Opinion: Vote “Yes” to Move Military Money to New Haven

Kim Stoner, NH Independent, Oct. 20, 2020

I mailed my absentee ballot today, and I almost missed it. I was so focused on the people I wanted to vote for—and certain people I wanted to vote against—that I almost missed the block of text on the right-hand side of the ballot:

“Shall Congress prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from the military budget to cities for human needs, jobs and an environmentally sustainable economy?”

Fortunately, I noticed it as I was folding my ballot to stuff it inside the inner envelope, stopped, and energetically marked the oval for “Yes!” I testified to the Board of Alders last June, asking them to put this on the ballot, and they unanimously agreed. I am a scientist, so I like facts. My testimony to the alders was a compilation of facts:

  • Direct military spending in the fiscal year ending in September 2020 will amount to $746 billion — more than $2 billion per day, more than $1 million per minute.
  • The U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world. Since the beginning of the “War on Terror” in 2001, the U.S. military has emitted 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases. This is more than double the annual greenhouse gas emissions of all the automobiles in the U.S.
  • Green manufacturing—the kind of work that would employ the technical skills used in defense manufacturing in Connecticut—creates 28 percent more jobs per dollar spent than defense spending.
  • Retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency —work we desperately need to do in New Haven, with our older and less energy efficient buildings—would create twice as many jobs per dollar spent as defense spending, and would immediately benefit the people of New Haven in reducing our energy bills and improving our health and comfort.
  • Our endless wars all over the world since 2001 have killed over 800,000 people and have not added to the peace or security of our country.

Why do we have such a huge military—bigger than those of the next 10 countries combined? The events of the last six months have shown that our status as a military superpower cannot keep us in New Haven safe from disease, from economic collapse, from gun violence, and from our divisions along racial and economic lines. Neither can it protect our country from the wildfires, floods, and hurricanes that seem never to end—and that are only a foretaste of the climate disasters to come.

We can’t solve our most pressing problems here in the city of New Haven, in the state, in the country, or in the world through military domination. COVID-19 is a global problem. The solution will ultimately be a global solution. We need to do everything we can locally to prevent the spread, to support the vulnerable and to prepare for fair and rapid mobilization when vaccines and treatments become available. In the meantime, the solutions lie in cooperation, not domination.

Climate change is also a global problem. We are way behind in grappling with the complexities and the will to implement global solutions, so just as with COVID-19, we need to do everything we can locally to make sure that those most vulnerable have the resources they need to adapt to the heat, the flooding, the increases in disease and the massive economic shifts that we know are coming. We also need to radically change our city in cooperation with the state and the rest of the world to stop putting the gases into the air that will make climate change worse.

Shifting money from the military would provide enormous practical benefits—making money available for human health, jobs, and environmental sustainability in our city. It would also represent a paradigm change in the federal government by raising the focus on human needs, not just in response to a crisis, but in supporting the community to reduce and prevent the crises of the future. And maybe—just maybe—it could lead to more cooperation and less domination in our relationships with the rest of the world.

CT Green Energy News

Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action (ECGA).

At PURA hearing, customers got their turn to criticize Eversource and UI over outages caused by Isaias; power companies face fines. “Melvin Garelick of Trumbull said in written comments that he and his wife, who are both 75 and have chronic medical conditions, discarded food valued at $500 and were “living on bread, peanuts, peanut butter and cereal” during the outage that lasted more than three days.” Hartford Courant.

Statement from Green Party of Connecticut Candidate Justin Paglino

by Ronna Stuller, Secretary, Green Party of CT

A unity of local Green Party chapters, the Green Party of Connecticut is committed to grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. These are the Four Pillars of all Green parties worldwide.

Green Party candidates accept no PAC contributions, only donations from individuals. In this year’s election we are running over a dozen candidates in municipal, state, and federal elections all across Connecticut.

In this PAR article we feature a statement by Justin Paglino MD, PhD, of Guilford, who is our nominee for US House of Representatives in the Third Congressional District, the seat currently held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro. We invite readers to visit our website https://www.ctgreenparty.org to learn more about our positions and our candidates. We also invite readers to consider changing their voter registration to Green Party, and/or to consider visiting your local Green Party of Connecticut chapter to learn more and get involved. You will be most welcome.

Statement by Justin Paglino M.D. Ph.D., Green Party of CT candidate for US House of Representatives, CT-3:

This year I decided to run for US House of Representatives so that voters in my congressional district would have the option of voting for a representative who supports Medicare for All, Ranked Choice Voting, Reduced Military Spending, a bold Green New Deal with Carbon Pricing, Fracking Ban and Federal Jobs Guarantee, and other policies that my opponents in this race do not support. Many voters do, however, support these policies, and these issues need at least one candidate on the ballot who supports them, so that voters can show where they stand on these issues.

Unlike my opponents, but like most Americans, I support Medicare for All.   Single-payer healthcare will not only provide comprehensive healthcare without charge to all Americans, but will also save up to $500 billion a year thanks to efficiencies of scale and removing the profit motive from healthcare insurance.

Unlike my opponents, I am a strong advocate for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), an electoral reform that ends two-party dominance by eliminating the spoiler effect.  RCV accomplishes this by allowing voters to rank their candidates in order of preference on the ballot. This reform exists now in Maine, where Lisa Savage is running as a Green Party candidate for US Senate; because of RCV, she will not act as a spoiler.

Unlike my opponents, I seek to rein in overblown Pentagon spending and redirect these funds towards the needs of Americans, including a Federal Jobs Guarantee. Rep. DeLauro, in contrast, this year voted YES for the $740 billion dollar Pentagon budget, and voted AGAINST a modest 10% cut (the Pocan amendment).

Unlike my opponents, I am willing to support bills that would enact the bold greenhouse gas-reducing policies that science calls for, such as HR763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (Carbon Tax and Dividend), or such as HR5857, the Ban Fracking Act. Neither bill is supported by our current representative.

I encourage PAR readers: always vote for what you want, not only against what you fear. If you want something, you have to vote for it, or you’ll never get it. There is a way out of the two-party system – it’s Ranked Choice Voting – but first you have to show you are willing to vote for it.

Please visit me at justin4all.org, e-mail me at justin@justin4all.org. Follow me on facebook/justin4all, twitter/justin4all2, insta/justinpaglino, youtube/justin4all.

And thank you to all you progressive activists!

– Justin Paglino M.D. Ph.D.

Details on Legislative Bill Regarding Electricity Concerns

by Paula Panzarella, New Haven Energy Task Force

In the course of the August storm Isaias, almost 800,000 Connecticut households and businesses lost electricity, some for over ten days. This prompted the Energy and Technology Committee of the State Legislature to take on a number of issues as the failures of United Illuminating and Eversource’s understaffing, unpreparedness and non-coordination with other companies and resources were exposed, causing great hardship and expense to many customers.

The Energy and Technology Committee is reviewing a bill, LCO 3920 (pdf) (An Act Concerning Emergency Response by Electric Distribution Companies and Revising the Regulation of Other Public Utilities), that can right a lot of wrongs of United Illuminating and Eversource. It is comprehensive and includes:

  • More oversight and consumer protection regarding the business practices of 3rd party electricity suppliers;
  • Attention to microgrid development and offer a resilience grant and loan pilot programs;
    Consideration for implementation of low-income rates;
  • Reimbursement for customers who have to throw out food due to extended power outages;
  • More transparency and a review of gas and electrical companies’ financial and operating funds;
  • Calls for public hearings for rate increases; and
  • “An Independent Consumer Advocate to act as an independent advocate for ratepayer interests in all matters that may affect the rate-payers of each electric distribution company… Independent Consumer Advocate shall be instituted on the board of directors for each electric distribution company.”

    How the bill can be improved:

  1. The Legislature needs to restore the $155 million that was taken from the Clean Energy Fund in 2018 and put back into the General Fund. Safeguards must be in place so such a seizure can never happen again.
  2. Not allow the continued blackmail of Dominion regard-ing Millstone nuclear power plant. CT ratepayers should not have to pay the entire cost of keeping Millstone open.
  3. Stop the construction of the Killingly gas plant. Creation of this plant runs totally counter to the State’s moves to deal with mitigating the effects of climate change.

Save the Sound (www.savethesound.org) has also alerted people to other issues that need to be addressed in this bill:

Expand energy storage. The only way Connecticut can increase renewable energy procurement, including offshore wind, solar, hydropower, etc. is to expand storage. Otherwise, we will lack the necessary infrastructure to expand renewable energy to meet the state’s goals.

Expand the Residential Solar Investment Program (RSIP) to provide more economical solar options to homeowners and lower the burden on the grid.

Keep solar net metering until 2022. This will allow PURA to focus on other grid modification efforts instead of a rushed new net metering program.

More information can be accessed at this website: https://www.cga.ct.gov/et

Contact the Energy and Technology with your suggestions for what should be included.
Energy and Technology Committee, Legislative Office Building, Room 3900, Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 240‑0430 ettestimony@cga.ct.gov.

And let your own State Senator and Representative know too!

Neighborhood Housing Services Will Help You Make Energy Upgrades to Your Home

by Kathy Fay, Neighborhood Housing Services

I ♥ My Home provides personalized, one-on-one coaching at no cost for people seeking to make energy upgrades to their homes. Mike Uhl, of System Smart, LLC, is working as an Energy Consultant with Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven staff to guide people, step by step, through the process of identifying their individual needs, accessing appropriate resources (financing, referrals, etc.) to meet those needs, completing the upgrade(s), and verifying the energy savings gained.

If you would like to increase home comfort, reduce utility bills and decrease carbon emissions, I ♥ My Home is available – at no cost – to renters, homeowners, landlords, even people who are just getting ready to purchase a house.

To find out more, or to register for the program, contact me at Neighborhood Housing Services at (203) 562-0598 ext. 225 or e-mail kfay@nhsofnewhaven.org.

Recycling and waste diversion coming to the neighborhood this fall

The New Haven Solid Waste & Recycling Authority is bringing recycling and waste diversion to the neighborhood this fall!

There will be a free one-day event called Hometown Recycling Day. The event will take place on October 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Truman School, 114 Truman Street (conditions and circumstances permitting).

Neighborhood residents, students and all New Haveners can bring their unwanted or broken electronic devices (t.v.’s, monitors, computers, phones, printers, wires, etc.), mattresses and box springs, and textiles (clothing, shoes, linens, handbags, belts and accessories) for recycling. We will also have a mobile paper shredding company for securely shredding all your important papers and documents at no charge. The idea is to serve our community by giving citizens from the area a chance to conveniently and safely drop these recyclables, and to provide information about our services to the public as well.

Please check out their new website www.nhswra.com for more transfer station information as well as information about recycling and waste diversion. You can also follow them on Twitter @NewHavenrecycle.

Some headline news from CT Green Energy News

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on Connecticut. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action (ECGA).

Connecticut needs to make big changes in ‘who does what’ in the electric power industry

CT Mirror. “Eversource has…failed to invest in the infrastructure we need to support demand flexibility, renewable integration and community decarbonization efforts. Recent problems with preparing for Tropical Storm Isaias show that Eversource has enough on its plate just planning for and maintaining the infrastructure that delivers electricity to us. Community power agencies should take over the procurement of electricity and the delivery of modern energy services and products…”

See more below ….

Following Isaias response, bill would put utilities on the hook for outage costs | Utility Dive

A bipartisan group of Connecticut lawmakers on Monday proposed legislation, dubbed the “Take Back Our Grid Act,” that would subject Eversource Energy and Avangrid subsidiary United Illuminating to greater scrutiny and possible penalties in the event of power outages that extend longer than two days.

Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which represents investor-owned utilities, warned the law would amount to “wholesale” change in the regulation of Connecticut power companies and could leave the utilities on the hook for damage caused by a natural disaster that would otherwise be considered an “act of God.”

Read more here: Following outrage over Hurricane Isaias response, Connecticut bill would put utilities on the hook for outage costs | Utility Dive

Regulators Issue Fines To Eversource And UI Over Shared Solar Program | WSHU

The opaque world of energy policy continues to roil the surface of state government as regulators again have chastised the state’s two biggest utilities: Eversource and United Illuminating. This time, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority fined both companies, alleging an “insufficient” rollout of a program called shared solar.

Shared solar lets customers who can’t put panels on their roof subscribe to a nearby solar array and get a credit on their bill. In 2018, the legislature passed a statewide shared solar program, which requires utilities to identify eligible customers and automatically enroll them.

Read more here: Regulators Issue Fines To Eversource And UI Over Shared Solar Program | WSHU

C3M Calls for Car Caravan Rally Against Planned Fracked Gas Plant June 5

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Friday, June 5, will see sign-covered autos traveling to Hartford to circle the block upon which the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) building sits. It has been approving the permits needed by the NTE company to build another fracked “natural gas” plant in Killingly, in eastern CT. The CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) is sponsoring the car caravan.

Now when there is a glut of fossil fuels, when oil wells are being capped because there’s nowhere to store the unneeded petroleum pumped by oil producers, the idea that another natural gas (methane) burning plant will be built is ludicrous. Even before the pandemic Gov. Ned Lamont admit-ted CT didn’t need the energy from another gas burner. Supposedly it was needed by the New England region. So the project appears to be rolling on.

Of course, need is a flexible term. What the region desperately needs to do is to cut back on carbon emissions. Global warming gases can destroy civilization. Civilization will survive if there’s less electricity to power gadgets and air conditioners.

One permit that needs to be won by NTs to be won by NTE would allow it to discharge 90,000 gallons of toxic wastewater daily. The goop would include lead, ammonia, petroleum, phosphorous, copper and other metals. The town of Killingly would have to treat the polluted water to make it usable. A very fine article about this by UCONN law student Tennyson Benedict was published in the Courant. Search online for the article headlined: “Killingly gas plant wastewater discharges are another reason for worry.”

The time of the car caravan on June 5 is 3-4 p.m. To find out more information see @ctclimate on Twitter and the C3M website www.ctclimatecrisismobilization.org.

Job Opening at CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs

CRCJ’s Board of Directors is launching the search for a new Executive Director/Lead Organizer, and we ask that you help us spread the word to your colleagues and networks to ensure that we get a strong and diverse pool of candidates, who will be excited about this opportunity to lead the organization and carry the work forward.

The next Executive Director and Lead Organizer of CRCJ will guide a statewide organization committed to protecting the climate while creating good local jobs and working for justice. The new leader will replace the founding Executive Director who has guided the organization since 2012.

A short summary of the organization and position is located below. The complete position description and contact information for interested candidates may be found at: CTClimateandJobs.org/exec_search
We encourage you to send questions or suggestions of potential candidates or sources to John Harrity, Board Chair at exec.search@ctclimateandjobs.org. The search will remain open and active until filled, but initial interviews are anticipated to begin in early May. Thank you.

The Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs seeks a dynamic and passionate Executive Director and Lead Organizer who will take this innovative nonprofit to its next level. The new leader will replace the founding Executive Director, who has successfully led the organization since 2012.

Overview of the Organization: The Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs (CRCJ) builds alliances among diverse constituencies to combat climate change, create jobs and promote racial, economic and environmental justice. CRCJ embraces diversity as a source of power and engages in collective action to ensure that Connecticut provides leadership in creating a clean energy future.

CRCJ believes the climate crisis presents an opportunity to build thriving local economies that are not only more sustainable but also more just and equitable.

ctclimateandjobs.org/wpcontent/uploads/2020/04/CRCJ-Position-Description-FINAL2-Apr-2020.pdf

I ❤ My Home: Energy Efficiency Counseling Pilot Program

by Tebben Lopez, NHS New Haven

From Feb. 3rd to the end of March, Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (NHS) will be reaching out for help to fund an exciting new pilot program called “I ❤ My Home.” The purpose of this program is to increase accessibility to education and support for people seeking to make energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. These upgrades will lead to improvements in their comfort, health and fiscal well-being, while at the same time helping to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions that harm the environment.

Funds will allow a contract Energy Consultant to join the organization and offer one-on-one counseling services to guide individuals through the process of understanding their individual needs, what resources are available to them and what steps to take to complete the upgrades(s) to make their homes more energy-efficient.

NHS was approved to participate in Sustainable CT’s Community Match Fund to raise $25,000 that will then be matched 1:1 by Sustainable CT for a total of $50,000 to jump-start the home energy efficiency counseling pilot program. Over the one-year pilot program, the goal will be to serve at least 40 customers, with the long-term goal of generating the capacity to ramp up to 400 or more energy efficiency customers annually.

Neighborhood Housing Services, (203) 562-0598, 333 Sherman Ave. New Haven, CT www.nhsofnewhaven.org.

Net Zero Energy Schools in CT: Major Retrofits and New Construction

by CT Energy Network & People’s Action for Clean Energy

We are excited to invite you to a special gathering of the Connecticut Energy Network (CTEN). This event is on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Rockfall Foundation, 27 Washington St. in Middletown. The program will focus on what we can all do in our towns to transition our schools to zero energy.

Topics include:
How holistic energy efficiencies – the first consideration!
– strengthen the benefits of solar and other renewables/
local clean energy generation;
How demand reduction and building science relate to
state energy goals and to school districts’ bottom lines;
What financial and planning resources exist today in CT
to help school districts minimize energy costs while
improving student performance and well-being.
All-electric HVAC technologies for schools.
Our keynote speaker is John Balfe, Buildings and Community Solutions Expert at Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP). Lunch is provided. Seating is limited and registration is required. Please attend with a school representative. To register and for more information, contact Patrice Gillespie at patricegillespie@mac.com.

Meet the Author Nov. 8: Green Strategy — Path to Fundamental Change

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

Meet author Marc Brodine at a presentation and book signing of Green Strategy – Path to Fundamental Change on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe Street, New Haven. Green Strategy advocates a massive worldwide movement to create fundamental change as the only way to solve environmental crises. Linking environmental issues to allied social and political movements can transform our politics, economy, and protect our species from devastation. The book was published this year by International Publishers and is $14.99.

Marc Brodine lives in Washington State and is currently on a book tour. He has been a union and community organizer and activist, writer, teacher, hospital orderly and technician, office manager, guitar player, and woodblock print artist. He has written extensively on environmental issues and politics and is the author of Blood Pressure, a hospital-based mystery. Born in St. Louis, he has lived most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. He is a member of the Communist Party USA National Committee and has presented at conferences in the U.S., China, and Finland.

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