Over objections from a road salt distributor pushed off the New London State Pier, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection approved a permit for the Connecticut Port Authority to fill the area around the pier as part of its redevelopment into a hub for offshore wind construction.
DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes issued a final decision on Tuesday approving the port authority’s permit to fill about seven cubic acres between the two existing piers to facilitate the pier’s redevelopment. Dykes ruled the port authority’s application was complete, despite claims from the salt distributor DRVN that it was not.
DRVN, which has been displaced by the redevelopment project, argued that DEEP and the port authority didn’t consider the impact the project would have on the business as a water dependent user.
DRVN’s case centered on a “notice of insufficiency” DEEP issued to the port authority, asking it to provide more information to complete certain parts of its application. DEEP asked the authority to provide information about water-dependent users that would be impacted by the project. DRVN said it’s water dependent use – importing salt over the water – was not considered, so the application was not complete.
DEEP said the notice of insufficiency was “the opening of a dialogue with the applicant to ensure the application is complete,” and is not the final decision on the application’s merits. The commissioner determines if an application is complete, and the authority didn’t need to include more information about DRVn to complete the application, the decision said.
The decision from Dykes said the proposed filling at the port is consistent with the state’s standards, including that water dependent uses at the port can continue after the project is completed.
“The intervenor’s frustration with the cessation of its business activity at the State Pier is apparent but by itself does not support the findings it seeks [to reject the permit],” the decision read.
The authority is still awaiting approval of a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.