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Source: Hartford Courant

Letters: Water Plant A Violation Of Public Trust

Posted: April 15, 2016
Originally Published: April 15, 2016

The April 12 letter "Water Plant Good For Bloomfield" mentioned Citizens Campaign for the Environment. To be clear, CCE remains opposed to the privatization of public water supplies, especially when it involves backdoor deals without a reasonable opportunity for public participation.

This facility is projected to have the capacity to withdraw 1.8 million gallons from Connecticut's public water supply each day. The company received a $4 million-plus tax break from the town, in addition to discounts on water rates and sewer fees from the MDC, making this a deal that clearly benefits Niagara at the expense ratepayers and taxpayers.

Worst of all, the proposal circumvents the statewide water planning process underway in Hartford. This is being done to ensure our water supply is managed in a way that balances the water needs of the public businesses. Under state law, the Department of Public Health has the authority to limit the public's water consumption during a drought or other public water emergency. However, absent the governor's declaration of a statewide drought, no agency has the right to limit water withdrawals from large private users like Niagara.

The Niagara Bottling plant is a bad deal that puts corporate profits over public need, and it is a violation of the public trust.

Louis W. Burch
The writer is Connecticut program director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment.