Click here to access the press release from U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro
SEYMOUR, CT — House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal joined local leaders and environmental advocates in Seymour urging Hydroland to act on long-term issues of non-compliance at the Kinneytown Dam. Leaders urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to implement swift action to restore safe and effective fish passage along the Naugatuck River from Long Island Sound to Thomaston. The Kinneytown Dam is the one major roadblock to significant fish passage and Hydroland has failed to take the most basic steps to address this longstanding problem.
“For far too long, the Kinneytown Dam has been a major barrier to fish migration along the Naugatuck River from Thomaston to the Long Island Sound. Hydroland has made empty promises. They have taken no real action,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. “I strongly urge Hydroland to reach out to the environmental advocates and the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments to discuss the transfer of ownership of the dam under terms that are fair to the towns and the environmental communities so they can begin the process of fully reopening the river. The Naugatuck River is home to fish, birds, and other wildlife – and is a cherished destination for anglers, paddlers, and sightseers. We must protect it.”
“Hydroland’s failures have environmental and economic impacts up and down the Naugatuck Valley,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. “Their repeated violations and refusal to enable the safe passage and migration of fish is unacceptable. FERC must do the right thing – take action now and revoke Hydroland’s license.”
“I want to thank our regional, state, and federal partners for their attendance today,” said Seymour First Selectwoman Annmarie Drugonis. “It’s vital that we create a united front to ensure we continue the work of restoring the Naugatuck River’s ecosystem. I call on the owners of Kinneytown Dam to do what’s required to resolve the issue.”
“Decades of public investment by the Connecticut taxpayers, our partner river towns and countless activists have been made to restore the Naugatuck River,” said Mayor O’Leary of Waterbury. “Hydroland’s continued damage to the Naugatuck River is nothing short of outrageous and neglectful. Fish are dying at the base of this dam, and it must stop.”
“Kinneytown has very real consequences for the environment, economy, and quality of life in the Naugatuck Valley,” said Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments Executive Director Rick Dunne. “We can no longer sit back and wait while the facility continues a trend of corporate neglect. It is vital that our resource agencies take immediate action and not let this owner continue to abuse their exemption.”
“The Kinneytown Dam is the reason the Naugatuck River cannot realize its potential as the largest watershed entirely located within Connecticut that should be teeming with wild ocean run fish,” said Save The Sound Soundkeeper Bill Lucey. “The current owners have done nothing to get fish over the dam and have essentially destroyed two spring fish runs through their inaction, setting the restoration of the river back several years and stranding millions in taxpayer funded efforts to clean up and open the river.”
“The Kinneytown dam is the only thing holding back the restoration of the Naugatuck River,” said Naugatuck River Revival Group President Kevin Zak. “FERC has been given enough evidence to sanction Hydroland for their non-compliance. FERC has the authority to right this wrong. We cannot wait another 20 years. When is enough enough. Hydroland and any new partner needs to create safe, timely and effective fish passage and follow it with sophisticated efficiency testing to prove they accomplish these new standards set for fish passage.”
The Connecticut Federal Delegation has supported the efforts of the Naugatuck Council of Governments and Save the Sound to push FERC to require substantial movement by the dam owner on the passageway, including calling on FERC to revoke the exemption, which would make the dam worthless. On December 22, 2021, FERC formally found the Kinneytown Dam to be in violation of its authority to operate. FERC rejected project owner Hydroland’s numerous excuses and held it squarely responsible for these continuing violations.