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Blumenthal Tells How His Role Has Changed

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State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal spoke today of a number of suits he has filed or won but said the actions would not be necessary if he had stronger partners in the federal government.WestportNow.com Image
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal told the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston today that he sues frequently because the federal government has failed to enforce its own laws. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bill Balch for WestportNow.com

Blumenthal addressed a standing room-only crowd of the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston at the Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Blumenthal said he is frequently asked why he is suing people like insurance companies and Midwest power plants.

“It’s because the federal government has failed to enforce their own laws,” he said. “We are forced to take an active role. This isn’t about who is in office either.”

He said he won billions for the state against the tobacco companies, but before he sued he went to the U.S. Department of Justice—then with Janet Reno as attorney general.

“I asked them to sue, and they said no,” he said.

Former President Bill Clinton, he said, was a strong opponent of the tobacco companies, but the administration would not sue because the case was figured to be dead.

“It’s what most people said because no one had won before,” he said.

One area of inaction that has forced states attorneys general across the country to create a task force is possible collusion and price gouging in gas prices, Blumenthal said.

“If we counted on the federal government, we would still be waiting,” he said. “Now the president is asking all of the agencies to assist us with anything we need.”

The problem is the authority of an attorney general is limited, Blumenthal said.

“We need an active, aggressive partner in the federal government,” he said.

It also takes active participation from residents across the state, he said, to know what should be investigated.

“We start our investigation with information and leads from citizens,” he said. “We work best when you let us know about a problem.”

Blumenthal touched on the proposal from Broadwater to build a floating barge in the middle of Long Island Sound to collect and ship liquid natural gas, which he opposes.

He said he has intervened in the proceedings so he and other state agencies can have a voice.

Opponents have raised environmental and security reasons, he said, and in today’s age no one knows what will happen.

The proponents say the project is good for the environment because it will create a shaded area on the bottom of Long Island Sound.

“No environmentalist is willing to endorse that view,” he said.

Also, the proponents have classified portions of the project’s application because it would be useful to terrorists, Blumenthal said.

“There is no security threat, but the documents are not available to the public,” he said.

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