Senator Chris Murphy rallies for CLA

By:  Susan Tuz
CT News

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy was outraged to learn the FirstLight Power Resources recently was cutting funding to the Candlewood Lake Authority in Connecticut to $10,000 annually from the previous $50,000 allotment.

FirstLight announce the funding reduction in mid-February to CLA Executive Director Larry Maricano. The hydro-generating company also announced that the CLA could compete for grants along with 23 other municipalities and non-profits in a new grant program called the Housatonic River Project Program.

“I appreciate FLPR’s effort to more broadly and equitably distribute funds,” Murphy wrote First Light President & CEO Zin Smati on Tuesday. “However, considering the relative pittance of funding involved — under $100,000 — compared to the revenue GDF Suez generates from this asset, I am somewhat baffled by FLPR’s insistence on divvying up some of an already minuscule pool of funds.”

Murphy further chastised Smati, writing that any decision to distribute funds through the rest of the Housatonic River region should not be done at the expense of the CLA.

“I am hopeful that, upon further review, you can revisit FLPR’s decision in this regard and restore the funds — or, baring that, at least delay this action pending full review,” Murphy’s letter concludes.

The five lake towns of Brookfield, Sherman, New Milford, New Fairifield and Sherman have contacted FirstLight Monday as a group denouncing the late notice to the CLA of the funding cut and calling for a change in FirstLight’s timeline in making this change.

FirstLight spokesman Len Greene said Tuesday morning that he had not heard of any reply from the company to the CEOs of the five towns.