Police and Connecticut environmental officials searched an area off Mill Brook Road in Plainfield Tuesday in response to an eco-terrorism threat against developers of a proposed wood-burning power plant.
A manifesto claiming to be sent by Earth First, a radical environmental advocacy group formed in 1979, was mailed last week to PRE Vice-President Daniel J. Donovan and copied to a local newspaper and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
It said that its members have targeted the residences of Plainfield Renewable Energy principals for contamination, as well as a parcel of land off Mill Brook Road.
The message said the homes of Donovan and project proponent J. Scott Guilmatin, identified as the "primary driving force behind" the plan to construct a 37.5-megawatt energy plant off Route 12, have been doused with a combination of mercury and solvents.
DEP officers found three areas of concern, each containing a substance that shouldn’t be at the Mill Brook Road site. After more digging, the officers discovered an industrial solvent that is a known carcinogen. Samples are being turned over to the FBI as evidence. DEP also took some materials to a lab Wednesday. The results are expected in a few days.
Police and DEP officials said Tuesday the contaminants do not pose a threat to the community.
The group, which stated it could be contacted through an Arizona address, said it also spread contaminants at several locations on the Mill Brook Road property, near where the proposed power plant is to be built.
"We didn't send you this. I don't know what's going on in Connecticut," a person at earthfirst.org said.
Police in Donovan's and Guilmartins' hometowns said they had not received word of any threat.
According to the Earth First Journal, a Web publication for the group, the group claims ... "We believe in using all the tools in the toolbox, from grassroots and legal organizing to civil disobedience and monkeywrenching. When the law won't fix the problem, we put our bodies on the line to stop the destruction."
Donovan said plans for the power plant will move forward.
The threats come a day after state officials declined to take action on a $2.5 million loan requested by PRE.
DEP spokesman Dennis Schain said, "The Department takes incidents like this very seriously." He said all appropriate law enforcement agencies including the Chief's State's Attorneys office have been notified in case criminal charges are warranted.
Click to view image: 'Earth First Terrorists'
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