Connecticut Green Energy News

Number 288, Sept. 16, 2022

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, email [email protected].

Connecticut wins $52 million in federal backing for electric vehicle build-out along state’s highways
Hartford Courant: ​Connecticut has won federal approval, and $52 million over five years, to build out electric vehicle chargers across the state.​ ​Funding is part of $900 million authorized by the sprawling federal Infrastructure Law signed last year by President Joe Biden to install 500,000 chargers at regular intervals across 53,000 miles of U.S. highways. In Connecticut, 10 locations are planned for at least four public fast chargers with a minimum power level of 150 kilowatts per port along the interstate system.​ The state Department of Transportation expects…to partner with the private sector that owns or operates electric vehicle charging network sites.

Why electricity prices are rising unevenly across New England
Connecticut Public: You may have noticed that your most recent electric bill is higher than usual — and if that change hasn’t happened yet, it’s probably coming this fall. These price spikes are occurring across New England, but bills are rising more in some places than others. Some ratepayers in New Hampshire saw the price of electricity double this summer, resulting in bills up to $70 higher, while many in Massachusetts are only paying an extra $11 per month. If it seems unfair, blame the energy markets. And if it’s confusing because everyone in New England shares an electricity grid, well, read on…The primary reason for the spike is our reliance on fossil fuels. Specifically, natural gas…This year’s price fluctuations have exposed the volatility of fossil fuels, but many experts say things could be different in the future as we “electrify everything” and source more of our power from renewables.

Boston moves to ban fossil fuels in new construction
GBH: The Boston City Council Wednesday voted to sign up for the state’s new pilot program banning fossil fuels from most new construction except labs and hospitals.​ ​The move is the first step in a process that could ultimately make New England’s largest city part of an innovative experiment — that is controversial in some quarters — designed to help mitigate climate change.

Petition to Lamont to Stop Using Gas-Powered Equipment on State Land

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Gas-powered equipment gives off exhausts dangerous to the workers who use the tools daily and anyone in the immediate area. The two-cycled engines are the worst. A large part of their fuel is not even burned. Instead, it gets aerosolized. The stink is unpleasant but more important are the toxic chemicals that are released along with microscopic particles. Tiny particles can go deep into the lung and can cause lung cancer, heart disease, strokes, asthma, and other respiratory ailments.

The noise from gas-powered machines ranges from irritating to hazardous. Some lawn mowers and leaf-blowers give off sound comparable to that of a nearby jackhammer or motorcycle. Even when it’s not causing direct harm the noise can bother babies and others who sleep during daylight hours, those who study and the increasing number of people who work from their homes. Quiet and fresh air shouldn’t be considered luxuries!

There’s also the amount of global warming gases given off by the equipment. In CT 40 million gallons of gas are burned just for lawn care! We at PEP started a petition asking the governor to take the lead by stopping the use of gas-powered equipment on land the state owns directly. Use electric power or rewild. See the petition at:

Too Much Pavement at Tweed = Flooding, Pollution, Wildlife Disruption

by Kathy Czepiel, Communications Specialist, Save the Sound

The proposed Tweed-New Haven Airport expansion must undergo a thorough environmental review process, Save the Sound’s legal team asserted in an April 18 letter to the New England Region office of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

While the airport authority has stated its intention to do an Environmental Assessment (EA), we urged the FAA to demand a more rigorous Environmental Impact Statement, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

Floodplain and resilience problems related to stormwater flooding and sea-level rise at this vulnerable location are a major concern, especially because the airport’s EA fails to include the impacts of a taxiway expansion that will inevitably be built. Increasing the airport’s footprint could also significantly affect inland and tidal wetlands, local and migratory wildlife habitat and water quality.

An annual community meeting with local officials and the airport authority is scheduled for June 9 at 6 p.m. at the Nathan Hale School cafeteria, 480 Townsend Ave., New Haven.

Come and ask your questions about the proposed expansion and its impact on the environment and human health.

Save the Sound, 900 Chapel St., Suite 2202
New Haven, CT 06510.
phone: 203-787-0646

For more information on Tweed efforts, visit

West River Watershed News

Explore the West River and its tributaries. Sign up with WRWC to do “Streamwalks” (beginning in June) to gather data on our watershed. (We initially did this in 2015 and it’s time to update.) This is a really FUN and EYE OPENING experience! Training provided. Invite your friends! Contact Linda Green [email protected].

Look for alewives in the West River. If/when you see them, please send Shauntasia the details: [email protected]. (No one has recorded any so far this year after last year’s bumper crop.)

3-month free UNH program to train citizen scientists. 17 of 20 slots still available. Program begins June 22. $$ available for laptops and internet access.. Transferable college credit. Targeting young (and not so young) residents of West Haven and New Haven. An amazing opportunity. Spread the word.

Volunteer for bacteria testing of New Haven’s three rivers. One-half day (Saturday) per month during the summer. Training provided. For more information and/or to volunteer, contact Mary. [email protected].

CT Green Energy News, No. 269, May 6, 2022

[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).]

On climate change, a political shift in Connecticut
CT Mirror. “With the final passage Friday of a “Connecticut Clean Air Act,” the House put a bow on a productive session for addressing climate change and clean energy, a comeback for environmentalists after…last year’s defeat of the Transportation and Climate Initiative…The defeat pushed activists to be better organized and more aggressive, fueled a desire among lawmakers to deliver an overdue victory on climate change and imparted hard lessons about messaging, not the least of which was the necessity of making greenhouse gas emissions relevant to a broader audience…This year, Democrats were not spooked by the near-unanimous Republican opposition to Senate Bill 4, the clean air act…Three other environment bills passed with bipartisan support this week…’This has been a banner week for climate policy in Connecticut’, Brown said.”

Lawmakers Approve 2040 Target for Zero-Carbon Emissions
CT Examiner. “Connecticut lawmakers approved legislation codifying as law Gov. Ned Lamont’s goals for a zero-carbon emissions from Connecticut’s electric supply by 2040, in addition to expanding two programs aimed at incentivizing large solar projects…Asked what the point of the goal is if a “zero-emission” electric grid doesn’t mean there are zero emissions generated by power plants in Connecticut, Arconti said it sends a signal to the regional market that the state is serious about its commitment to renewable energy, and that the grid operator needs to change its market rules that renewable advocates say block them out…Lawmakers also agreed to double the caps on two solar incentive programs – the Non-residential Energy Solutions program that allows businesses to seek incentives for solar projects; and the Shared Clean Energy Facilities program that allows customers to subscribe to a “shared” clean energy project larger than what they could build alone.”

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


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


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 [email protected]. Our website is

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]

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 or call 203-444-3578.

1 2 3 4 16