By Associated Press, 12/29/98
HARTFORD -- Consumer activist and Connecticut resident Ralph Nader said
yesterday that he expects constitutional and environmental challenges will
thwart the state's plan to build a football stadium for the New England
Nader and the Connecticut Green Party are trying to gather opponents of
the $375 million Hartford stadium in a group called ``Stop the Stadium'' to
fight the plan.
``This stadium will never be built. The people of Connecticut, the
taxpayers of Connecticut, the voters of Connecticut, the advocacy groups for
children, for schools, for a clean environment, will mobilize and rise up to
depose this attempt to hoist a grotesque, publicly financed corporate
investment on this state,'' Nader said.
Legal scholars plan to scrutinize the bill that passed the Legislature for
signs that it would violate the commerce clause of the US Constitution by
offering incentives to lure the Patriots from suburban Boston to Hartford,
Nader said. The commerce clause states that only Congress may regulate
commerce among the states.
The proposal faces environmental challenges because contamination of the
site along the Connecticut River must be cleaned up, and the 30-year debt to
build the stadium could hurt the state's bond rating, Nader said.
Governor John G. Rowland's spokesman, Dean Pagani, said Nader does not
have his facts straight.
Pagani said a 10 percent tax on tickets and other revenues are projected
to generate enough money to make the stadium pay for itself over 30 years, so
the stadium plan should not affect the state's bond rating.
``He had a lot of rhetoric, typical opposition rhetoric, with hardly any
facts at all,'' Pagani said.
Heads of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Connecticut
Department of Environmental Protection have said the site can be cleaned up.
The property is contaminated with coal tar and other substances from
Nader, a native of Winsted, would not name the legal scholars he was
working with and would not elaborate on which Wall Street firms he said were
frowning on the bond rating.
The stadium plan passed the state House 97-49 and the Senate 27-8 on Dec.
15, and public opinion polls showed a majority of state residents supported
it. Rowland is expected to sign the bill into law in the next few weeks.
The $375 million cost includes expenses to build a 68,000-seat stadium,
the environmental cleanup, and infrastructure improvements.
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