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:
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. DEEP will hold a series of technical meetings beginning on September 1 and invites written comments on each of the topics.
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:
Recording of March 3, 2022 Sierra Club CT webinar “Hydrogen: Future of Clean Energy or a False Solution?” (password: KTr!Uj1*)
Sierra Club (and others) joint comments to DEEP on Hydrogen
Recent reports on hydrogen
The next meeting on the Hydrogen Task Force is September 13, see more details here.
Ending Connecticut’s Gas Expansion Plan: Sierra Club is advocating for an end to the ratepayer funded gas expansion plan to lay new gas pipelines and convert customers to fracked gas in PURA docket 21-08-24. On April 27, PURA issued a final decision; on June 3, PURA denied the gas companies’ motion for reconsideration. On July 19, Connecticut’s Attorney General William Tong announced a settlement with Eversource for $1.8 million saying “Eversource misled homeowners to get them to switch to natural gas. These high-pressure tactics are unacceptable coming from any business, much less a regulated utility. Eversource has already paid a $1.8 million civil penalty imposed by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), and now they will pay an additional $1.8 million to settle these serious consumer protection allegations.”
Sierra Club is calling on ISO-NE to end the Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) that is preventing Connecticut from meeting its mandated emission reduction targets by keeping clean and renewable energy from entering the market, and allowing the most polluting, dirty generation facilities to continue operating. On September 8, the Federal Energy Regulatory Authority will hold a forum in Vermont on New England’s over-reliance on gas; more from Sierra Club VT here.
Air quality monitoring/citizen science: Sierra Club members are engaging in citizen air quality monitoring to help improve the monitoring of, reporting on, and solutions to Connecticut’s poor air quality. Projects like this area happening around the state and across the nation; EDF recently reported on a new online tool being used in Houston, Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh that combines air pollution and weather forecasting data to help users learn more about the air they’re breathing and allow them to see where it’s coming from. 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. The MIRA trash incinerator in Hartford closed in July. More than half its towns opted out of their contracts and continuing was no longer possible. Now we must focus on Zero Waste policies that will reduce the waste stream and keep it from being trucked to landfills out-of-state. Watch your email for the next Sierra Club Connecticut webinar on Zero Waste Solutions coming soon.
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. The Hartford team is working to make energy more affordable and renewable for low-income residents; show your support here! On August 30, the Hartford team organized an online presentation about energy burden and the process to establish a Low Income Discount rate in Connecticut. The West Hartford team is hosting an Electric Showcase on September 25; October 1 is the Windsor Sustainability Fair.
Sierra Club is working with allies to advocate for policies that promote car-free transportation, electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging, fleet transition, and more. Sierra Club is a sponsor of National Drive Electric Week, a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. The event takes place September 23 to October 2, and here in Connecticut many of these events are organized by Sierra Club volunteers and other allied organizations. See the full list of events here.
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. Jhoni is scheduled to tour the Woods on August 30th with USFWSand will cohost a Town Hall meeting in September 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.
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 September 7, CCAG, Sierra Club and Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign will hold a conversation on How Connecticut can Help Protect 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.