CT Green Energy News from the Sept. 10 issue

One day after CT announces failure to meet emissions targets, Energy Efficiency Board approves plan to continue fossil fuel subsidies. From the Sierra Club CT:

The Energy Efficiency Board’s approval of plans to use ratepayer money to subsidize using more gas will only fuel more pollution and make it even harder for Connecticut to meet its climate pollution targets…  Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Commissioner Dykes should reject any plan from the EEB that subsidizes dirty fossil fuels; and tell them to try again and produce a plan that promotes energy efficiency savings, while ending subsidies for climate-destroying fossil fuels…  Continuing to subsidize polluting fossil fuels defies logic.

CT Green Energy online newsletter is a great resource for environmental activists and clean energy advocates. To subscribe, send an e-mail to pace4ct@gmail.com.

We Are in a Climate Emergency

Melinda Tuhus, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M)

In light of the release of the latest – and grimmest – report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, two dozen New Haveners gathered on the Green on Friday, Aug. 13, to raise the alarm locally.

The report says humans have definitively caused the warming of the planet, that it is accelerating, but that there is still a small window of opportunity to avoid the worst impacts, like global drowning from sea level rise. One banner pointed to the rise in sea level, which could be as much as 30 feet by 2100 without drastic action, putting New Haven and the entire Connecticut shoreline underwater.

Joe Foran came with his eldest son, Joseph, who is 7. Foran said that after listening to dire climate news on the radio every morning, “My two sons were upset and asked me to not play the radio before school.” Later he added, “We are not just avoiding the news altogether. We are struggling as a family with how we tell them the truth in a way that is not overly burdensome to their young minds and young souls. I think the real thing that makes a difference for the kids are actions like today, where they gain their agency and they aren’t just passive victims of the climate madness.”

The other focus of the rally was to point out that Chase Bank is the biggest funder, by far, of the fossil fuel industry and to call on Chase to specifically stop funding Enbridge’s construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline across Anishinaabe treaty territory in northern Minnesota.

As an organizer with CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) I went to Minnesota and was one of 700 people – and counting – to be arrested along the pipeline route.

Eluned Li, a member of Sunrise New Haven, went to Minnesota in June, where she observed peaceful water protectors being abused by the police departments that are paid by Enbridge.

Members of ULA (Unidad Latina en Acción) came, holding a banner featuring Berta Cáceres, an indigenous land defender in Honduras who was murdered for her courageous opposition to a dam project. The climate crisis and the migration crisis are linked, with many ULA members fleeing their homes in Central America due to the ravages of stronger hurricanes and devastating drought.

After the rally, participants carried banners down the block to stand in front of Chase Bank, chanting, “Hey, JP Morgan Chase: bad investment, big disgrace!” and, “If you want it drier, hotter, fund Line 3: wipe out more water!” The company is taking five billion gallons of water for construction in the middle of a drought. Participants passed out flyers asking New Haveners to contact CEO Jamie Dimon.

To get involved, contact Melinda Tuhus at melinda.tuhus@gmail.com or go to the website www.CTClimateCrisisMobilization.org or Facebook page CTClimateCrisis Mobilization.

[A version of this article with the above (donated) photo was published in the New Haven Independent Aug. 15. https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/climate_rally]

News from the Green Party of Connecticut

Ronna Stuller, secretary, Green Party of CT

As a unity of local chapters throughout the state, the Green Party of Connecticut is committed to the Four Pillars of all Green Parties worldwide: grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. In order to empower the political voice of the people – not corporate interests or their lobbyists – Green Party candidates accept contributions only from individuals, not from PACs. This year’s election we are running over a dozen candidates in municipal elections all across Connecticut.

Justin Paglino MD, Ph.D., of Guilford, was our 2020 nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the third Congressional District. He has continued, on the local and national front, to advocate for a nonprofit healthcare system that serves everyone, as well as reforms that would strengthen our democracy, repair our environment, and invest in a peaceful future.

We invite readers to learn more about our organization at www.ctgreenparty.org or www.facebook.com/GreenPartyofConnecticut.  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

I am running again for the U.S. House of Representatives, for the seat currently held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and I anticipate that my name will be on the ballot in November 2022. I intend to once again seek the nomination of the Green Party of Connecticut.

The factors that spurred my initial decision to run for this office are unchanged. Our national healthcare system still makes healthcare unaffordable for vast swaths of Americans. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support single-payer Medicare for All, the reform that would save $500 billion dollars and 70,000 lives each year. Recently New Haven passed a resolution declaring its support for Medicare for All, yet our representative in Congress is still not a cosponsor.

Our national energy policy is still completely inadequate to address the severe threat of climate change. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support the carbon tax and dividend policy we need to finally put a real limiting force on our untamed carbon emissions, while making the transition to sustainable energy affordable for all. Our nation still grotesquely over-spends on the military budget, and the City of New Haven recently passed a resolution declaring this to be the case. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, who voted against a 10% cut to the Pentagon budget, I support a 50% budget cut, with just transition programs in place to keep defense industry employees employed. We are in more need of windmill blades at this time than helicopter blades, but the skill sets to make these do overlap significantly.

Our nation’s runaway economic inequality continues to hurt. Although I give credit to Rep. DeLauro for fighting for the child tax credit, I would go further and call for a Federal Jobs guarantee and Universal Basic Income, as more progressive members of Congress have already done and Rep. DeLauro has not.

Our nation’s politics are deeply corrupted by corporate interests. Unlike Rep. DeLauro I accept no special interest money, only funding from individuals. Our two-party system discourages voters from voting their values, but I encourage voters to do exactly that, because if you don’t vote for something, you’ll never get it. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support Ranked Choice Voting, a reform that eliminates the spoiler effect and thus will allow multiparty democracy to flourish.

Please visit my website at justin4all.org to sign up for my newsletter, or to contribute to this campaign for healthcare, climate, peace, economic justice, and uncorrupted multi-party democracy.

Thank you.

Seed Exchange, Sunflowers Sprout from Wilson Library

by Lucy Gellman, Arts Paper, May 20, 2021

Mark Relaford sifted through packets of seeds, studying each label. In one drawer, images of blooming collards shimmered beside bright green peppers and vines heavy with squash. Envelopes for zinnias and deep-veined lettuce sat atop each other. There were large orange carrots and small green peas, striped cucumbers and frizzy heads of fennel. He selected seeds for tomatoes, basil, cucumbers and corn. Just a few feet away, a fleet of baby sunflower plants peeked out hopefully.

Relaford is starting a garden thanks to the seed exchange at the Wilson Library, located just off Howard Avenue in the city’s Hill neighborhood. This spring and summer, the library is piloting the program in an effort to bring awareness to the neighborhood’s network of community gardens and help Hill residents grow their own food. While the initiative is housed at the library, it has gained support from Gather New Haven, which operates farms on Liberty and Ward Streets, and Common Ground High School.

It is the brainchild of Wilson librarian Bill Armstrong, who served as the literacy librarian at the main branch downtown for 24 years before coming to Wilson in 2020. He is also launching a program to cover the neighborhood with sunflowers by the end of the summer.

“It looks like an agricultural project, but it’s actually an art project,” he said. “We wanted to do something that would get the community involved. It’s there to draw attention to the neighborhood, and to urban agriculture … it’s another form of literacy.”

Armstrong was inspired to start the seed exchange after hearing about other libraries piloting it around the country (among them is the Hamden Public Library). He has dubbed it a seed exchange—rather than a seed library—because home and community gardeners are also invited to donate their extra seeds before they expire. Since it started earlier this spring, patrons have picked up seeds for basil, tomatoes, cilantro, peas, green beans, lemon balm, chives, asters, scallions, squash, radishes, and kale among other plants and flowers.

It’s also intended to double as an exchange for information. In addition to the seeds, packets of which are housed in an old card catalog, there are books on gardening in English and Spanish. Flyers list the neighborhood’s community gardens by street and announce the sunflower project. Small planter kits in fiber cups sit nearby. For patrons who aren’t yet ready to grow their own vegetables, the library has assembled take-and-make kits with a brilliant sunflower design.

[Wilson Library is at 303 Washington Ave. and is open Monday-Thursday and Saturday. For hours call (203) 946-2228 or check https://nhfpl.org/branches/wilson-library. Above are excerpts from the article which can be found at https://www.newhavenarts.org/arts-paper/articles/seed-exchange-sunflowers-sprout-from-wilson-library]

10,000 Hawks launches to address quality of life issues

by Rachel Heerema

The name 10,000 Hawks honors the numbers of raptors in the annual hawk migration that takes place over Tweed airspace & our East Haven, East Shore, and Fair Haven neighborhoods. 10,000 Hawks addresses quality of life issues, including air quality, noise pollution, traffic calming, walkability, habitat, long-term thinking, and planning for our neighborhood, children, and grandchildren.

The immediate threat is the proposed expansion of Tweed-New Haven Airport with additional runway paving and siting a new terminal in East Haven wetlands. These environmental degradations will have generational impacts.

Our first action is to call for a public meeting to learn the details of this profit-making giveaway of our public lands. Sign the petition and get involved: https://www.change.org/10000-Hawks-deal.

Contact Rachel Heerema for more information, 203-747-8606, rachel@greenrachel.com.

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.

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