Money Talks, and So Does Solidarity!

by Melinda Tuhus, New Haven Stands with Standing Rock

[As this issue of the PAR newsletter went to press, we received notice about the following event. We are printing it so people can be aware of the various local banks that are funding fossil fuel projects in the U.S. and other countries. For more information about this rally and future plans for New Haven Stands with Standing Rock, please e-mail nhswsr@gmail.com.]

Rally Wednesday, Oct. 25, 4:30-5:30 p.m., beginning on the New Haven Green, corner of College and Chapel streets. Then walk 3 blocks to visit 3 banks. The reason is that next week, 92 of the world’s largest banks are meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, to discuss environmental and social risk management policies regarding the climate and indigenous people’s rights to “free, prior and informed consent.”

Mazaska Talks (“Money Talks” in Lakota) is calling for global actions on October 23-25 focusing on banks that are funding fossil fuel projects that are endangering indigenous lands, water and cultures, and our global climate. Indigenous groups and the Fossil Free divestment movement started by 350.org have led individuals, organizations and local governments to withdraw billions of dollars from these banks. In the most recent success, in early October, BNP Paribas — Europe’s second largest bank — announced it is cutting funding to tar sands, all tar sands pipelines, fracking, LNG (liquefied natural gas), and Arctic oil projects. This kind of pressure works.

Join New Haven Stands with Standing Rock (NHSwSR) as we focus on banks in our community that are making these destructive investments. We will meet on the Green at the corner of College and Chapel streets, then pay a visit to TD Bank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank, where we will highlight our campaign asking the city to move its $3 million a day operating budget out of Wells Fargo to a bank that prioritizes investments in our community. Wells Fargo just announced a drastic 18 percent drop in its third quarter earnings related to penalties it’s had to pay for its many unethical practices, putting taxpayers’ money even more in jeopardy.

Questions? Email us at nhswsr@gmail.com.

Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs needs your calls to the governor today

by John Humphries, Organizer

[On Oct. 26, the House of Representatives voted in favor of Dominion/Millstone. This bill now goes to Gov. Malloy. Call (800) 406-1527 and Demand that he not sign it. Call your legislators! (Find their number on this website in the sidebar.) Let them know what you think of their preferential treatment to the demands of the Dominion.]

Two current energy questions—Millstone and offshore wind —are linked, and how CT responds in the coming months will impact the state’s workers and communities, as well as the region’s electric grid, for decades to come.

Tell legislators: Protect Millstone’s workers, not its shareholders. Recently we published an op-ed that lays out a vision for resolving the ongoing “debate” about the Millstone nuclear plant with a long-term strategy to protect the plant’s workers and communities and to replace it with renewables (including offshore wind) when it does eventually retire.

Last month, the Senate passed a bill designed to give Dominion Energy (Millstone’s owner) a special deal, even though the out-of-state corporation has produced no evidence of economic hardship and has made no commitment to remaining open even if they get such a deal. The House may take up the measure in the coming week.

Tell them to REJECT any special deal for Dominion Energy that doesn’t require a long-term commitment to Millstone’s workers and communities.

Offshore Wind: Clean Energy & Jobs for CT

On September 20, more than 60 labor, religious, environmental and business leaders gathered at IBEW Local 90’s union hall to learn about the potential for local jobs and eco-nomic development from the regional push for offshore wind.

As neighboring states aggressively pursue development of offshore wind resources in federal waters off the coast of New England, CT must act quickly to catch up and secure a share of the economic benefits for our ports and coastal communities.

More than 130 people from 60+ towns across the state endorsed our statement about the need for offshore wind to be included in the Comprehensive Energy Strategy. We look forward to working with all these allies to build a broad-based offshore wind campaign in the coming months.

CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, ctclimateandjobs.org.

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) Annual Meeting Dec. 2

PACE’s Annual Meeting will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of Hartford, 55 Bloomfield Rd., Hartford. The keynote address, “Renewables-Driven Community Micro-grids,” will be given by Craig Lewis, Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Clean Coalition. Music will be provided by State Troubadour Kate Callahan.

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) is an all-volunteer non-profit that has been educating the public and advocating for clean energy since 1973. PACE conducts annual tours of energy-efficient homes and electric vehicles, and urges participants to “try this at home!” PACE’s 100PercentCT Project is working with individual towns across the state to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. For more information, go online at www.pace-cleanenergy.org or contact PACE President Mark Scully at mwscully29@gmail.com.

Call to Action from PACE

This article was written before the Legislature voted on a budget that raided $90 million from clean energy funds. Call Gov. Malloy — 800-406-1527 — and demand he veto the budget. The large corporations and millionaires and billionaires of CT can pay more in taxes to make up the difference. Call your legislators and tell them raiding the money from the clean energy funds is unacceptable and demand they work to reinstate those funds so people can have increased access to non-polluting energy and energy assistance.

by Mark Scully, People’s Action for Clean Energy

You may have heard that the latest Connecticut budget includes highly damaging raids to three important clean energy funds. This budget would cut $27.5 million this fiscal year and next from the CT Green Bank, $50 million per year from the Energy Efficiency Fund, $10 million per year from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

These raids are tantamount to a tax on residents through their utility bills. These funds had been designated to support energy efficiency and clean energy. The CT Green Bank has become a national model for promoting investment in energy efficiency and clean energy. Robbing its balance sheet would be damaging not only to the environment but also to our economy.

These raids would be a major setback to energy efficiency and clean energy in Connecticut. Let’s make our voices heard!

PACE, PO Box 134, West Simsbury, CT 06092

Solarize New Haven

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

Solarize New Haven will have a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 7-9 p.m. at the Hall of Records, G2 Hearing Room, 200 Orange St. The press conference will be followed by an information session. People can have their questions answered about solar panels, installation and energy financing. This is a great opportunity for New Haven homeowners to explore the possibility of getting solar panels. There are many financing programs that make solar panels affordable. This solar installation is available also to multi-family homes, provided that one of the apartments is owner-occupied. RGS is the company that will be installing solar panels through Solarize New Haven.

On Sept. 5, the New Haven Alders passed a resolution to encourage the State of Connecticut to push forward on promoting shared solar. We hope that as clean energy advocates in other CT cities and towns have their boards of alders or town councils pass similar resolutions, Connecticut legislators will move ahead in allowing the development of many shared solar projects.

At the hearings last month about the draft 2017 Comprehensive Energy Strategy of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, many people spoke out about the shortcomings of the proposed energy policy and specified the need for expanded shared solar projects. The timing of the hearings and the New Haven resolution coincided well!

New Haven Resolution on Shared Solar to be Voted on Sept. 5

Paula Panzarella, New Haven Energy Task Force

The New Haven Energy Task Force and the New Haven Environmental Advisory Council have worked on a resolution to encourage the state politicians to push forward shared solar projects so that more people can benefit from lower electric rates and use renewable energy which is not polluting our atmosphere and will not accelerate climate change.

Below are excerpts of the resolution that will be presented to the Board of Alders (City Hall, 165 Church St., second fl.) on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. From 6-7 p.m. people who are interested can lobby their alders.

We are hoping that other cities and towns will enact similar resolutions so the State of CT will hear that throughout Connecticut the residents want the State to stop holding back the development of shared solar projects.

RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF ALDERS urging the CT General Assembly, Governor Malloy, the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, and the electric distribution companies to support “community shared solar” legislation.

Whereas: the City of New Haven understands the dangers of climate change, pollution and the need to reduce our carbon footprint; and…

Whereas: it is the policy of the State of Connecticut to, in part, “… develop and utilize alternative energy resources, such as solar and wind energy, to the maximum practical extent …” (Energy Policy Act, CGS 16a-35k); and

Whereas: Connecticut residents, and particularly residents of United Illuminating’s service territory, continue to pay some of the highest electricity rates on the continent; and…

Whereas: the development of “community shared solar” installations in New Haven will create well-paying jobs and enhance the city’s overall economic development efforts; and…

Whereas: The Connecticut General Assembly has to date only approved a small pilot program that has continuously been delayed, and has not authorized a full-scale state-wide shared solar program;…

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

The City of New Haven calls on its elected representatives in the Connecticut General Assembly, Governor Malloy, the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, and the electric distribution companies to support comprehensive, long-term “community shared solar” legislation, and encourages its residents to become informed about the issue and communicate their views to their representatives.

PACE to Host House Tour and Electric Vehicle Show on Saturday, June 10

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) will host a tour of a beautiful, award-winning, energy-efficient home in East Haddam, CT at noon and 2:30 p.m. on June 10. In addition, the tour will include an electric vehicle show featuring EVs from the New England Electric Automobile Association. The home, a winner of the 2015 Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge, is an example of how energy efficient homes can also be beautiful and comfortable to live in. It features a dramatic, open floor-plan, passive solar design, an extremely tight building envelope, close attention to air quality and state-of-the-art HVAC and solar technologies. Come experience this house in person.

For tickets, go online to www.pace-cleanenergy.org and click on EVENTS. For additional information, call (860) 217-3686.

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.

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