Lawmakers Call For Hearing Into Irene Response

POWER_Line Repairs

From collapsed cottages along the shore to power lines tangled in trees, the damage statewide from Tropical Storm Irene was hard to miss.

Now lawmakers want to know if there were missed opportunities when it came to how the storm was handled.

"We want the response from around the state, because let's face it, this was a severe tropical storm. What if this had been a Category 1 hurricane or Category 2 with 80-, 90-, or 100-mile-an-hour winds?" said Senate President Donald Williams Jr.

Sen. Williams is one of several democratic lawmakers calling for a hearing at the State Capitol in the coming weeks.

With more than 700,000 homes in the dark at one point, the power companies' response is expected to be a big issue.

"I think this whole power thing was just ridiculous. I don't understand how people could go five days without having power," Alex Granito of West Hartford, said.

On Tuesday, 10 days after Irene hit, about two dozen customers were still in the dark in East Haddam.

"It was tough because you didn't realize how much you needed water and electricity until it's gone,” Deborah Greene, of East Haddam, said.

"By the end of the storm, the response was great. In the beginning of the storm, it was not good. The small rural towns had to wait too long before we could get roads open for emergency purposes,” said East Haddam First Selectman Mark Walter.

Those are the issues that lawmakers want to hear about. They say the hearing isn't about finger pointing and placing blame.

The hearing will take place at the state Capitol. No date has yet been set.

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