Council voted unanimously against project in its present form 

FAIRFIELD, CT – State Representative Jennifer Leeper (D-Fairfield), State Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), and Fairfield First Selectman Bill Gerber today supported the Connecticut Siting Council’s unanimous vote against the United Illuminating (UI) Railroad Transmission Line Upgrade Project as proposed.  

During Thursday’s Siting Council finding of fact meeting, the Council examined the submitted evidence and made a preliminary non-binding opinion on UI’s proposed project in Docket 516. Not one commissioner voted in support of UI’s project as proposed. Four commissioners, including the Chairman, supported the perspective that the new monopoles should be moved to the north side of the tracks, so as to avoid the creation of a second transmission corridor in such a congested region. One commissioner even voted no on the entire project.  

Specific environmental concerns were also raised by the commissioners and will need to be addressed by UI in an updated plan to be resubmitted to the CT Siting Council.  

“I wholeheartedly support the decision made by the Connecticut Siting Council today, with not one commissioner voting in favor of the plan as proposed. UI put forward an unreasonable proposal and today the Siting Council recognized that,” Rep. Leeper said. “This decision comes as a result of the passionate work of the people of Fairfield. Residents have been united in their opposition to this intrusive, destructive, and opaque plan, and have raised valid and specific concerns throughout this process. Today’s Siting Council decision shows that they took seriously the facts raised by intervenors, considered them closely, and are holding our electric utility to a reasonable standard. For this, I am tremendously grateful. This decision is non-binding and therefore, does not mark the end of our advocacy. Nonetheless, today, we breathe a small sigh of relief here in Fairfield and Bridgeport.” 

“I am eager to review this report in detail,” Sen. Hwang said. “UI’s monopole project will adversely affect our communities in Bridgeport and Fairfield/Southport. It will negatively impact residents and businesses who are united in their objection to this disruptive project. UI’s lack of transparency during this process has been frustrating. That being said, it should be noted that the fight continues on this issue. The town, residents, and commercial intervenors will continue the fight for their rights and access to the facts in any manner they can. I am part of a bipartisan coalition of legislative leaders from Fairfield and Bridgeport which is united in our support of the towns, residents and commercial businesses. This is a fight for fairness. It is a fight to demand respect for ratepayers and their property rights.”   

Town of Fairfield First Selectman Bill Gerber said, “Yesterday’s public deliberation is a significant step in the right direction.  The Town appreciates the Siting Council’s consideration of the precious cultural resources to the south of the railroad tracks, including the historic properties, religious institutions, residences and businesses that all would have been devastated by UI’s preferred option.  However, the Town still believes that undergrounding is the best solution for this project.  We continue to have serious concerns about the potential impacts of a double-circuit design.  There should be no easements over sensitive areas to the north of the railroad tracks, and the monopoles should not be taller than those that are currently there.” 

Rep. Leeper represents the 132nd District, which includes Fairfield and Southport. Sen. Hwang represents the 28th District, which includes Fairfield, Bethel, Easton, and Newtown. First Selectman Berger was elected to serve Fairfield in 2023. 

By Alex

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