Eyeing Asthma, Dwight Tracks Pollution

by Emily Hays, New Haven Independent, April 16, 2021

Three small, white domes will soon be able to tell Dwight neighbors exactly how much pollution is floating around their neighborhood as they brace for an influx of up to 1,000 new cars a day.

That’s thanks to an environmental health project that began with concerns about the traffic impact of an $838 million, 505,000 square-foot neuroscience center Yale New Haven Hospital plans to build at George Street and Sherman Avenue.

“We started all this because we wanted to look at pollution in our neighborhood. Some of this is causing asthma in our neighborhood,” Dwight Central Management Team Chair Florita Gillespie told neighbors at a recent meeting.

Read entire article at www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/dwight_measures_air_pollution

PACE to Hire Full-Time Staff Person

by Mark Scully, President of PACE

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) will hire its first full-time staff person, as described below. If interested, please apply. For questions about the position, contact Bernie Pelletier (bernard.pelletier@comcast.net).

People’s Action for Clean Energy Program Manager

Position Description: Position Overview

The Program Manager will assume operational responsibility for several of its initiatives. This position will work closely with the officers of PACE and oversee interns and volunteers to direct the implementation of a range of programs, including: 100PercentCT, working with towns to assist their transition to clean energy; HeatSmartCT, a campaign to promote education and adoption of heat pumps; continued development of the PACE Energy Model; creation of a new PACE Clean Energy Dashboard on the PACE website; and Solar Canopies Project, helping towns and the state realize the potential of this resource.

Qualifications

The ideal candidate will be an excellent leader and will have experience in managing staff of different disciplines to produce results in a timely manner. Applicant must be self-driven, possess strong organizational skills and be capable of working independently, seeking guidance when needed. The candidate must demonstrate strong interest in advancing clean energy and a desire to work on concrete solutions based on data analysis. Good verbal skills as well as the ability to write with clarity and brevity are essential. The ability to work and communicate remotely via Zoom and other applications is a necessity due to the pandemic.

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) is a non-profit engaged in promoting the transition to clean energy. For more information about PACE, visit its website at www.pacecleanenergy.org or phone (917) 843-7214.

Interested applicants should send their resumes to PACE4CT@gmail.com.

PACE, PO Box 134, West Simsbury, CT 06092

The Friends of Kensington Playground April Update

by Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Taking the Dwight neighborhood’s only public playground for housing amounts to environmental injustice. Our efforts to save Kensington Playground from development continue.

Friends of Kensington Playground lawsuit in State court:

  • The City of New Haven has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit (on the grounds of lack of standing).  One Friend owns her home and lives across the street, so we expect to win on that.
  • The Community Builders (TCB) has filed a motion to be a party in the lawsuit.  The judge has said no for now.

The Mayor said no to mediation at March’s neighborhood meeting, choosing instead to spend taxpayer funds needless-ly to defend a lawsuit.  There are win-win options. Mediation could be helpful.
We asked the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to get involved. They have asked the City of New Haven to explain how people in the community were involved in consideration of the sale of the site and how a review of the site’s historic significance was done in advance of the decision to sell it.

Friends of Kensington Playground will be hosting several events in the park. Please come and please wear a mask. Food Pantry, Easter Basket Giveaway: Saturday, April 3, 10 a.m.; Park Spring Clean Up: Sat., April 10, 10-11 a.m.; Kids Bike Safety Clinic: Sat., Apr. 17, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.; Clothing/Household Goods Giveaway – May, date pending.

To get involved, learn more, donate, and sign our petition, please visit our website: KensingtonPlayground.org.

Protecting Dwight’s only playground from sale and development is costly, even though we have done as much of the work as possible ourselves. Please be as generous as you can. Don’t let the City take this playground for $1 with an illegal process. Take a stand for democracy. Fight environ-mental injustice. Require our city, state and federal governments to follow the law.

Community Sustainability & Free Organic Vegetable Gardening Virtual Workshops

by Tebben Lopez, Neighborhood Housing Services

Considering the circumstances we are in and the exacerbated concerns around food security, we are offering this year’s classes free of charge for everyone. The series will be virtual to ensure everyone’s safety.

Are you or a loved one a gardener who can’t wait for the ground to thaw? Prepare for Spring with our last two classes in our organic vegetable gardening series taught by Advanced Certified Master Gardener Rachel Ziesk! All classes are virtual and take place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

March 6: Seed Starting – Start your own seedlings! Learn about when to start indoor seedlings, watering, using lights, and dealing with common problems. We will also review which crops can be planted directly outdoors and when.

March 13: Weeds: the Good, the Bad, and the Tasty – Some “weeds” are actually native wildflowers benefitting your vegetable garden’s pollinators. Some are invasive horrors with plans to take over your garden. And some are edible, delicious little morsels that can be harvested and enjoyed.
For more information, please contact Kathy Fay, (203) 562-0598 ext. 225, kfay@nhsofnewhaven.org.

Support a Fossil Fuel Power Plant Moratorium to Protect Our Health and Climate

by Melinda Tuhus, climate justice activist

Climate activists around the state are prioritizing a bill (SB 718) in this year’s General Assembly session that would create a moratorium on fossil fuel power plant construction, with an eye specifically to stopping a fracked gas power plant to be built in Killingly, which is nearing final approval by the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

In a conversation with climate activists on Feb. 17, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Christine Cohen, said she was frustrated that, despite a full-court press by those advocates to get a public hearing on the bill in the Energy & Technology Committee, that didn’t happen. She said it might still happen through another bill or possibly by creating some studies to enable the state to take action to stop Killingly, for which the owners of the plant, NTE, have signed a contract with ISO-New England, the regional grid operator. Gov. Ned Lamont says he doesn’t want the plant but that he is stuck with this agreement forged by his predecessor, Dannel Malloy, who was a huge proponent of gas. ISO-NE, on the other hand, says that states always have the final say on siting energy infrastructure.

There are many reasons why the plant shouldn’t be built. Connecticut’s Global Warming Solutions Act, in line with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change science, requires that greenhouse gas emissions in our state must be reduced below 2001 levels by 45% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. To achieve these mandated reductions, Connecticut must stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure, including power plants and pipelines.

Connecticut doesn’t need more dirty energy. Analysis from EIA (US Energy Information Agency) shows Connecticut has been a net energy exporter for a decade.1 Analysis by Synapse Energy shows that a significant surplus of electric capacity exists, and is projected to exist, in New England.2 And DEEP’s Draft Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) says that “Connecticut now hosts a disproportionate share of the region’s fossil-fueled generation”3

To meet our climate goals, including Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 3 calling for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, we must build clean energy capacity while retiring dirty energy, not building more dirty power. Acadia Center calculated that by 2030 Connecticut and New England would experience a net gain in employment under a No New Gas scenario.4

Finally, fossil fuel generation causes poor air quality and inequitable health outcomes, as these facilities are most often placed in low-income and/or people of color neighborhoods. Killingly ranks well below the state average in income and already has an operating fracked gas power plant.

Take action! Contact the co-chairs of the Energy & Technology Committee and urge them to incorporate the basics of SB 718 in another bill so it has a chance to be voted on. That’s Sen. Norm Needleman (norm.needleman@cga.ct.gov) and Rep. David Arconti (david.arconti@cga.ct.gov).

Footnotes
1. https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=CT
2. https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/CSC/1_Dockets-medialibrary/Docket_470B/Prefiled_exhibits/grouped/DO470B20190411NAPPSCTestimonyFaganGlickpdf.pdf
3. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/energy/IRP/2020-IRP/2020-CT-DEEP-Draft-Integrated-Resources-Plan-in-Accordance-with-CGS-16a-3a.pdf&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1612307098281000&usg=AOvVaw15H4cjW5Hp_vcg_qIRhWGz
4. https://362kp444oe5xj84kkwjq322g-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Acadia_Center_Decline_of_Gas_Brief.pdf

New Haven Climate Movement Activities

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven Climate Movement

Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride 2021: We’re excited to share that Rock to Rock is moving ahead for this spring. We are already working with over 15 partner organizations to take real action in response to the climate emergency and raise critical support for local environmental organizations while respecting public health guidance. Register now at https://www.rocktorock.org.

Sign petition to support New Haven Climate Justice and Green Jobs Fund of $1.1 million that would go annually to staff and other expenses related to clean energy jobs creation, energy efficiency, outreach/education/programs (to save families money and create jobs), increased climate education, and transportation improvement (to reduce air pollution and help people get to work/school). https://www.newhavenclimatemovement.org/climate-justice-gj-fund.

URI Seeks Requests for Free Street Trees in New Haven

Now is the time to request a free street tree for your home!  Thanks to a partnership between the City of New Haven and the Urban Resources Initiative, you can request a tree to be planted for free, as long as you commit to watering the tree to ensure it survives. Planting a tree not only helps to shade, beautify, and add value to your home and the street, but it also provides paid work experience to adults with barriers to employment. URI’s tree experts will work with you to plant a tree that thrives at your location and fits your interests.

The spring planting season is only a few weeks away, so request your tree today! New Haven properties only. To make a request, visit https://uri.yale.edu/get-involved/request-free-tree. For more information, contact: uri@yale.edu or (203) 432-6189.

Mapping Inequality Project: EPA Environmental Justice and Systemic Racism Speaker Series

EPA is launching the Environmental Justice (EJ) and Systemic Racism Speaker Series. The first session March 4, 12 – 1 p.m., will highlight The Mapping Inequality Project, a unique collaboration on redlining and current environmental challenges that provides publicly-accessible digitized versions of redlining maps for about 200 cities. This project has generated trailblazing work in the area of EJ and systemic racism. Two of its founders discuss the genesis, philosophy, methodology, and impact of this game-changing project.

Speakers will be Dr. Robert Nelson, Director, Digital Scholarship Laboratory, University of Richmond and Dr. LaDale Winling, Associate Professor of History, Virginia Tech. Moderator is Charles Lee, Senior Policy Advisor for Environmental Justice, EPA.

Register Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-mapping-inequality-project-tickets-136940963107

The Environmental Justice and Systemic Racism Speaker Series will illustrate how addressing systemic racism is highly relevant to EPA’s mission. This series explores how understanding and addressing systemic racism and the roots of disproportionate environmental and public health impacts is key to integrating EJ in the policies and programs of EPA and other environmental agencies to achieve environmental protection for all people.

The first five sessions will focus on redlining and current environmental challenges. Future topics will include Title VI and civil rights program, EJ research and analysis, rural inequities, and others. Suggestions are welcomed. Registration information for each session forthcoming.

For more information, please contact Charles Lee (lee.charles@epa.gov) or Sabrina Johnson (johnson.sabrina@epa.gov).
For up-to-date information about Environmental Justice funding opportunities, events, and webinars, subscribe to EPA’s Environmental Justice listserv by sending a blank email to: join-epa-ej@lists.epa.gov.

Connecticut Green Energy News No. 206, Feb. 19, 2012

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). To subscribe, contact Peter Millman at peter.millman7@gmail.com.

More information is at https://www.pacecleanenergy.org

Five takeaways from Connecticut’s new residential solar program changes

Energy News Network. “After years of debate over reforming the state’s solar program, stakeholders widely praised the new rules released last week. Connecticut utility regulators have reconfigured the state’s residential solar program in an effort to ensure its growth and drive innovation.” Plus: PURA Establishes New Residential Renewable Energy Program (FAQs from PURA)

Could rolling blackouts happen in New England?

NHPR. “I think the biggest single issue is that winter is normal in New Hampshire and across the Northeast. We are used to seeing these types of intense winter storms and multiple low-degree days. The problem in Texas is, that’s not normal there. This is a once-in-fifty, one-in-one-hundred-years type of event. And given that, the overall energy infrastructure system has not been developed and constructed with this type of severe weather in mind.”

Amid unprecedented storm damage, Eversource’s 2020 profits rise to $1.21B

Hartford Business Journal. “Eversource said a lower effec-tive tax rate also benefited its fourth-quarter bottom line.”

Lamont defends environmental, transportation agenda

CT News Junkie. “Lamont dismissed as “nonsense” the idea that drivers and truckers may avoid Connecticut roadways in an effort to avoid new user fees or high gas prices. He said drivers would need to travel through states with even higher fees to avoid Connecticut. You’re paying for that the whole way up the East Coast, it’s only when you get to Connecticut that everybody gets a free ride except for the poor taxpayers of our state,” he said.” Plus: Connecticut Gov. Lamont unveils environmental priorities amid dispute over impact on gasoline prices

As Boston gets on board, community power compacts gain steam

22 News WWLP.com. “…the program is part of the city’s commitment to environmental justice and one of its goals is to make renewable energy more accessible to residents who are socially vulnerable and have likely been disproportionately impacted by climate change…With a lot of aggregation programs we’re seeing them go five percentage points, 10 percentage points, much higher beyond that standard to procure more green electricity for their consumers. And that’s, from a local level, probably one of the most if not the most impactful ways to reduce emissions if you’re trying to meet climate goals.”

March 5, 6 and 13 NOFA 2021 Connecticut and Rhode Island Winter Conference

This year the Northeast Organic Farming Association is offering over 25 food and farming workshops (March 6 & 13), a keynote address by Karen Washington of Rise and Root Farm (March 5), the 3rd Annual Bill Duesing Organic Living on the Earth Award, a virtual silent auction with prizes including private horse riding lessons, a rustic beach getaway on Block Island – and much more!

Workshop offerings include: Intensify, Diversify, Perennialize: How to Profitably Incorporate Perennial Crops with Connor Stedman; Goat Ownership and Management 101 with Grace Toy; Domestic Seaweed Supply Chains: Opportunities and Challenges with Dawn Kotowicz and Sam Garwin; Emergency Ag Preparedness for Farmers with Joan Nichols; How to Begin Growing Organic in Urban Spaces: A Success Story with Emmanuel Marte and Josephine Joiner; Organic Disease Control with Yonghao Li; Building Soil Carbon for our Gardens/Farms, Health, and World with Julie Rawson & Jack Kittredge; Compost Production Virtual Tour: High-Quality Compost with Jayne Senecal; And many more!

https://newmilfordfarmlandpres.org/ct-nofa-2021-winter-conference-march-56-and-13

Community Sustainability/ Free Organic Vegetable Gardening Virtual Workshops

by Tebben Lopez, Neighborhood Housing Services

Considering the circumstances we are in and the exacerbated concerns around food security, we are offering this year’s classes free of charge for everyone. The series will be virtual to ensure everyone’s safety.

Are you or a loved one a gardener who can’t wait for the ground to thaw? Prepare for Spring with our 6-class organic vegetable gardening series taught by Advanced Certified Master Gardener Rachel Ziesk! All classes are virtual and take place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

February 6: Soils and Composting – The most important component for a successful garden is soil health. Learn how to make your own compost and everything else you need to keep your soil healthy for the most productive garden.

February 13: Garden Planning & Season Extenders – Ensure a long and productive growing year with row covers, organic mulch, cold frames and more! Get the most out of even a small garden space.

February 20: Cool Weather Crops – Start your garden as soon as the soil thaws, even in mid-March! This class covers how and when to plant cool weather crops and manage their pests and diseases.

February 27: Warm Weather Crops – Learn how to make the best of our growing season including which warm-weather crops are best started indoors, which can be direct-seeded, what conditions and fertilizers each crop prefers, and how to fight their pests and diseases organically.

March 6: Seed Starting – Start your own seedlings! Learn about when to start indoor seedlings, watering, using lights, and dealing with common problems. We will also review which crops can be planted directly outdoors and when.

March 13: Weeds: the Good, the Bad, and the Tasty – Some “weeds” are actually native wildflowers benefitting your vegetable garden’s pollinators. Some are invasive horrors with plans to take over your garden. And some are edible, delicious little morsels that can be harvested and enjoyed.
For more information, please contact Kathy Fay, (203) 562-0598 ext. 225, kfay@nhsofnewhaven.org.

No More Jail Time for Nuclear Resister Mark Colville

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

The last of the Kings Bay Plowshare 7, New Haven’s Mark Colville, is slated to be sentenced Feb. 19. One of the other 7 has received 33 months in prison. Promoting Enduring Peace has started an online petition asking that Colville get no more jail time. The link is below, and the text of the petition is below that. It will be featured on the home page of PEPeace.org. https://www.change.org/p/judge-lisa-godbey-wood-no-more-jail-time-for-nuclear-resister-mark-colville

Petition Text

In view of the treaty that bans nuclear weapons possession, we call on Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to sentence Mark Colville to “time served” for his act of conscience.

Mark Colville and plaque with Kings Bay Plowshares 7 blood

On April 4, 2018, Mark Colville and 6 others entered the Kings Bay nuclear sub base in Georgia and purposely damaged a plaque on a wall and a model of a Trident nuclear-armed submarine. They felt they had to do something to alert the world about the paths being taken towards nuclear war. Indeed the U.S. has undertaken a $10 trillion modernization program of those weapons and has renounced arms control treaties. On Jan. 22, 2021, a treaty went into effect banning possession of nuclear weapons. 50 nations have signed it though the U.S. government has not done so. In view of the rising chance of nuclear war and the wave of worldwide revulsion against nuclear weapons we call for Colville’s sentence to be the 15 months of imprisonment that already has been “time served”.

The nuclear sword hangs over us all as the Doomsday Clock is only 100 seconds from midnight. We learned from Nancy Pelosi’s call to the head of the Joint Chiefs that any U.S. president (no matter how unbalanced) can order a nuclear strike at any time. We hope this petition will help spur more anti-nuclear weapon work and a new look at the idea of “No First Strike.”

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