A public protest is set for this Sunday, November 5th
SOUTHPORT—Residents along the shoreline, from Southport to Bridgeport, will be protesting on Sunday afternoon; proposed new UI mono-poles are set to be installed. They are far larger than the existing ones, and will require 40-foot-deep foundations to support them. This project will grant permanent easements to UI for almost 20 acres of land. Residents, businesses, non-profits and local municipalities say it will not only take land; it will impact business, protective vegetation, health and safety.
Critics say they were not aware of United Illuminating’s plans, nor the impact, “until the 11th hour”. News12 Connecticut highlighted the controversy back in September 2023.
The project is in 5 phases, running from Fairfield to New Haven; three have been completed. Phase 5 is pending, and would install:
- 7.3 miles of new transmission lines
- over 100 new poles
- poles from 95-195 ft each
The poles would go in from just east of Sasco Creek (Southport) to the Congress St. substation (Bridgeport). The land battle has drawn the attention of local politicians, and a bi-partisan letter campaign has expressed strong reservations about UI’s plans. Their goal was to force UI to withdraw its application from the CT Siting Council, and re-start the process.
Critics point out the poles will be installed in historically and archeologically significant areas–that the lines will run over top of multiple sites that are on the National Registry of Historic Places. Other concerns listed include:
- Significant deforestation – 6.5 acres of tree will be removed, 5.5 acres of which will be permanent – so much of the vegetation that currently serves as a visual barrier between the community and train / power infrastructure will disappear
- Health and environmental concerns – ongoing maintenance of the widened UI corridor will require additional pesticides and herbicides to kill the surrounding vegetation, posing environmental concerns, particularly in delicate ecosystems like wetlands, estuaries, and the Long Island Sound. These chemicals will expose nearby yards and playgrounds, posing health concerns for families/children who live and play in them.
- Safety concerns – increased risks of wildfires (due to extreme heat as well as high speed winds that could topple towers and lines), particularly because the towers/lines will be located in densely populated, largely residential areas
The protest will be held Sunday, November 5th at 2 pm at the Pequot Library.