies like Orsted. We’re not all going to be winners.

Climate change is an existential and immediate threat. We shouldn’t let critical thinking, prudent judgement, and honest process go out the window in the necessary pursuit of clean renewable energy. Please pay attention to what is happening at State Pier.

Kevin Blacker lives in the Noank section of Groton. This commentary originally appeared in The Connecticut Mirror (www.ctmirror.org). Copyright 2021 © The Connecticut Mirror.

 

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