Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

December 18, 2019

Looney and Paolillo Submit Testimony in Opposition to Special Permit for Putrescible Waste

Today, Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) and Representative Al Paolillo (D-New Haven) submitted testimony to the New Haven City Plan Commission in opposition to a special permit to allow for the acceptance of putrescible municipal solid waste at All American – Murphy Street Recycling in New Haven. The text of the testimony is below.

Testimony of State Senator Martin Looney and State Representative Al Paolillo
New Haven City Plan Commission Public Hearing

Re: Agenda #1563-10,19 Wheeler Street
December 18, 2019- 7 P.M.

This joint testimony is being submitted in opposition to agenda item 1563-10, specifically concerning a special permit to allow for the acceptance of putrescible municipal solid waste at 19 Wheeler Street, New Haven – All American – Murphy Street Recycling.

While we understand the company wanting to expand its capacity and the materials it can receive, we strongly do not believe there is any added economic benefit for the company or the city that outweighs any of the negative quality of life or environmental impacts for our area. In fact, allowing more waste into our area may only limit additional economic development and the numbers of companies willing to locate here for future expansion.

We have both heard from numerous constituents who have many serious concerns about allowing for this expansion of activities and the expanded type of organic and sanitary waste that can be accepted at this facility. One of these concerns is that the facility is within very close proximity to the Quinnipiac River (several thousand feet), which brings alarm about any kind of runoff or pollution that could occur. Whenever we consider environmentally sensitive areas like the Quinnipiac River, which we have made great strides in protecting, we must be smart and strategic about what we approve to be in close proximity no matter how small or large the risk. As caretakers of the environment, we all have the responsibility to “Do no harm.”

There are so many other safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives than shipping in this type of waste so close to a body of water. Currently, all New Haven trash is required to go the trash authority on Middletown Avenue under flow control, which we think is a better alternative plan that keeps taxpayer costs under control. Allowing for putrescible trash to be brought to this facility will likely lead to outside garbage being brought into our community from other towns and not even serve New Haven, which will only bring in more traffic, pollution and serve as a disincentive for any other businesses and economic development.

These same concerns can be asserted regarding churches, residential neighborhoods and other businesses nearby. We must also take account of atmospheric emissions run off and potential harm to access to safe and clean air and underground drinking water. Not only can potential pollution arise from this type of waste being brought to the area, but also from the increased truck traffic and noise pollution, in what is already a high traffic area and one of the most environmentally burdened places in New Haven. Just last week there was a community impact forum on the expansion of Tweed where we are left asking ourselves how much impact can one neighborhood absorb and raising the issue of fairness regarding environmental justice.

The site at 19 Wheeler Street already is allowed to accept construction and demolition waste, oversized non-putrescible waste and recyclables. We are not against the continuation of that use. However, expanding to putrescible, organic and sanitary waste brings with it an expanded set of other circumstances, impacts and concerns.

More than anything this proposal sends the wrong messages about what we are prioritizing. For all the strides we have made to protect our environment, bring in economic development and beautify our neighborhood, this development moves in the opposite direction. We respectfully ask that this request for a special permit to accept putrescible waste at 19 Wheeler Street not be granted. Thank you.