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. Sierra Club joined other organizations in these comments to DEEP about the use of hydrogen in Connecticut, submitted on April 15 and followed up with reports on the high costs and limited potential of hydrogen and so-called renewable fuels, including "Assessing the Viability of Hydrogen Proposals: Considerations for State Utility Regulators and Policymakers” on May 4, “Low-Carbon Fuels Have a Limited Role to Play in New York’s Buildings” on June 11, and "Hydrogen Pipe Dreams: Why Burning Hydrogen in Buildings is Bad for Climate and Health" on June 22.
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.
Updating Connecticut’s Energy Efficiency program to end rebates for fossil fuel equipment and appliances. Sierra Club is calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies, an increase in heat pump incentives and prioritizing equity in the energy efficiency plan. On June 1, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) released a final plan that makes changes that were requested by Sierra Club and our members, notably:
A phase-out of all residential natural gas equipment incentives during the plan’s three year term
Transitioning the residential new construction program to an all-electric offering by July 2023
Update to the cost-effectiveness test to include all fuel savings and the avoided greenhouse gas emissions from the electric sector
Development of a comprehensive plan to address barriers to heat pump adoption
A reexamination of the definition of “equitable distribution,” acknowledging that the current program falls far short of equity and that more funding is needed to serve low-income residents who face high energy burdens and significant barriers to receiving weatherization and energy retrofit services
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 June 17, the DC District Court decided with Sierra Club and others when it struck down the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of a plan to pay power plant owners in New England an incentive to have three-days worth of on-site fuel during two upcoming winters.
Air quality monitoring/citizen science: On June 15, Sierra Club submitted these comments on the DEEP 2022 Annual Air Monitoring Network Plan calling for more comprehensive monitoring of, reporting on, and solutions to Connecticut’s poor air quality. Sierra Club members are engaging in citizen air quality monitoring. 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.
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.
Big news! The MIRA trash incinerator in Hartford is closing this 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.
On July 6, Sierra Club Connecticut held the first of a series of webinars on Zero Waste Solutions, focusing on local actions being taken in towns across CT, and false solutions like so-called chemical recycling.
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 June 15, Sierra Club joined other organizations in comments supporting a low-income discount rate of electricity, and submitted member support comments from our online petition. The West Hartford team is working to promote Heat Smart, West Hartford’s effort to increase energy efficiency and the adoption of heat pumps, find out more here.
Sierra Club is working with allies to advocate for policies that promote car-free transportation, electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging, fleet transition, and more. 24 Connecticut school districts are priority districts for EPA’s Clean School Bus program; priority school districts qualify for 100% of the funding to replace up to 25 diesel buses and charging infrastructure. Applications are due August 19. On June 1, Sierra Club filed these comments to PURA on medium and heavy duty vehicle charging. On June 29, Sierra Club Connecticut testified before the EPA in support of California’s clean truck rules.
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.
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. On June 22, Sierra Club co-hosted a webinar “Black Bear Killing in Newtown: A Teaching Moment for CT.”
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 June 22, CCAG, Sierra Club and others from the Insure Our Future Campaign held a rally outside the Travelers Championship to call for Travelers to stop investing in and underwriting fossil fuels, and to commit to no longer provide support for companies proposing to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Send a message to Travelers here.
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.