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October 2007

Connecticut attorney general seeks additional industry regulations

Connecticut attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, announced that at the request of Bridgeport and area municipalities, he will spearhead a drive to regulate fees at the state’s trash-to-energy plants, as well as require licensing and background checks for trash haulers.

Blumenthal agreed to lead the effort after a meeting with Bridgeport mayor John Fabrizi and chief executives of six other Bridgeport area towns.

The mayors and first selectmen want regulation of the plants, currently owned by the quasi-public Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA), because the facilities may end up in private hands in the next few years. They fear that private owners will have monopolistic power, causing municipal tipping fees to skyrocket. CRRA’s plants are located in Bridgeport, Hartford, Preston and Wallingford.

Blumenthal will ask the legislature to have the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) regulate disposal fees charged by the plants. The mayors also agreed to support Blumenthal’s longstanding call for background checks and licensing of trash haulers to curb organized crime influence in the industry.

“I will fight for laws regulating the state trash industry - assuring that facility rates are fair and reasonable - so consumers are protected from trash disposal charges spiraling upward,” Blumenthal said. “With trash-to-energy plants facing possible privatization, the state must ensure that towns and cities with few alternatives for trash disposal pay fair and reasonable fees. Municipalities must not be at the mercy of huge corporations with monopolistic power over prices.

“Our coalition will push for licensing and background checks that I have long advocated, to curb the pervasive and pernicious influence of organized crime in the state’s trash industry. Recent scandals and arrests underscore the urgent need to enact these measures, curbing corruption in the garbage business. I hope carters will embrace these reforms intended to root out the few bad players who unfairly taint the vast majority of honest, upstanding haulers. I will urge the legislature to make trash industry regulation a top priority of the upcoming session.”