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Opponents of a new Connecticut natural gas plant will keep fighting despite a court loss

Toby Talbot

Environmentalists opposed to a proposed $700 million gas-fired electric power plant in northeastern Connecticut vow to continue their fight against the plant despite losing in the state Supreme Court last week.

Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruling upheld state regulators' approval of the construction of the 650 megawatt plant in Killingly owned by Florida-based NTE Energy.

The high court dismissed a complaint by environmentalists, led by a local group called Not Another Power Plant, who had argued that the state’s Citing Council was wrong to have approved the facility.

They said the environmental impact of upgrading a pipeline needed to deliver gas to the plant should have been considered.

Mary Miller, the group’s attorney, said her clients will continue the fight..

“We will be challenging the pipeline going forward,” Miller said.

The gas pipeline is owned by Eversource, the state’s largest utility. They have yet to apply for state permits for the expansion. Miller said her clients would oppose any such move.

“Right now Eversource has not actually released their plans to us so it’s hard to say if they are continuing to consider this route,” Miller said.

Samantha Dynowski is with Sierra Club Connecticut. She said they have already submitted to state regulators their opposition to an expansion of the pipeline.

“And those include the habitat that would be destroyed for state listed species — things like the northern long eared owl, the eastern box turtle, the American bittern and the wood turtle,” Dynowski said.

An Eversource spokesman said the company is a natural gas distribution firm. So if the Killingly plant gets the necessary approvals, is built and the developer requests natural gas service, they would work with them to connect the facility to the Eversource gas supply.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.