EPA chief and Rep. DeLauro here to address Raymark

The administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, met with Stratford’s U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Mayor John Harkins, other officials and Stratford residents at town hall on Oct. 14 and talked about “how to more forward” dealing with Raymark issues in Stratford, according to DeLauro.

“We’re at the table more pumped than ever,” McCarthy told The Star after the meeting. Before being appointed to EPA in 2009 by President Barack Obama McCarthy was Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection.

DeLauro said later in the day about McCarthy, “She gets it.”

“We need input,” DeLauro said. Today’s meeting was about getting federal, local and community people together to talk about “how to deal with the community’s needs and concerns.”

Getting the top officials at one table was “productive,” according to DeLauro and Mayor Harkins’ Chief of Staff Marc Dillon.

Councilman Matt Catalano, who also was present, said it was “a positive meeting.” He said that, for McCarthy, Raymark in Stratford is “unfinished business.”

“She seemed eager to talk about a comprehensive plan” for Raymark clean-up, Catalano said. “That’s what we’ve been asking for. She’s not interested in piecemeal”

According to Catalano, McCarthy said she wants to meet again on Raymark “before Thanksgiving.”

Catalano said that he believes that having the top federal official in Stratford talking about Raymark will influence regional EPA and state environmental officials to work harder for progress.

Also at the table with McCarthy, DeLauro and Harkins were EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spaulding, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee, Stratford residents Paul Rohaly of Raymark Advisory Council, Tom Nichols and Tom Smith of SaveStratford, and representatives from other town departments including health and economic development.

Each key representative was given a chance to speak, Catalano said.

According to Dillon, “All the stakeholders (are) cautiously optimistic about making real progress on Raymark in the not-so-distant future.”

“I was pleased by the today’s productive conversation,” DeLauro said. “Throughout my time in Congress I have worked with the community to ensure they have a voice in the remediation plan’s development. Today they had a chance to speak with one of the top decision-makers in this process. The EPA knows the urgency of this situation and wants to get the job done. I look forward to all of us working together on a comprehensive plan that balances environmental standards with Stratford’s needs.”

Harkins said: “Over the last several months, I’ve been actively seeking to get Raymark cleanup on the radar of the upper echelon at the EPA. I would like to thank EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for her visit to Stratford, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro for facilitating this unprecedented visit. I look forward to a solution-oriented discussion with all of the stakeholders regarding Raymark cleanup in the coming months.”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, right, with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro on Oct. 14 after meeting with Stratford officials and residents. Greg Reilly photo.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, right, with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro on Oct. 14 after meeting with Stratford officials and residents. Greg Reilly photo.

U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, left, at the table in town hall on Oct 14 with Mayor John Harkins and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and others talking about Raymark cleanup in Stratford. Contributed photo.

U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, left, at the table in town hall on Oct 14 with Mayor John Harkins and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and others talking about Raymark cleanup in Stratford. Contributed photo.

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