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.

Green Party Files Petitions, Stein on Ballot in Connecticut

by David Bedell, CT Green Party Secretary

The culmination of three months’ diligent effort, the Green Party of Connecticut has amassed 15,000 signatures of voters in order to secure Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s place on the Connecticut ballot.

The final batch of signatures was collected on 1,212 petition sheets, originally distributed throughout the state by over 400 party volunteers, independent activists and paid petitioners, and delivered Wednesday, August 10, to the Secretary of the State.

Current state law requires petitioners to gather 7,500 valid voter signatures in support of a third-party candidate in order to appear on the state’s presidential ballot line in November. According to GPCT co-chair Mike DeRosa, the additional names provide a safety margin against signatures disqualified by the Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill.

In a tempestuous presidential election year where the reaction of a growing number of voters to both major party candidates ranges from disappointment and fear to outrage, the necessity for real choices in the race for the Oval Office is more crucial than ever.

According to DeRosa, “We now have to wait about two weeks until we know if Stein has made it.”
Besides the presidential race, Eric Rowe of New Haven submitted a petition to run for State Senator, District 11. He is one of at least 15 GPCT candidates seeking election to federal, state, and local office in 2016. The Green Party is also recruiting candidates for appointment as local Justices of the Peace.

For more information: http://www.ctgreenparty.org, dbedell@greens.org, (203) 581-3193.

About the Green Party of Connecticut and Jill Stein: A unity of local Green Party chapters, the GPCT is committed to grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. These are the Four Pillars of all Green parties worldwide and are the first four principles of the Ten Key Values of the Green Party (including decentralization, community-based economics, feminism and gender equity, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, future focus and sustainability). We do not accept contributions from corporate PACs.

As the New Haven Register reports:

Stein will be listed on the November ballot along with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Also attempting to get on the Connecticut presidential ballot is Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Revive the Peace Movement

Stan Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Several Connecticut groups are in the forefront of a new network, RPM, Revive the Peace Movement Network. Promoting Enduring Peace and the Middle East Crisis Committee joined with CODEPINK and a number of other groups and individuals to form the group to serve as a pole of opinion and a network for discussion and suggestions. Its website is http://www.RPM.world and it is eager for groups to join it and for individuals to get on its mailing list. Its common “Statement” is as follows:

For a Renewed Anti-War Movement

At a time when wars engulf whole regions of the world we must revive the anti-war movement. The peace movement must put greater pressure on politicians and parties to end U.S. wars and to redirect military spending to meeting social needs at home and abroad.

Our primary tools are education and non-violent direct action, such as mass demonstrations, protest, civil disobedience, boycotts and divestment.

We resolutely oppose the wars of the U.S., its allies and clients, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and U.S. support for repressive regimes such as Honduras and Bahrain.

We call for an end to U.S. support for Israel and for justice for Palestinians, in all of historic Palestine and in their places of refuge.

We also recognize that there are other oppressors in the world, from ISIS to Russia, from Iran to China, from North Korea to the Assad regime. We won’t hesitate to oppose their wars, interventions and cruelties.

War and preparation for war are major contributors to catastrophic climate change. Climate change causes declining living conditions that also significantly contribute to war. We need to break this vicious cycle and work for a sustain-able economy based on social and environmental justice, full employment and one hundred percent non-nuclear renewable energy.

War and climate disruption tragically uproot millions from their home countries. We need to open the borders to refugees and meet their needs for health, safety and human dignity.

We challenge the racism and Islamophobia used to justify wars and occupations and the denial of human rights to refugees.

Seven decades after Hiroshima, the human race is still at risk of nuclear annihilation. Nuclear war is an ever present danger. We demand the abolition of all nuclear weaponry.

The militarism and authoritarianism that the U.S. promotes abroad is reflected in the militarism and attacks on civil liberties in our communities at home.

We stand in solidarity with those such as Black Lives Matter who are advocating the demilitarization of police forces.

We stand in solidarity with those who seek liberation, social and economic justice, and democracy in all countries, including the United States.

Another world is possible, free of militarism and war.

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.

Victories on Earth Day

by Terry Eichel, Inter-Religious Eco-Justice Network (IREJN)

April 22 was Earth Day and the celebrations for our planet will be going on all week!

*Kinder Morgan announced on Wednesday that it was abandoning plans to build a natural gas pipeline that would have cut through Western Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and Merrimack Valley. A day later, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation denied a permit to Kinder Morgan to bring natural gas through New York. As a result, Kinder Morgan has cancelled the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline from New York to Connecticut!

*SB422 won in the Senate on April 19 – now it needs to win in the House! This legislation will protect us from corporate raids on our water. It creates state oversight for the acquisition of large amount of water for bottling plants, protects us in a drought, and adds the issue of large volume discounts to the state water plan. Please urge your representative today to support the bill.

70 People Rally for Environmental Justice in Bridgeport

Dan Fischer, Capitalism vs. the Climate and Gabriella Rodriguez, Moral Monday CT

On Sunday, April 3, about 70 people attended a rally at Bridgeport’s McLevy Green to raise awareness about environmental justice. The rally was hosted by Healthy CT Alliance, a Bridgeport-based health advocacy group, Capitalism vs. the Climate, a statewide climate justice group, and Moral Monday CT, a faith-based affiliate of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

bridgeport-pseg-harbor-coalSpeakers included Bishop John Selders, founder of Moral Monday CT, and Reverend Sekou, an author and theologian active in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They declared it unjust that low income communities and communities of color are consistently exposed to higher levels of pollution.

Selders said, “Environmental racism is bound up with Connecticut’s industrial past and continues to feed health disparities and economic injustice. Natural resources and marginalized peoples have been relegated as dumping grounds in our urban areas – five cities are home to 71% of Connecticut’s people of color and at least 20% of pollution sources. Yet, large majorities of people of color support environmental justice. That’s why Moral Monday CT supports clean power – to the people! Green is for all of us. Black loves Green!”

Toxic facilities in Bridgeport include wastewater treatment facilities, a trash incinerator, a coal-fired power plant, and a fracked-gas plant. PSEG plans to begin building a new fracked-gas plant next year, locking in decades more of pollution in the South End. Forbes Magazine has ranked Bridgeport the country’s fourth dirtiest city. Meanwhile, Spectra Energy’s fracked-gas pipeline construction near New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant endangers Bridgeport residents and others in the New York metropolitan area, since there is a small but real chance that a pipeline rupture could trigger a meltdown at Indian Point. A recent headline in The Nation warned, “A High-Pressure Pipeline Next to a Nuclear Power Plant… What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” For photos and videos from the rally, visit http://capitalismvsclimate.org.

Ultimate Net Zero Energy House Tour May 21

by Judi Friedman, People’s Action for Clean Energy

The ultimate net zero energy house will be open to the public on Saturday, May 21. With a rating of -23, this South Glastonbury, Connecticut, home is the most energy-efficient house in North America. It was the 2014 CT Zero Energy Challenge winner; the RESNET 2015 Cross Border Challenge winner; and the 2015 Housing Innovations Award winner.

Tours and seminars will be held at noon and 2:30 p.m. The 2,755 square-foot house has a geothermal heating and cooling system; a rotating photovoltaic steel pole array that powers all appliances, LED lights and the hot water heater. The PV is connected to the grid but is able to get power when the grid goes down.

Other energy saving features in this home for four people include a centrally heated foundation; aluminum roofing shingles with a 70-year lifespan; an energy recovery ventilator; triple glazed windows and Energy Star appliances. The tour is sponsored by Peoples Action for Clean Energy (PACE), the only all-volunteer nonprofit public health organization in Connecticut devoted solely to clean energy education.

Reservations are accepted in order of receipt for the tour, which will be held rain or shine. The non-refundable tickets are $15.00 per person. To order tickets, go online to http://www.pace-cleanenergy.org and click on Events, indicating the choice of time for the tours and seminar. Tickets may also be ordered by sending $15.00 per person to PACE c/o Donna Grant, 128 Melrose Road, Broad Brook, CT 06016. Include the ticket holder’s name, phone number, address, email address and choice of time. For ticket information, call Judi Friedman, (860) 623-5487. For tour information, call (860) 693-4813.

Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) Stakeholder Events in New Haven May 5

During 2016, the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) will be gathering input from stakeholders across the state, as part of its charge to develop a strategy/plan to meet the state’s mandated goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 2001 levels by the year 2050.

The current plan involves three rounds of stakeholder events (May, July and October) to engage stakeholders at different points in the process. For the first round — scheduled for 5:30-7:30 the evening of May 5 — the primary/central location will be in Hartford, with six satellite locations around the state. Participants at the satellite locations will view the presentation(s) via video link and then engage in facilitated dialogue at the local level.

The May 5 gatherings will provide stakeholders the opportunity to learn about and provide feedback on the technologies and measures that will be modeled in the Long range Energy Alternatives Planning System (LEAP). This widely-used software tool for energy policy analysis and climate change mitigation assessment will help us understand the GHG reduction potential of various measures and technologies (and combinations thereof).

The CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs is helping to coordinate logistics for these gatherings.

Register for May 5! Please register at http://bit.ly/GC3_May5 in order to receive updated info and background materials prior to the gatherings.

May 5 Site—Yale University, Sage Hall, 205 Prospect St., New Haven. Refreshments available at 5 p.m.; program begins at 5:30 p.m. (Other sites are available; see http://bit.ly/1UC3pUb) Registration is not necessary, but it allows us to send you preparatory materials and help us ensure adequate food and proper room set-up.

Info: John Humphries, john.humphries1664@gmail.com, 860-216-7972.

Get Ready for Rock to Rock!

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven-León Sister City Project

Only in its eighth year, the Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride has quickly grown into one of the region’s largest environmental events and fundraisers. Starting at 9 a.m., the event itself — on Saturday, April 30 — is a day-long celebration of Earth Day and New Haven’s rich environmental and cultural resources.

1,500 cyclists will travel between West Rock and East Rock, with celebrations on both sides of the city. Along the way, they will eat tasty food, hear great music, take on environmental challenges and service projects, and explore the city’s parks. They will travel along the Farmington Canal Trail and official city bike lanes, pass through many of the city’s beautiful neighborhoods, and make stops in Edgewood and Beaver Pond Parks on their way between the Rocks. In 2016 there will be five rides: the 8-mile family-friendly ride; a 12 mile adult ride; the 20-mile ride; the 40-mile ride; and a metric century (60+ miles), all traveling through scenic and park filled routes in the New Haven region. Music at various stops and at the end at East Rock will be provided by CT Folk and with include performances by local musicians.

The goals for 2016 are $200,000 raised and 1,500 riders. In 2015, the Ride attracted 1,307 registered riders – the largest number ever; 2,958 donations made to local environmental work; $186,802 raised – up from our previous $152,158 record; 40 sponsors, contributing $60,912 and critical in-kind support; 100+ volunteers; 20-plus high-impact environmental organizations whose work is fueled by this event. Creating a city full of healthy food, street trees, community gardens, green jobs, outdoor adventures, clean and accessible parks, bike trails, educational opportunities and much more. Register at http://www.rocktorock.org or for more info call (203) 285-6147.

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