Wells Fargo Middletown Shut Down for 2 Hours; Protesters Demand Divestment from Dakota Access Pipeline

Dan Fischer, Dragonfly Climate Collective

For nearly two hours on April 7, customers were unable to get into the local Wells Fargo branch. A police officer told people attempting to enter that they would not be able to do so. After all, 76-year-old climate protester Vic Lancia had locked himself to two trash bins, each filled with 500 pounds of concrete and rocks, blocking entrance to the front door. Around the corner, nine Wesleyan students linked arms in order to prevent cars from accessing the drive-thru. They chanted “You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil!”

Local residents, students and members of climate justice groups–about 45 people in total–protested outside Wells Fargo in opposition to the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The proposed $3.8 billion oil pipe-line would threaten the drinking water and land of the Stan-ding Rock Sioux and surrounding indigenous communities in so-called “North Dakota” and other states, posing dangers to the environment and to indigenous sovereignty. Wells Fargo has invested $120 million in the pipeline’s development.

Middletown residents and Wesleyan students have repeatedly protested at Wells Fargo over the past months, but this demonstration marked an escalation in local efforts, with people breaking the law in order to disrupt the bank’s activities.

“I will not stop letting my voice be heard as an indigenous woman. I stand here to protect water from being polluted,” said Katrina Harry, a Navajo woman who joined the demonstration.

“Settler colonialism is a structure that has displaced Native Americans from their land for hundreds of years, and the Dakota Access Pipeline is another violent colonial project endorsed by the United States government,” said Wesleyan student Angel Martin. “I am coming to show solidarity with the water protectors who resisted and are still resisting DAPL. I am coming because indigenous sovereignty matters and native lives matter.”

For the full report of the action and to see photos, please go to http://www.capitalismvsclimate.org/2017/04/wells-fargo-branch-shut-down-for-two-hours-protesters-demand-divestment-from-dakota-access-pipeline.

New Haven To UI: Not One More Dime | New Haven Independent

by Markeshia Ricks, Sep 13, 2016 ©2016 New Haven Independent

New Haveners concerned about a proposed rate increase said that they want United Illuminating to have the infrastructure to withstand superstorms, but that they’ve already paid for it.

The electric company is asking the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to grant a more than $100 million distribution rate increase over a three year period. The increase would generate $65.6 million next year, $27.1 million the following year and another $13.4 million in 2019. This would raise individual customer bills by an average of about $30 a month over that three-year period, according to the Office of Consumer Counsel.

The counsel’s office opposes the rate increase. It also came out for reducing by almost $10, to $7.63, a residential fixed charge that UI levies.

UI said it needs the increase to replace poles and wires and make other investments to avoid power outages during major storms.

More than 35 residents from New Haven and other parts of the state attended a PURA hearing Monday in the Hall of Records at 200 Orange St. to oppose the rate increase. They said some people already can’t afford their bills. And they argued that the rate increase de-incentivizes energy-efficiency efforts.
Several people also argued that UI is primarily seeking to line the pockets of its new parent company, Spain-based Iberdrola.

Frank Panzarella said that stats already showed during the last rate increase request that Connecticut residents are having trouble paying their bills. He asked what made UI think that customers can afford to pay more. [….]

For the complete article, visit: New Haven To UI: Not One More Dime | New Haven Independent.

Let’s Talk About Climate Change in October

by Chris Schweitzer, Director, NHLSCP

Climate change effects us all, so let’s talk about what it means, how we’re feeling about it and ways to respond. Healthy City/Healthy Climate Challenge (HCC) invites you to hold a discussion this October as a way to support a wider response to this new challenge. HCC has organized great resources for holding discussions.

There are many different ways that you can support climate discussions:

  • Organize a climate change talk at your organization or home.
  • Promote online discussions and blogs.
  • Watch and share videos (suggestions in our resource kit).
  • Print and hang up the posters (provided in our resource kit).
  • Create a series of Facebook posts related to climate change throughout October.
  • Get speakers from environmental organizations to come talk (HCC can suggest possible ones).
  • Participate in any of the HCC-sponsored climate change discussions this October (more details to follow).

Our resources include global warming videos, websites, articles, letters, visual tools, activity ideas, posters and graphics, so be sure to check them out! Let us know if you organize a discussion or have other ideas on how to engage people. We’re excited about this chance to get people talking…AND taking concrete steps to create a healthier future!

Contact Chris at nh@newhavenleon.org or (203) 562-1607.

New Haven/Leon Sister City Project works to promote social justice, education and sustainable development in Nicaragua and Connecticut. For more information see newhavenleon.orgwww.facebook.com/newhavenleon; email nh@newhavenleon.org; or call (203) 562-1607.

UI Planning Rate Increase of the Distribution Charge, Hearing in New Haven tonight! Sept. 12

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

UI is now owned by Iberdrola, one of the world’s largest utility companies, with over 31 million customers. This adds to the insult that Connecticut customers, already paying the highest rates for electricity in the continental United States, are faced with even higher bills if we don’t stop the proposed increase.

According to the press release from the Office of Consumer Counsel, “If UI’s rate phase-in plan were approved as proposed, a typical residential customer on standard service generation who is using 700kWh per month would see their total bill rise by approximately $9.34, from $162.46 to $171.80, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Monthly bills would also increase by approximately $9.50 per month on Jan. 1, 2018 and by an incremental $11.00 monthly on Jan. 1, 2019.”

Note this is only the distribution charge. Should there be an increase in the generation charge, transmission, basic service or any other charge on our UI bill, we’re looking at even more.
Again, we already have the highest rates in the continental United States!

How to fight this: we have to pack the public hearings in Bridgeport and New Haven.

  • Bridgeport hearing: Thursday, Sept. 8, 6:30 p.m., City Common Council Chambers, Bridgeport City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace.
  • New Haven hearing: Monday, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m., Hearing Room G2, Kennedy Mitchell Hall of Records, 200 Orange St.

This proposal is identified as Docket No. 16-06-04. Please use this number when you write, e-mail or call PURA.

To mail your commentary, write to PURA,10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051. Send e-mail to dpuc.executivesecretary@po.state.ct.us.

Thank you!

For questions or more information, please call (203) 562-2798 or e-mail paulapanzarella@yahoo.com.

In the Sept. 9 New Haven Register there is an article about yet another increase they want to impose on us.

News to Get All Steamed Up About: UI Is Planning a Rate Increase of the Distribution Charge

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

UI is now owned by Iberdrola, one of the world’s largest utility companies, with over 31 million customers. This adds to the insult that Connecticut customers, already paying the highest rates for electricity in the continental United States, are faced with even higher bills if we don’t stop the proposed increase.
According to the press release from the Office of Consumer Counsel, “If UI’s rate phase-in plan were approved as proposed, a typical residential customer on standard service generation who is using 700kWh per month would see their total bill rise by approximately $9.34, from $162.46 to $171.80, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Monthly bills would also increase by approximately $9.50 per month on Jan. 1, 2018 and by an incremental $11.00 monthly on Jan. 1, 2019.”

Note this is only the distribution charge. Should there be an increase in the generation charge, transmission, basic service or any other charge on our UI bill, we’re looking at even more.
Again, we already have the highest rates in the continental United States!

How to fight this: we have to pack the public hearings in Bridgeport and New Haven.

  • Bridgeport hearing: Thursday, Sept. 8, 6:30 p.m., City Common Council Chambers, Bridgeport City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace.
  • New Haven hearing: Monday, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m., Hearing Room G2, Kennedy Mitchell Hall of Records, 200 Orange St.

This proposal is identified as Docket No. 16-06-04. Please use this number when you write, e-mail or call PURA.

To mail your commentary, write to PURA,10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051. Send e-mail to dpuc.executivesecretary@po.state.ct.us.

Thank you!

For questions or more information, please call (203) 562-2798 or e-mail paulapanzarella@yahoo.com.

Time for CT to Have Shared Solar!

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

More than half the homes in Connecticut don’t meet the criteria for the installation of solar panels. Here are some of the reasons that solar panels are not appropriate: roofs are shaded by buildings or trees, roofs are not in good shape, roofs don’t have a south-facing side, homes are rented, neighbor-hood associations do not allow solar panels, etc. That is why large-scale community solar projects can have a real impact on the growth of solar power and the solar industry in Connecticut.

The hopes for full-scale shared solar projects throughout Connecticut have stalled for this year, but the legislature is moving towards establishing rules for limited pilot projects. If the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection hears from people throughout the state, the agency and our politicians will hopefully understand that people want community solar power to lessen the dependence on fossil fuels and move towards a cleaner environment.

The legislation is titled Public Act 15-113, An Act Establishing a Shared Clean Energy Facility Pilot Program. If you want to receive the draft proposal (RFP) for this, please con-tact Debra Morrell at (860) 827-2688 and/or via e-mail at DEEP.EnergyBureau@ct.gov for the document to be sent.

There will be a public hearing on the draft RFP Thursday, June 9, at 9 a.m. in Hearing Room 1 at DEEP’s New Britain Office at 10 Franklin Square. It is requested people RSVP to DEEP.EnergyBureau@ct.gov by Tuesday, June 7, if planning to attend and/or present oral comment at the meeting.

DEEP will accept written or e-mailed public comments until 5 p.m. on Monday, June 20. Written comments may be filed electronically on DEEP’s website or submitted by email. Send comments by mail to DEEP, 10 Franklin Sqare, New Britain, CT 06051.

News from CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs

by John Humphries, Organizer, CT Roundtable

We had a successful first round of Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) stakeholder events and we are now preparing for our spring Roundtable gathering.

GC3 Stakeholder Events – Round 1

On May 5, more than 175 people participated in simultaneous stakeholder events organized by the Governor’s Council on Climate Change at seven locations across the state. You can access the handouts, presentation slides, a video of the event, and some great photos on our website, http://www.ctclimateandjobs.org.

The second round will happen in late July and will provide an opportunity to evaluate some preliminary scenarios for achieving the state’s climate goals.  More details coming soon!

June 7 – Roundtable Gathering

Join us for our statewide gathering on June 7 when we will explore the intersection between the GC3 climate action planning and the state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy  (being updated this year). We seek to develop points of agreement and shared strategies for influencing these two state processes to ensure an aggressive approach to climate protection that creates local jobs and addresses the needs for climate justice.

A Just Climate Strategy for CT: Creating Jobs and Increasing Equity – Tuesday, June 7, 7 p.m.
North Haven Congregational Church, 28 Church St., North Haven. (food available at 6:30 p.m.) Information: http://www.ctclimateandjobs.org.

Get on the Bus to March for a Clean Energy Revolution Sunday, July 24, in Philly

by 350CT.org

  • Ban Fracking Now!
  • Stop Dirty Energy!
  • Justly Transition to 100% Renewable Energy!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1567763956854719

New Haven Departure: 8:15 a.m. – 6 p.m. Ikea Parking Lot, 450 Sargent Dr.
Hartford Departure:  7:30 a.m – 6 p.m. 1 Union Place, Hartford.
Contacts: Chris (860) 967-9836, christopher.hutch@gmail.com or
Diane (203) 922-2151, dlentakis@sbcglobal.net.

Clean-energy-revolution-CERLogo_FINAL-resizedThe nation’s spotlight will shine on Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. We have a valuable opportunity to use that spotlight to open a broader discussion on fracking and climate change. Over the past decade, Pennsylvania and many states including Connecticut have suffered negative impacts from fracking, pipelines, and power plants. Many residents especially those in the poorest and most oppressed communities have been sickened; water, air and land have been polluted and poisoned.

Climate change presents the United States and the world with an unprecedented challenge and poses a threat to future of life on this planet. Get on the bus with 350CT and other climate activists as we head to Philadelphia to demand a just transition to 100% renewable energy.

We need your participation and voice in the movement for climate justice. Can you help build the July 24 march in Connecticut? Contact us today!

To learn more about 350 CT email organizers@350CT.org, or call (203) 350-3508.

We continue to work toward our 4 demands:

  • 100% Renewable Energy,
  • Stop Fracked Gas Expansion,
  • Green Jobs for Fossil Fuel Workers,
  • An End to Environmental Racism.

If you can help us out with outreach supply costs, please DONATE.

350 Connecticut is a community of people working to move Connecticut beyond fossil fuels through grassroots organizing. Our meetings are open to the public, and we operate using consensus-based decision-making.  We do our work in working groups, and meet all together once a month in a public meeting. We are an organization committed to anti-oppression in all our work and relationships.

Demand NO Ratepayer Subsidies to Support Millstone Nuclear Plant!

by Judi Friedman, People’s Action for Clean Energy

Connecticut’s Nuke operators are back for another handout at the last minute!! Millstone owners and nuclear power leaders have been recklessly uneconomic from the start. We are still paying massive cost overruns at Millstone III. The only reason nuclear power exists is the subsidization of every aspect of the industry by all of us!

Our nuclear plants are aging and therefore dangerous! Our nuclear plants continually emit low level radiation into the water and air! Our nuclear plants are terrorist targets! Our nuclear plants are not carbon free. Carbon is used in the milling and mining and transport of uranium, for backup generation in case of failure and many other purposes. Dominion has already closed other plants.

Germany has responded to the Fukushima disaster by planning to shut down nuclear reactors because of their smart, early, and widespread adoption of solar, other renewables, and energy efficiency. The longer we delay the adoption of shared solar and investment in clean energy, the more vulnerable we are to extortion claims like this. THIS IS EXTORTION!

On March 24 there was an informational forum about possible ratepayer subsidies to support Millstone, because the power it produces now costs more relative to other sources, as natural gas prices have declined. More about it in CT Mirror article here: http://ctmirror.org/2016/03/23/nuclear-powers-future-in-connecticut-is-on-the-table/#

What you can do: Email testimony to the Committee as soon as possible. Testimony may be submitted to this address: ettestimony@cga.ct.gov. Tell the Energy and Technology Committee how you feel about nuclear power plants in Connecticut and subsidizing them!

‘Fracked Gas is Environmental Racism’: Balloon Banner Released at Bridgeport City Hall

by Dan Fischer, Capitalism vs. the Climate

On February 1, Bridgeport residents flooded a public hearing with opposition to PSEG’s proposed fracked gas power plant, which would replace its coal plant in 2021. As 10 year-old Jaysa Mellers urged, “No coal, no gas, go green!”, a Bridgeport-based member of Capitalism vs. the Climate released a banner tied to a bundle of balloons. The banner floated to the high ceiling, and city councillors and residents read its message: “Fracked gas is environmental racism! No coal, no gas!”

gracked-gas-enviro-racism-300x283“Environmental racism is when an unfair share of pollution is placed on communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. That’s what is happening in Bridgeport. PSEG is making it worse by trying to open a new gas plant, which would continue to release pollution in the air for decades,” said Gabriela Rodriguez, a nineteen year-old Bridgeport resident and a member of Capitalism vs. the Climate.

PSEG reports that its new gas plant would release into the air nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, lead, and other pollutants, causing emphysema, bronchitis, learning deficits, heart disease, cancer, and asthma triggers. Moreover, fracked gas is highly flammable and known to frequently leak. The result can be deadly. From 1995 to 2014, there were 371 deaths and 1,395 injuries due to reported pipeline incidents.

PSEG wants to put the gas plant where the coal plant currently stands, locking in decades of fossil fuel infra-structure in an area where 30 percent of residents are black and 30 percent are Latino. To add insult to injury, PSEG’s proposed gas plant, like its existing coal plant, would stand adjacent to the Mary and Eliza Freeman houses, the oldest houses in Connecticut built and owned by African Americans. From 1821 until the Civil War, the neighbor-hood had been a prosperous community of free people of color including African Americans and indigenous Paugussets. Historians say it may have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.

“By putting a gas plant here, PSEG is basically saying that black lives do not matter to them,” declared Tiffany Mellers, a Bridgeport resident, mother of Jaysa. Visit http://capitalismvsclimate.org for more information.

RadiationNetwork

by Pam McDonald, People’s Action for Clean Energy

Welcome to RadiationNetwork.com, home of the National Radiation Map, depicting environmental radiation levels  across the USA, updated in real time every minute.  This is the first web site where the average citizen (or anyone in the world) can see what radiation levels are anywhere in the USA at any time.

How the Map Works: A growing number of radiation monitoring stations across the country (and world), using various models of Geiger counters, upload their radiation count data in real time to their computer using a data cable, and then over the internet to this web site. All of this is accomplished through GeigerGraph for Networks software. This system is completely automated — there is no manual posting of data required.

The site http://www.radiationnetwork.com gives you a list of compatible Geiger counters, maps of various locations around the world and where the readings are being recorded and sent to MineraLab, located in Arizona.

If you are taking readings and submitting them live to this project via their software, you have access to these advantages:

  • You can live chat with Mineralab online and by phone if you are are having difficulties.
  • The map itself has “layers” that you can turn on and off, that identify locations of airports, trains, roads, streets, rivers, secondary rivers, lakes, localized maps, city names.
  • You can see information about various reading stations including their maximum and minimum readings.
  • There is a button that equalizes readings (not all monitors are equally sensitive.)
  • There are various graph options (trending graphs, average graphs for entire network, etc.) that you can see with simple and instant selections.
  • You can search for sites, cities, etc. by name or state.
  • It posts alerts for reading stations that have sudden or dangerous spikes in readings.

For more information about RadiationNetwork, please contact Pam McDonald at pmcdonald772@gmail.com.

People’s Action for Clean Energy Meeting February 3

by Judi Friedman, PACE

Please join us for a cozy and unusual winter meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3 (Snow date: Feb. 4) at the wonderful home of Nevin and Julie Christensen, 44 West Mountain Rd. in West Simsbury.

Agenda items include:

  • Engaging representative participation of the Muslim
    community;
  • Community shared solar (That’s REAL DEMOCRACY!);
  • Natural gas pipeline expansion through wetlands and
    reservoirs;
  • Report on Simsbury as a potential 100% renewable energy
    town!;
  • Restructuring our utilities  (Acadia report);
  • Spring tour site ideas; and
  • Report on daily radiation monitoring of Connecticut
    nuclear plants.

And we have very good food! Yum!  (Bring something special if you wish !)

For information on the meeting/weather, please call (860) 693-4813.

“Solar for All” Campaign Comes to New Haven

by Paula Panzarella, New Haven Energy Task Force

Some of the roadblocks homeowners have encountered for getting solar power have been knocked down. Now low- and middle-income homeowners in New Haven can get solar panels, thanks to the partnership of the PosiGen company with the Connecticut Green Bank. No income requirements, no high credit scores, no security deposit or down payment are needed for resident homeowners to have leased solar panels installed on their roofs. What is needed is a south-facing roof in good condition that gets unobstructed sunshine a good part of the day.

If fifty or more people sign up before March 31, their monthly lease payments will be $20 for a year. After that, it will be $79.99 per month (this is in addition to UI’s basic charge, presently at $17.25).
The New Haven Energy Task Force is promoting this campaign so more people will have the opportunity to save money, create clean energy, receive energy audits and various energy efficiency services and reduce the need for dirty peak power energy plants to come on-line.

The New Haven Energy Task Force does not specifically endorse any one company’s services compared to the services of any other installer. Interested residents should get quotes from other installers to compare service and prices. Before you sign any contract, make sure the company answers your questions and explains the process so you know what to expect.

To find out more about “Solar for All,” contact PosiGen at (203) 416-6518. Please mention you were referred by the New Haven Energy Task Force. The Energy Task Force can be reached at newhavenenergytaskforce@gmail.com.

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