Blacker: Questions Promise of Multi-use State Pier, Calls for Public Hearing

I appreciated Cate Hewitt’s article on State Pier. CT Examiner continues to showcase exemplary newspaper reporting.

According to CPA Chairman David Kooris, State Pier will remain a multi-use port.  I disagree.

To quote the good judgement of Congressman Joe Courtney:

I have to confess. They say they’re going to accommodate other users but I, uh, every time I look at the plans, it doesn’t really look like there’s any space for them to do that.

Courtney expressed the hope that the port authority would instead take the

opportunity to modify or at least confirm that other users are going to be able to, are not just going to get pushed out for what ever period of time that they’re  going to be doing that wind turbine construction.

According to the International Longshoremen’s Association 1411, DRVN Enterprises Salt, and the commercial fishermen at State Pier, these modifications or confirmations were never achieved.

On Aug. 4, the SECCOG Executive Committee, which serves as the region’s MPO/Transportation Planning organization, requested that the region’s transportation plan be modified to reflect that State Pier will no longer be available for freight use.  

They decided to notify the Federal Highway Administration, DOT, and CPA Chairman, David Kooris, of their concern over the current State Pier plan.

According to SECCOG Executive Director Jim Butler, a recording of that decision was be posted Friday morning. I recommend watching it (especially 17:09-24:50).

A Public Hearing is needed to either quell or expose the discrepancies between what the CT Port Authority is telling the Army Corps and what elected leaders with proven foresight and prudent judgement believe is actually going to happen.

According to page 6 of the  Army Corps’ public notice:

Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider the application. Requests for a public hearing shall specifically state the reasons for holding a public hearing. The Corps holds public hearings for the purpose of obtaining public comments when that is the best means for understanding a wide variety of concerns from a diverse segment of the public.

The public deserves a hearing because the lead up to a hearing will generate newspaper coverage. Newspaper coverage will generate interest. Interest will draw people. People will share their knowledge and perspective, allowing the strongest possible plan to be made. That’s the American way. 

Kevin Blacker
Noank, CT

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