A Note From Our Chapter Chair

Susan Eastwood

February 2022

Greetings and a belated Happy New Year!

 

Although the year is young, I’m seeing positive changes that make me optimistic about the trends in the months ahead. 

 

There are three exciting reasons to celebrate!

 

  1. Defeat of NTE’s dirty gas plant in Killingly

First, I must offer thanks to the thousands of you who helped fight the construction of a 650 MW fracked gas plant in Killingly. It took six years, but our mantra of “Delay, delay, delay!” paid off! 

  • Our friends at Not Another Power Plant fought NTE all the way up to the Connecticut Supreme Court.

  • Our region wide No More Dirty Power in Killingly group supported by NAACP Windham, Sierra Club Connecticut, and many others, fought doggedly – protesting at the Governor’s Mansion, and on the streets of Killingly, distributing thousands of flyers, speaking at Town Council meetings and birddogging Governor Lamont.

  • And, of course, Sierra Club and our allies who organized rallies, petitioned for Public Hearings, and flooded DEEP and the Governor with calls and letters.

 

These efforts have delayed NTE from meeting their commitment to provide the energy they promised to the grid by 2022, and may have discouraged investors. On January 3, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC accepted ISO-NE’s request to terminate NTE’s winning bid to build the Killingly Energy Center.

 

We did it!

 

NTE may try to fight this decision, but, with no substantial progress to show, it is highly unlikely that they will ever build this plant. We are allowing ourselves to celebrate this incredible victory! 

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Photo: After the good news, No More Dirty Power in Killingly members stood out in the snow at Killingly Commons to thank the people of Killingly.

2.  Governor Lamont’s Executive order 21-3 on Climate Change

In other encouraging news, on December 16, 2021, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 21-3 (EO 21-3), stepping up to the plate on climate change by ordering implementation of 23 actions recommended in the Phase 1 Report of the  Governor’s Council on  Climate Change (GC3). The GC3 met for years to develop a plan to address climate change in our state and finalized sixty-one recommendations in their report, but these have not yet been codified into law.

 

Frustrated with inaction by the Legislature to enact these policies, the Governor and the Department of Energy and Environment identified those recommendations where they have clear authority to act without legislation, and took the reins in EO 21-3. We hope this will nudge the legislature to take up those remaining recommendations where their authority is needed.

 

In his statement, the Governor said, “This executive order takes a whole-of-government approach, sending a message to our residents that climate change is something that affects all of us and we must work together to create the change we seek.”

 

With that approach, the Governor’s order impacts across all state agencies, calling for:

  • Assessment and adoption of CA standards for medium and heavy duty trucks emissions

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from Connecticut’s executive branch 

  • Funding resiliency projects 

  • Increased and additional appliance and product efficiency standards 

  • All electricity purchased by the state’s executive branch to be zero-carbon by 2030

  • Electrification of the State bus fleet by 2035

  • More energy efficient building codes and

  • The creation of an Office of Climate and Public Health to focus on climate change and health equity.

 

These are strong reasons to celebrate but we mustn’t lose our focus on the climate emergency. We may be nearing the tipping point for irreversible climate disaster. Yet these developments give me hope that we may have gained the political will needed to act to save us. 

Please step up and help make the changes we need to protect our environment and our people from the ongoing climate crisis.

3. A year to celebrate Sierra Club Connecticut – it’s past successes and its ongoing work

The third reason I see to celebrate is US! This year is the 50th anniversary of Sierra Club Connecticut becoming a Sierra Club chapter! Leading up to the June 1st anniversary and throughout the rest of the year, we will highlight our past accomplishments, and, together, we will continue our critical work.

 If you are a long time member, we want to talk with you! And I hope many of you will get involved with our 50 by 50 Clean Up Campaign. Please sign up to organize a clean up this spring and let us know about it! Our Chapter has grown and is now vital and involved in many important campaigns around the state. I look forward to a year of continued success, and to celebrating with you!

 

Let’s enjoy this moment, then regroup to work even harder in the months ahead, when we will see proposals before our state legislature and agencies that can make a dramatic difference to our futures. These include bills on renewable energy, zero waste*, wildlife preservation and more. See Ann Gadwah’s article in this issue for more on Sierra Club Connecticut's 2022 Legislative Priorities.

 

I am feeling proud and optimistic, and inspired to take the next steps in our advocacy for a better world.

 

Let’s make our 50th year one of positive energy and action!

 

Be well,

Susan

Susan Eastwood is Chapter Chair of Sierra Club Connecticut.