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Monday, September 23 News

Fill pile issue gets political

FAIRFIELD — With the November election approaching, the ongoing fill pile controversy is taking centerstage in politics.

As Republican State Rep. Brenda Kupchick attempts to unseat Democratic First Selectman Mike Tetreau, both parties are using Facebook to guide the narrative. Republicans are placing blame on Tetreau for contamination, while Tetreau has countered that the issue is being politically misappropriated.

In a video posted to Facebook Monday, the Connecticut Republican Party wrote, “Fairfield, Connecticut has been devastated by the toxic waste corruption scandal. Toxic waste can still be found today under the leadership of First Selectman Mike Tetreau.”

The video features resident and Republican RTM candidate Dana Kery, who says she notified officials of asbestos in Gould Manor Park back in 2014. It also replays multiple times a clip of Democratic Congressman Jim Himes speaking at Saturday’s Democratic Town Committee campaign kickoff, telling Fairfield Democrats, “We need to have a story. We need to make sure that we leave this place with a sense of what our story is.”

The video concludes with a picture of Tetreau and the tagline “Toxic Tetreau: covering up the truth.”

Similar terminology has been used by concerned residents, who’ve taken to Facebook to form the 1,000-member group “Fairfield Fights Toxic Waste.”

Tetreau took to Facebook Tuesday to dispel this rhetoric, saying the term “toxic” is factually incorrect.

“No one is any position of authority, State Department of Health, CT DEEP or our LEP has ever used the terms toxic or hazardous,” he wrote. “The Facebook posts using these terms are inaccurate, harmful and have no support from the health and environmental professionals. They have no basis in fact or science or environmental standards.”

Tetreau argued that the use of inflammatory language for political gain could hurt Fairfield in the long run, citing dangers to property values.

“The people posting these words are not making our town or our children safer,” he wrote. “They are hurting our town, our reputation. These Facebook posts using these inaccurate terms will end up hurting our property values. Using rumors and political agendas is not helping our town.”

Tetreau also emphasized that all the fields that have been tested are safe for recreational use, and some remediation is only occurring out of an abundance of caution.

“We do not have to remediate to make the fields safe. They are safe today and they were safe yesterday,” he wrote. “We ARE going to remediate to residential standards since that is the only standard being used.”

The Fairfield Democratic Town Committee shared Tetreau’s post, calling Republican efforts “political fear-mongering.”

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Connecticut Republican Party Chair JR Romano objected to Tetreau’s comment, saying it discounts the issue’s cost to the town’s environmental and financial health.

“It was bad enough that it’s going to cost the city money to take care of it,” Romano said.

Municipal elections will take place on Nov. 5.

rscharf@hearstmediact.com

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