GROUPS REACH DEAL ON NEW HAVEN POWER PLANT
(11/19/2009) New Haven – Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the City of New Haven, New Haven Environmental Justice Network, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice and others reached an agreement with PSEG, operators of two power plants in Connecticut, on plans to build a new peaking plant on the New Haven Harbor Station site that is expected to result in a net reduction in air pollution.
“This is a victory for the East Shore neighborhood and the state,” said Roger Reynolds, senior attorney for Connecticut Fund for the Environment. “This deal will result in an air quality improvement for a community consistently overburdened by pollution while still ensuring sufficient power to the grid. The reality is that we must use cleaner fuels and renewable sources in order to see a reduction in toxic emissions, but if we continue to chip away at the sources of pollution, the overall effect will be beneficial to the residents of the state and the environment.”
PSEG’s plan to build a peaking plant on the site was met with resistance from Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the City of New Haven, New Haven Environmental Justice Network, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice and the community as any new plant would introduce more pollution into an area already disproportionately overburdened by toxic emissions. The PSEG plant, however, is relatively clean when compared to similar sites, as it relies on the use of natural gas as opposed to diesel fuel.
The East Shore neighborhood adjoins the busy New Haven port, I-95, the state’s most congested highway, and New Haven Harbor, a dirty diesel-burning power plant. Air quality readings in the East Shore neighborhood show extremely high levels of air pollution.New Haven County is designated a “non-attainment” area by the EPA, indicating too many exceedances of particulate standards.
The final agreement, reached after three months of negotiation, will supply the state grid with sufficient power while creating a net reduction in air pollution. Terms of the agreement include the existing, older diesel-powered New Haven Harbor Station using more natural gas instead of diesel to produce power, reducing plant idling time from 14 hours to 12 hours, and contributing $500,000 to the new East Shore Air Quality Account – a fund to be used to further reduce pollution in the area through initiatives such as retrofitting garbage trucks with particulate filters. These reductions will more than offset emissions from the new peaking plants that are being built.
“The City, together with our partners in the environmental community and the neighborhood, is pleased to reach an enforceable deal with PSEG that will result in cleaner air for the residents of the East Shore,” Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. said. “It seems counter-intuitive that the construction of three new power turbines will result in cleaner air, but the provisions in this agreement will do just that. The City made very clear from the outset that no net new emissions were acceptable, either annually or on an hourly basis, and I thank PSEG for taking that stance seriously and working with us to make it a reality. The New Haven environmental community and the City have shown yet again that we will stand together for the health of this city.”