100% Renewable Energy for 100% of the People Rally Nov. 21

Governor Malloy’s heedless budget cuts to struggling community hospitals were reversed, but hundreds of millions of dollars are still being cut from the state budget, and some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents will be effected. Meanwhile, the state energy policy promotes the expansion of shale, or “natural” gas pipeline and other infrastructure like gas power plants, all across the state, and subsidizes this expansion with money from electricity customers, in yet another example of plunder of the public trust.

Map of NED pipeline expansion project — credit Kinder Morgan.

Map of NED pipeline expansion project — credit Kinder Morgan.

At a recent conference in West Hartford on climate change, energy expert and consultant Joel Gordes pointed out that energy predictions made by Independent System Operators-New England (ISO-NE), administrator of the electrical grid, are flawed. “The amount of power actually needed was much less than ISO-NE predicted,” according to Mr. Gordes, who cites the research of Bill Dornbos of the Acadia Center on resource procurement. “We should be moving toward a more decentralized system, with smaller plants built closer to point of use, and shorter transmission lines. This would increase the safety, security and resilience of the grid, but the electric distribution companies are holding on to the old business model.”

Spectra’s project Atlantic Bridge-credit Spectra Energy

Spectra’s project Atlantic Bridge-credit Spectra Energy

The expansion of shale gas pipeline is not in response to a spike in energy needs, but is due to the desire of the gas industry to reach new markets. “Fracking caused a glut of natural gas, or methane, on the market, and a decline in the price of gas. The interstate pipeline expansions being built right now across Connecticut are transport and export pipelines, just like the Keystone XL would have been,” says Sierra Club Connecticut Chapter Communications Chair Martha Klein. “Energy costs will rise as a result of gas export and the eventual decline in fuel stores. Clean energy creates more long term, well paying jobs than does investment in fossil fuels. Homemade renewable energy is a great investment in people and the economy, and avoids fuel cost increase due to scarcity, and the worsening harm of climate disruption.”

According to Dr. Gary Bent, a leader of Eastern Connecticut Green Action, “the danger from methane is global warming. Scientists warn that to prevent the worst effects of climate change, we must keep the temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. If we continue to develop methane infrastructure, we won’t be able to stay below the 2 degrees Celsius increase.”

The state is trying to convert hundreds of thousands of new customers to gas for home or business use. These conversions are subsidized via the Green Bank which funnels ratepayer “fees” to Eversource’s “EnergizeCT” program. Public money channeled to a for-profit corporation to fabricate a need for shale gas shows the public being gouged for the benefit of wealthy corporations, and is just bad business. “The reason the state is forcing ratepayers to subsidize the conversion of other customers to gas and away from oil is because there is no economic incentive for people to make that change,” says Chris Herb, President of Connecticut Energy Marketers, a bioheat marketing association.

Nationally, 15% of electricity is powered by renewable sources; Connecticut lags way behind at 3%, and only 1% is produced in the state. We have a choice: we can be a leader in creating new jobs, using renewable technologies, stabilizing the climate and lowering energy prices, or we can continue the status quo of using and expanding gas pipelines and other dirty energy projects that keep us dependent on fossil fuels, exacerbate climate change, damage our air quality, and make our residents less safe.

Join the Sierra Club, 350CT, Hartford Action, Activate CT, People’s Action for Clean Energy, Food and Water Watch, and many other faith, justice and environmental organizations on Saturday, Nov. 21, at noon, at the State Capitol to challenge the Governor’s energy policy and rally for 100% Renewable Energy for 100% of the People.

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Connecticut has a choice. We can be a leader in renewable energy technology, creating new jobs, lowering energy prices and stabilizing our climate, OR we can continue the status quo of using and expanding gas pipelines and other dirty energy projects that keep us dependent on fossil fuels, damage our air quality, exacerbate climate change and make our residents less safe.

Join us on Nov. 21, at noon, at the State Capitol on 210 Capitol Avenue in Hartford to tell Governor Malloy that we demand clean, renewable energy controlled by the community, and challenge his support for more fracked gas pipelines through our state.

Communities around the country are already moving to 100% renewable power. Currently, the city of Burlington VT is powered almost entirely by renewable power or renewable energy credits. The city gets only 0.01% and 0.06% of its electricity from gas and oil respectively. The rest is supplied by wood, hydro, wind and solar. Studies by Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, available at TheSolutionsProject.org, illustrate how every state in the USA can transition to 100% renewable energy with current technology. These technologies not only can reduce pollution and danger but will create secure jobs, more than 60,000 in construction and operation in Connecticut alone.

Transitioning to renewable energy not only benefits Connecticut but is the single greatest factor in combatting climate change, which has wreaked havoc on our state, country and the world. The global initiative Economics of Land Degradation estimates that in the next 10 years, desertification caused by climate change will create 50 million new refugees. Drought and desertification will cause a loss of arable land, decline in global food production and increase in food prices, will threaten water quality and availability, and is already causing the loss of tens of thousands of species of plants and animals per year. Locally, we have experienced a billion dollars in damages in Connecticut from three major storms; May 2015 was a record breaking hot and dry month in many towns in our state; reptiles and amphibians are disappearing; the maple sugaring season is approximately half its historic length. Slowing climate change is an environmental, economic, and ethical necessity. We must leave all fossil fuels in the ground if we are to avoid the most catastrophic results of climate disruption, and transition rapidly to 100% renewable sources of energy.

Connecticut needs an immediate plan to transition to renewable energy, and all shale gas expansion projects must be halted. We call on our legislators to implement the following initiatives:

Repeal of financial and political support for all fossil fuels, including fracked gas infrastructure;

A comprehensive federal and state plan for a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy with guaranteed green jobs for fossil fuel workers and a focus on career opportunities for low-income communities;

An end to environmentally racist policies that put the burden of pollution on disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Please join with us in Hartford on Nov. 21 to tell our governor: Stop ratepayer subsidized fracked gas infrastructure expansions, retire the coal and nuclear plants, ramp up efficiencies, and develop clean and carbon free energy sources now! Additionally we demand a Saturday meeting of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change so working people can participate. We will gather to tell Gov. Dannel Malloy : “Hey Governor Malloy- Your energy policy is fracked!”

Endorsed by the following organizations:

350 CT, Sierra Club Connecticut Chapter, Food and Water Watch, Connecticut Against Fracking, Hartford Action, Activate CT, People’s Action For Clean Energy, Inc., Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, CCSU Global Environmental Sustainability Action Coalition, Clean Water Action, The Town of Windham Energy Commission, Social Action Committee of Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society of Madison CT, Occupy Danbury, Greater Danbury MoveOn. org Council, The Committee for a Cultural/Environmental Center-Gunntown Road/Naugatuck, Eastern Connecticut Green Action, Green Party of Connecticut, Toxics Action Center, Grassroots Environmental Education, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE), Fighting Against Natural Gas (FANG), Fossil Free Rhode Island, Occupy Providence, Grassroots Against Another Salem Power Plant (GASPP), West Roxbury Quarry Neighbors For A Fossil Fuel Free Future, HealthLink, and Beyond Extreme Energy.

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