Beyond Gas, Clean Energy & Climate
To address climate change Sierra Club Connecticut opposes gas expansion and advocates for deployment of clean energy. Here are some of the areas we are taking action to reduce the use of fossil fuels and accelerate an equitable transition to clean energy:
Sierra Club is organizing to replace the CDECCA power plant in Hartford with clean energy. See more here, and read more below in the update from the Hartford Ready for 100 campaign.
DEEP is in the process of updating the Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES), a guide for future energy decisions. Sierra Club is urging DEEP to draft a CES that stops expanding the use of fracked gas and starts decreasing all polluting fossil fuels, electrifies everything, prioritizes equity, and does not recommend false solutions. On October 7, Sierra Club joined allies in submitting comments on technical session 2 and technical session 3. Meetings are ongoing, including one on November 4 about “alternative fuels” aka fossil fuels like biodiesel, so-called renewable gas, and other false solutions to decarbonizing buildings in our state. Sierra Club will present at this meeting and is asking our members to make public comments to support electrification NOT fossil fuels to decarbonize buildings in Connecticut. Read more here.
Sierra Club Connecticut is participating in the Connecticut Hydrogen Task Force, and is advocating a limited role in the use of hydrogen in Connecticut. Resources to learn more about the environmental consideration of the production and use of hydrogen include: Sierra Club webpage, Sierra Club factsheet, Sierra Club (and others) joint comments to DEEP on Hydrogen, recent reports on hydrogen. On September 8, Sierra Club and others submitted these comments on a definition of clean hydrogen. The next meeting of the Hydrogen Task Force is November 8, see more details here.
Ending Gas Expansion: Sierra Club CT is joining with local allies in Wilton to oppose Eversource’s proposed gas pipeline expansion project. On October 14 we held a march in opposition to the Wilton pipeline expansion, and on October 20, we hosted an educational forum “Methane, Climate Change and YOU” at the Cannon Grange in Wilton with speakers from the community.
Air quality monitoring/citizen science: Sierra Club members are engaging in citizen air quality monitoring to better understand the local impacts of pollution and find solutions to Connecticut’s poor air quality. The team is comparing personal monitoring devices to official state and EPA monitors. If you want to monitor your air, or have mad data crunching skills, we are looking for you! Contact Martha.
Sierra Club Connecticut is working with allies led by CT Coalition for Environmental Justice to oppose trash incineration and to implement Zero Waste policies. As part of the coalition, we are working with residents in Bristol to fight the proposal to burn medical waste in their Covanta trash incinerator. Bristol Residents for Clean Air are proposing a strong clean air ordinance for the City of Bristol. On October 22, CCEEJ hosted a funeral for the closed MIRA incinerator to celebrate the end of polluting emissions from burning trash in Hartford.
Ready for 100
Local campaigns for 100% clean and renewable energy: Teams in four Connecticut towns (Hartford, Milford, West Hartford and Windsor) are actively working to transition their communities to 100% clean and renewable energy.
Hartford - Hartford campaign organizer Alycia Jenkins has been focusing on the issue of energy burden. Following on Sierra Club's work with Trinity College Action Lab to study energy burden in Hartford, we began education and advocacy in support of the establishment of low-income discount rate for electricity. On October 19, CT's Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) finalized the establishment of a low-income discount rate for electricity. The two-tiered discount rate will offer a 10 percent discount on the monthly electric bills of households earning less than 60 percent of the state median income [$76,465 for a family of four], and a 50 percent discount for households earning up to 160 percent of the federal poverty guideline [$44,400 for a family of four]. Operation Fuel and the Center for Children's Advocacy have been leading the advocacy at PURA, major kudos to them both. While the new rates will not be available until early 2024, this is an important step to relieve low-income residents from high rates of energy burden.
Also in Hartford, Sierra Club is working with community and statewide partners to replace Hartford's CDECCA power plant with a renewable alternative. Learn more and add your name urging Gov. Lamont to commit to a 100% renewable replacement for CDECCA. In October, the Hartford Courant published an article about the state’s acquisition of CDECCA and an op-ed by Dr. Mark Mitchell calling for a renewable replacement to address the environmental injustice of pollution in Hartford.
West Hartford - Christine Feely is leading the West Hartford team to urge the Town Council to adopt a resolution on electric lawn care. Petition here.
Windsor - The Windsor Climate Action Team Sustainability Fair was postponed until the spring.
Sierra Club is working with allies to advocate for policies that promote car-free transportation, electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging, fleet transition, and more.
Land & Water
Remington Woods: Sierra Club Connecticut’s Save Remington Woods campaign aims to protect Remington Woods from development and to be preserved in its entirety. Remington Woods is a 422 acre forest in Bridgeport and Stratford. Sign the petition to Save Remington Woods here. On October 28, Sierra Club cohosted a town hall featuring Kaley Casenhiser and Walker Cammack, Yale graduate students who recently wrote a report about Remington Woods alongside Groundwork Bridgeport.
Wildlife: The Wildlife Committee is working to protect wildlife in our state through education and policy change. The committee produced this bear education flyer, and also designed these stickers to help raise awareness of how to coexist peacefully with bears. The Wildlife Committee is also working on raising awareness of the dangers of mowing hayfields on the local grassland bird population, including the Bobolink.
Insure Our Future
Insure Our Future: Sierra Club is partnering with CCAG and the Insure Our Future campaign to urge the Connecticut insurance industry to stop investing in and underwriting fossil fuels. On October 13, the CT Post published “Opinion: The time for insurers to reckon with climate change is now” co-authored by Sierra Club’s Samantha Dynowski and CCAG’s Tom Swan. On October 19, Insure Our Future’s 2022 scorecard was released. Its main conclusion is that insurance for new coal power plants has dried up but the insurance industry is falling far short of doing what is needed to meet international climate targets; insurers need to do more – and more quickly – to shift away from the oil and gas sector. The Hartford and Travelers are both ranked. On November 10, Sierra Club will join Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign partners for a rally in Hartford to deliver the thousands of petitions we've collected to their CEO, Alan Schnitzer, calling on them not to underwrite oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.
The Chapter’s Legislative Committee was active on numerous bills during the 2022 session of the Connecticut General Assembly. The session ended on May 4, with many successes, and some disappointments. See our wrap up article in the May Q for more details. Contact Art for more information.