CT Green Energy News, April 15, 2022

Connecticut should seek zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, says a study from Yale and Save the Sound in the New Haven Register. “Despite once being hailed as an early leader in combating climate change, Connecticut must aggressively boost its current pace of carbon reductions in order to keep up with the intensifying rate of warming in the region​..​.[The report] called on lawmakers to set a goal of reaching zero-carbon emissions in Connecticut by 2050 — hastening the state’s current mid-century target of reducing emissions by 80 percent. Even those more modest goals, however, remain out of reach at the state’s current rate of transitioning away from fossil fuels, officials have acknowledged.. ​’Connecticut is not doing its fair share​.'”

Connecticut jumps into the electric bus lane per NEWS 8 WTNH. “A pilot program of 10 EV buses is rolling right now in New Haven…Over the next 15 years, 500 buses will be phased in costing tens of millions of dollars. One electric bus costs $900,000. One diesel/hybrid costs $600,000. The federal government kicks in 80%. The state pays the other 20%. ‘Over the life cycle of having that bus, we save around $400,000 total in fuel savings…and maintenance costs are 50% lower…So it’s a net positive for taxpayers when we switch to electric buses.’ A diesel engine has lots of parts. The view of the electric battery system shows a simple row of tubes and a square battery.”

Join the Gather New Haven Farm Based Wellness Program

The Gather New Haven Farm-Based Wellness Program is an intensive lifestyle intervention 16-week summer program that supports participants in achieving their nutrition and physical activity-related goals by meeting on a local urban farm within New Haven once a week for two hours from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. We engage in urban farming activities, we engage in group physical activities, we do a 10-minute mindful meditation and then move on to a nutrition discussion and a cooking demonstration which includes vegetables that participants are given to take home with them each week. On-site childcare is provided for participants with children. We also offer an additional Saturday session focused on physical activities from 9:30 to 11 a.m. The program is free, no cost to join.

The program aims to recruit participants within the New Haven area who have any diet-related disease (prediabetes, diabetes type 2, excess weight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc) and are looking to make healthy lifestyle changes.

May 10-Sept. 3
Spanish on Tuesdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at 15 James St.
English on Thursdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at 170 Ward St.
Bilingual on Saturdays, 9:30-11 a.m. at 613 Ferry St.

For info and to register: 203-516-7270

Construction Underway at Haven and Exchange Street

by savethesound.org

The construction of our current ecological restoration project at Haven and Exchange Street in Fair Haven is well underway and on schedule to be completed by the beginning of May.

Students from the John S. Martinez School explored the Haven and Exchange Street site.

One of the goals of this new green space is to filter and absorb polluted stormwater runoff from nearby streets before it reaches the Mill River. To restore the natural filtration process, we have removed the impervious asphalt and concrete surfaces in this dead-end roadway and have replaced them with porous sediment that has already seen a few rainfalls. Once construction is completed, we will open the site for volunteer planting events.

Students from the John S. Martinez School explored the Haven and Exchange Street site last month.
Students, families and the entire Fair Haven community will have the opportunity to help us plant native trees and shrubs in this space to absorb stormwater, restore and rehabilitate wildlife, and reconnect the community with the Mill River.

Fish are Running…But Not at Kinneytown

by savethesound.org

It’s officially spring, and migratory fish are making their way upstream to spawn. Some have been successful, like those in Whitford Brook, while others are encountering insurmountable barriers.

The spring fish run is an important time of year for diadromous fish that migrate from Long Island Sound into rivers throughout Connecticut and New York to their ancestral spawning grounds. Reproduction of fish such as alewife, blueback herring, and sea lamprey is important not only to sustain these species, but also to support populations of larger fish, birds, and mammals that rely on these “forage fish” for food.

Left photo -- The first alewife caught in traps between Whitford Pond and Long Pond. Middle photo -- Fish biologist, Jon Vander Werff holds an alewife. Right -- A school of alewife

The first alewife caught in traps between Whitford Pond and Long Pond (left). Fish biologist, Jon Vander Werff holds an alewife (middle). A school of alewife (right)

Dams and other barriers in our rivers hinder this important migration, and one of the largest culprits in the Long Island Sound region is Kinneytown Dam on the Naugatuck River. While a fishway was installed at this location, it has never been effective and has not even been opened yet this year by Hydroland, the dam owner. Their inability to pass the dam leaves fish stranded, forcing them to turn around or die from predation or exposure. Save the Sound’s Ecological Restoration team will be examining environmental DNA in the water at the base of the dam to understand which fish species are trying, and failing, to pass this barrier this year.

But it’s not all bad news. Whitford Brook has seen alewife make their way up through a natural breach in the Whitford Pond Dam to stretches of the river below Long Pond Dam (where Save the Sound is currently designing a nature-like fishway) for the first time in centuries.

“I’m so excited about this little fish—it is the first alewife documented that high in the watershed since before the construction of the Hyde Pond Dam,” says fish biologist Jon Vander Werff. “These fish are now able to reach habitat that hasn’t been accessible in hundreds of years, giving new life and new possibilities to the Whitford Brook diadromous fish run.” Save the Sound led the removal of Hyde Pond Dam in 2015.

New Haven Climate Movement’s Electric Future Campaign

by Alex Murphy, NH Climate Movement

Multiple new and successful building projects—including the Hotel Marcel (named for Marcel Breuer’s brutalist architecture) and The Elm—have recently been completed in New Haven and point to the coming transition from fossil fuel to electric-based energy. These projects represent the idea of an “electric future,” and we as a community need to be implementing the same electric technology for everyday life—in our homes and cars—as well.

The New Haven Electric Future campaign is encouraging the transition away from fossil fuels to a community solely reliant on electricity—from electric cars to electric buildings—to reduce emissions, air pollution and noise, and to increase efficient energy use. Doing so is necessary for the health of the planet and our own.

A multitude of modern equipment continues to run on inefficient and unhealthy natural gas. Gas-powered technology—such as gas stoves and gas-powered cars—is everywhere, and many are unaware of the risks such devices pose. In order to reduce emissions, we need to switch as many systems as possible away from gas and onto the Connecticut grid, which continues to include more renewable energy sources. Zero-carbon and nuclear resources now make up nearly 65% of the electricity consumed, and that percentage is expected to increase to 91% by 2025. Electrification just makes sense.

Electrification is possible in any community that is committed to change, and early strides towards an electric future can serve as a framework for other locations. The recent passing of an electrification resolution by the Board of Alders in March of 2021 demonstrates an existent commitment to an electric future in New Haven, and it is the hope of the New Haven Climate Movement that prompt action in our community will serve as a guide.

What can I do? Share what you know with your family, friends, co-workers, landlords, and the like. Those in charge of energy allotment also need to know that electrical energy is the future, so share your concern with local elected officials and CT government members. The wide benefit that an electric future can bring to New Haven within the next few years is truly something to get excited about.

For more information, email us at newhavenclimatemovement@gmail.com. Our website is www.newhavenclimatemovement.org.

Park Case Question: Might Trees Remain Standing?

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, March 10, 2022

Maybe the developer will build around the trees?

A city-hired attorney offered that defense in state court during the latest hearing about whether or not New Haven violated a state environmental law by agreeing to sell a Dwight public greenspace.

That’s the latest in the ongoing case Friends of Kensington Playground v. City of New Haven.

Parks group attorney Keith Ainsworth and city-hired attorney Nancy Valentino duked it out, legally speaking, before state Superior Court Judge James Abrams during a live-streamed virtual hearing on the city’s motion to strike a key part of the underlying lawsuit.

Abrams did not issue a ruling during Wednesday’s hearing itself; he is expected to submit a written order on the matter soon.

The state court case dates back to November 2020, when a group of Dwight open-space advocates filed a lawsuit looking to stop the city from selling a 0.67-acre park on Kensington Street for $1 to The Community Builders (TCB).
The Boston-based developer plans to build 15 new affordable apartments atop the public greenspace as part of TCB’s $30 million Phase 2 redevelopment of the adjacent Kensington Square apartment complex. The city in turn has agreed to set aside new public parkland in Newhallville, while TCB must invest $80,000 in improvements at the nearby city-owned Day Street Park.

In June 2021, a state judge threw out half of the park advocates lawsuit after agreeing with the city that Dwight resident Patricia Wallace and the park friends group do not have legal standing to sue the city under a state law that limits how municipalities may “take” open space.

That left only one legal allegation remaining in the parks group’s bid to stop the city from handing over the park to the housing builder.

That allegation — that the city’s park-transfer approval violates the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), or Connecticut General Statutes § 22a-16 — was at the center of Wednesday’s hearing.

Valentino kicked off the hearing by making the case for the city’s motion to strike from October 2021.

CEPA allows someone to sue the state or a municipality “for the protection of the public trust in the air, water and other natural resources of the state from unreasonable pollution, impairment or destruction,” she said, quoting the law itself.

[Read the whole article at www.newhavenindependent.org/article/kensington_park_lawsuit]

A Climate Campaign that Could Get Many Involved

By Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

We don’t have to wait until laws are passed to take action to stop greenhouse gases (GG). We can campaign right now to get state and local governments, colleges and schools to voluntarily stop using gas-powered devices on their own parks, lawns and forests and land bordering roadways.

In 2018, Connecticut used 3,800,000 gallons of gas on lawn care. Much of that was used in 2-cycle engines that spew a lot of pollution and greenhouse gases. They send out microscopic particulates that go deep into lungs. They send out cancer-causing chemicals like benzene. And they send out CO2, N2O and other greenhouse gases (GG). These machines are dangerous to lawn care workers using them and the GG imperil the whole world.

Get a group together at your school or in your city. Write to the authorities and tell them why it’s important to replace gas-powered equipment. Ask them to inventory what off-road gas-powered equipment they use: leaf blowers, lawn mowers, trimmers, chain saws, etc. Call on them to replace the equipment. Use letters, petitions and phone calls and show up at relevant meetings.

Here’s something that would need action from the legislature. Ask them to give the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection a million dollars to offer consumers to exchange electric equipment for their gas-powered machines. Don’t laugh. It need not be a fantasy. Connecticut did just that in the ’90s with $500,000. They gave away lower-polluting equipment in exchange for worse polluting machines (CT Lawn Equipment Exchange Fund – LEEF).

For help with this see pepeace.org/stop-sores or call 203-444-3578.

Notice from the New Haven Board of Alders

The City Services and Environmental Policy Committee of the Board of Alders will meet on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at 6 p.m., via video conference at https://bit.ly/3opXAwR and by phone at 646-558-8656 Webinar ID: 979 5435 3415.

The second of two items to hear and act on is regarding gas-powered leaf blowers.

LM20210378 Resolution of the New Haven Board of Alders concerning a public meeting to hear residents’ concerns about the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and discuss phasing out the use of gas-powered leaf blowers in the City of New Haven as soon as is practicable, while allowing a reasonable transition period for local landscapers and residents.

These items are on file and available in the Office of the City Clerk, Room 202 at 200 Orange Street; New Haven, CT 06510.

For accommodations to view the meeting, please email publictestimony@newhavenct.gov or call 203-946-6483. For accessibility-related accommodations, please call 203-946-7651 (V) or 203-946-8582 (TTY/TDD).

Public comment/testimony may also be submitted via email to publictestimony@newhavenct.gov before 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting. If you wish to present testimony at the meeting, you must register in advance at https://bit.ly/3opXAwR or by calling 203-946-6483 or emailing publictestimony@newhavenct.gov before 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

Public can view the meeting at https://bit.ly/3opXAwR  or listen by phone at 646-558-8656 Webinar ID: 979 5435 3415. The password to listen by phone only is 98977126.

News from People’s Action for Clean Energy

by Deborah Roe, Program Manager, PACE

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) is a nonprofit dedicated to helping towns transition to 100% clean energy. Here is a look at some of our most recent initiatives:

Path to 100 – Released in January, Path to 100 is a downloadable handbook for town groups working on energy efficiency and renewable energy issues. Whether you’re just getting started or considering additional projects, this guide can be a valuable resource.

Under 30 in Energy – In addition to our Facebook page (@pacecleanenergy), PACE has a new Instagram account. The focus of this will be appealing to the under-30 crowd. One thing we are doing is interviewing “under-30s” doing work related to clean energy. Our first interview is with
Alex Rodriguez of Save the Sound (and formerly of the League of Conservation Voters).

Follow us on Instagram @PACEcleanenergy to hear about Alex’s work and his personal story related to environmental justice. Do you know other under-30s doing work in clean energy? Reach out to us: deb@pacecleanenergy.org.

HeatSmart Connecticut – PACE is working with towns on HeatSmart campaigns — outreach and education that help promote energy efficiency and heat pumps. We started with Branford in 2020, then Middletown and Guilford in 2021, and now Bethel and West Hartford. To assist in this effort, we created a website http://heatsmartct.org. The website is a useful resource for those wanting to learn more about energy efficiency and heat pumps.

Center for Business and Environment at Yale Energy Justice Seminar Series

The Yale Center for Environmental Justice (YCEJ) and the Center for Business and Environment at Yale (CBEY) welcome you to join them Mondays at 2:30 p.m. for the Energy Justice Seminar series, which aims to explore “the multifaceted and exciting role of justice in the clean energy transition.” The seminars are free and open to the public.

Energy justice refers to the goal of achieving equity in the social and economic participation in the energy system, while also remedying social, economic, and health impacts on those disproportionately harmed by the way we produce and consume energy. This series will draw from multiple disciplines, including but not limited to law, sociology, anthropology, and economics and will cover broad topics on policy and regulation, community advocacy, housing, transportation, labor, utilities, and more.
To register, visit cbey.yale.edu/programs/yale-energy-justice-speaker-series-spring-2022.

Upcoming lectures are listed below.

February 28 – Energy Justice and Health Outcomes – Kenneth Gillingham, Yale University
March 7 – Intersection of Energy Justice and Labor/Work-force Issues – Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council
March 14 – Housing, Energy, Health, and Equity – Diana Hernandez, Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University
March 28 – Housing and Energy Justice – Donnel Baird, CEO of Bloc Power
April 4 – Energy Justice in Philanthropy – Danielle Deane, Director of Equitable Climate Solutions, Bezos Earth Fund
April 11 – Energy Justice and Public Health – Surili Patel, Vice President, Metropolitan Group
April 18 – Energy Poverty and Global Justice Issues – Narasimha Rao, Yale

Urban Resources Initiative Looking for Homes for Trees

We are writing to ask for your help in finding homes for new street trees in New Haven this spring! Our next planting season is just around the corner. Our first day of planting is March 28, and we still have lots of availability in our schedule.

URI will plant a street tree free of charge for any New Haven resident who requests one and is willing to water it for the first three years. If you have an open site for one of these trees in front of your New Haven home or business and/or you know someone else who does, make a request by April 1 to be included in our Spring 2022 planting season (while tree availability lasts). Renters and owners are both eligible.

How to make a request:

1. Send an email to uri@yale.edu with your name, phone number, New Haven street address, and the number of trees you’re requesting. Optional: You may also include any preferences you have for your trees! Our website has an online street tree catalog where you can learn more about species option.

2. Visit our website uri.yale.edu and complete our online webform.

To learn more about GreenSkills, our tree planting and green jobs program, please visit uri.yale.edu/programs/ greenskills or give URI staff a call at 203-432-6189.

Thanks for your help in keeping New Haven neighborhoods green, healthy, and thriving for all.

CT NOFA’s 40th Winter Conference: Innovation and Determination

CT Northeast Organic Farming Association is proud to present our 40th Winter Conference to be held virtually over the course of two weeks, starting Feb. 11 until Feb. 26. In week one, we will offer over 20 workshops on farming, seed saving, organic land care, community food security, social justice issues, and more. In week two, we will host small in-person meet-ups around the state to gather and share much-needed social connections.

Join us as we learn, grow, innovate, and think critically about what our food and farming will look like in the future.

Conference registration includes over 20 live sessions and exclusive access to all recordings and pre-recorded content.

This year, we are implementing a sliding scale pricing model, allowing us to practice economic solidarity, providing mutual support for the cost of our programs. In this way, we make our education more accessible and help cover costs of operation. Choose the pricing tier that fits with your income and access to wealth, and help us create a more just, inclusive, and equitable conference. Many thanks to Soul Fire Farm, and Rock Steady Farm for their vision and leadership in advocating for equitable pricing models. Minimum registration fee is $15. Scholarships are still available thanks to our generous donors and sponsors. There is a link to request a registration fee waiver on the registration page for the conference at ctnofa.org.

1 2 3 16