The Connecticut Land Conservation Council announced this morning that, like Connecticut Audubon Society, it is opposed to a bill in Hartford that would allow cell towers to be built in state parks.
The Council is a coalition of land trusts, statewide conservation and advocacy organizations, town conservation and open space commissions, garden clubs and private individuals who work together for the common interests of Connecticut’s conservation community (that sentence is directly from the CLCC’s website).
Its reasons for opposing SB 447, An Act Modernizing the State’s Telecommunications Laws, are the same as ours. The reasoning was so well-expressed that we thought we’d quote at length from the CLCC’s statement:
CLCC is opposed to language in the bill which would declare that the construction of telecommunications towers or related equipment is “deemed to be a public purpose and not in conflict with park or forest purposes”, thereby removing the DEEP Commissioner’s ability to use his discretion in making that determination.
The erection and operation of cell phone towers require the construction of roads, accessory buildings, and continuing access for maintenance – activities which can seriously fragment habitat and result in pollution from leaking generators or fuel tanks. Like any development, an application for the construction of such towers should be carefully scrutinized.
CLCC and our partners strongly contend that the environmental impacts of any proposed use of state forest and conservation lands need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with existing law. …
History and Status of Bill
The bill was approved by the Energy and Technology Committee, but several committee members, including Representatives Reed, Ritter and Becker, expressed strong opposition to Sections 14 – 16, and stated that they were supporting the bill in the committee but probably would not support it in the full House unless that section were removed. Representative Nardello voted against the measure. The bill will probably need to be approved by other committees before facing action in the full House.
Senator Fonfara, a proponent of Sections 14 – 16, stated in the committee debate that he realizes that those sections must be changed. At least one representative of the telecommunications industry has stated that the industry would agree to delete the sections entirely, but we remain concerned that some version of them will be retained as the bill moves forward.
Our statement on the bill can be found here. We again urge you to let your representatives know that the provision of the bill that would allow cell towers should be stricken. Click this link to find contact information for your representatives. – Tom Andersen, Director of Communications and Community Outreach