Moving Connecticut Beyond Fracked Gas
Good News, Bad News Update 2022
In 2022, there were a number of successes in the fight against new fossil fuel infrastructure and for energy justice. Unfortunately, for every environmental win, there are nearly as many new fracked gas construction proposals that we must fight.
In the past year, the proposed NTE Killingly Energy Center gas fired power plant was removed from competing in the forward capacity auction by ISO-NE, which was a significant, and possibly insurmountable, obstacle for NTE. At this time, we are regarding NTE’s loss as a climate gain. This success was spearheaded by our allies No More Dirty Power Killingly, NAACP Windham Willimantic Branch Environmental Justice Committee, Not Another Power Plant, 350 CT, C3M, and many other individuals and groups.
A similar, smaller proposal in Middletown to add fracked gas generation was removed from consideration subsequent to a strong wave of community outcry.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) in the last year has been using their authority to limit predatory advertising by investor owned utility Eversource, to terminate the ratepayer subsidized fracked gas System Expansion Program, and to approve a new, low income electricity rate. This low income rate is an important step in alleviating the dangerous and damaging energy burden borne by low income communities, predominantly communities of color. Polluting energy infrastructure is often sited in such environmental justice (EJ) localities, which causes increased morbidity and mortality in these populations, while wealthier, generally white communities enjoy energy produced elsewhere without any immediate health dangers.
On the climate-ruining scale of the equation, Eversource continues to take advantage of the ratepayer subsidized System Expansion Program (SEP) that PURA canceled, with a gas pipeline construction project in Wilton that appears to have been grandfathered into the now terminated SEP. Along with Norwalk River Watershed Association and local clean energy advocates, we are organizing a campaign to defeat this pipeline before it’s built, primarily by educating locals not to sign up for climate and health destroying methane.
The Berkshire Hathaway/TransCanada owned pipeline that carries tar sands gas into our state via their massive interstate pipeline, plans a project to increase fracked gas carrying capacity in the pipeline by expanding four compressor stations, in Brookfield and Milford Connecticut, and two others in New York. This pipeline carries methane to New York City which recently passed a ban on new gas hook-ups, which will go into effect at approximately the time that this gas expansion project is completed. This project has not been fully greenlighted yet, so we are watching Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) notices closely. Our intention is to see this project defeated.
Energy production is one of Connecticut’s major and most profitable industries. The majority of greenhouse gas emissions in our state and nation come from energy generation, and therefore if we’re serious about leaving a livable planet, we have to make changes in the energy sector immediately. Because the Environmental Protection Agency and DEEP measure greenhouse gas emissions by end use sector, a false appearance is created that transportation emissions outstrip the use of gas and oil to power and heat buildings. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When adding together the many sectors that utilize fossil fuels, such as residential, industrial, commercial, etc., it becomes readily apparent that global heating emissions are much worse from buildings than from transportation. The Connecticut Chapter is taking on this challenge, and welcomes your help.
Martha Klein is Lead Volunteer of Sierra Club Connecticut’s Beyond Gas Campaign.