Date: September 7, 2007
Source: Connecticut Attorney General's Office
Attorney General To Spearhead Drive To Regulate State Trash Industry At Request Of Bridgeport Area Towns
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today 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 today 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.
"We learned a hard lesson from the electricity industry: deregulation leads to disaster. A tiny clique with a hammerlock on trash disposal will send rates skyward, as happened with power prices. Trash disposal, like electricity, natural gas and other basic necessities with limited providers, must be regulated to assure fair and equitable rates.
"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."
Fabrizi said, "I and my colleagues are committed to this change and have requested Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to spearhead this effort to bring the garbage industry in Connecticut under the regulatory control of the DPUC. I am extremely pleased to announce that the attorney general shares our concerns, and has agreed to champion this effort on behalf of all Connecticut consumers and taxpayers.
"The most recent debacle in the garbage industry uncovered by the attorney general has demonstrated that the garbage industry is out of control in the state of Connecticut. It is also an unregulated industry that should be regulated by the state. Regulation of the garbage industry would eliminate the inequities of profits being earned by companies who provide waste disposal services, which would result in lower costs and rates to all consumers/taxpayers for this essential public service."
Also attending today's meeting with Blumenthal were: First Selectman Kenneth Flatto of Fairfield; Mayor James R. Miron of Stratford; Mayor Mark A. Lauretti of Shelton; First Selectman Raymond G. Baldwin, Jr. of Trumbull; First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff of Westport; Mayor Richard A. Moccia of Norwalk.
Connecticut Attorney General's Office: www.ct.gov/ag/.