New Haven Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro called for an investigation last Thursday of the White House’s involvement in the Cross Sound Cable Project.
DeLauro requested that the White House officials provide all records of correspondence between some of its top officials and Cross Sound Cable Company, which is currently building a cable to connect the power grids of New England and Long Island.
The cable runs through the Long Island Sound, connecting New Haven with eastern Long Island.
“I am seriously concerned by the [current presidential] administration’s interest in a project that has such serious implications at the local level,” DeLauro said in a press release.
DeLauro also cited other concerns about the project, which is being supervised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alleging that Cross Sound Cable, a joint venture of the power company TransEnergie U.S., is violating federal and state permits that originally greenlighted the project.
In particular, these permits mandated that the cable be buried 48 feet below the surface of Long Island Sound. The Army Corps has authorized the project even though the Cross Sound Cable has not yet complied with this condition.
Cross Sound Cable is currently asking the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to modify its permit so that the cable can operate. Rita Bowlby, a Cross Sound Cable spokeswoman, said the DEP is expected to notify Cross Sound Cable sometime next week if the company will be allowed to continue on the Army Corps’ “good faith” assumption that the permit requirements will eventually be met.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal requested an investigation the same day as DeLauro did.
“I call for an immediate investigation by the Department of Energy Inspector General and the Department of Justice of this improper and potentially illegal misconduct by White House officials and TransEnergie,” Blumenthal said in a press release.
Both DeLauro and Blumenthal have voiced opposition against the cable project since its inception.
Cross Sound Cable said its interactions with White House officials were both legal and necessary.
“We are working with all federal and state agencies in order to expedite our process,” Bowlby said, adding that the mission of the White House Task Force on Energy Project Streamlining — the governmental body handling the bulk of communication with Cross Sound Cable — is to help facilitate discussions among all involved parties.
In a letter dated Nov. 15, 2002, Cross Sound Cable asked the task force for assistance in resolving various permit delays in order to comply with an administrative emergency order from the DOE dealing with national security. After receiving this letter, the White House inquired about the current situation.
White House officials could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
DeLauro said the administration has not shown how the Cross Sound Cable Project is necessary to meet national security energy needs.
“The residents of Connecticut deserve to know the extent of and the reasoning behind the administration’s involvement in this project,” DeLauro said.