Update with information from Claire B. W. Miller, Senior Community Organizer, Toxics Action Center
BRIDGEPORT — The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on Thursday issued a draft permit for the Bridgeport Harbor Station power plant that has been the target of recent protests by environmental groups.
The DEEP action triggers a 45-day review process by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DEEP is authorized to issue a final permit at the end of the review period if there are no objections from EPA.
“While we are disappointed,” said local leader Diana Black of the Healthy Connecticut Alliance, “we are not surprised at all. HCA continues to focus on our mission – knowing the out-dated coal plant is on its way out. The Alliance formed so that a collaborative effort with the community, the Union, the Mayor’s office, the Governor, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and PSEG could ensure a smooth retirement that meets all of our needs.”
“I just want what’s best for Bridgeport,” said Betty NAME who lives in Bridgeport, “So many kids have asthma it’s not right. If the coal plant is closing soon that will help, even if its not everything- and maybe even educate some folks about our air too. We all recognize that smokestack.”
The Title V permit has to be renewed every five years; the most recent permit expired Feb. 2, 2012. In January, DEEP issued a tentative determination to approve the permit application.
“This will be their last permit,” said local mom of two asthmatic kids Tiffany Mellers and member of the Alliance, “they’re not making any money burning coal. I bet they don’t even use the 5 years on this permit. It’s up to all of us who will be here after the coal plant is gone to cooperate and figure out the next steps for a smooth retirement plan.”
In operation since 1961, Bridgeport Harbor Station is best known for its red and white striped smokestack. These days company officials say it’s idle much more often than not.
“I don’t want to have to look at my daughter and pray that she doesn’t have an asthma attack while she is outside. Outside is supposed to be fresh air. Inside the house is my responsibility. Outside she should be able to get a breath of fresh air and the coal plant is part of that. I know that PSEG is doing good things in New Jersey. Why can’t they do what they are doing in New Jersey here?” said Mellers. Also a member of the Army Reserve she added, “Part of my duty as a military person is to protect and serve. How can I protect and serve against air pollution. It’s something I can’t see.”
“As the Chairperson of the South End NRZ, in the community where the PSEG plant is located, I can say that we are prepared to engage all interested parties in developing an action plan for the changes that are sure to come with the facility. We fully support an open dialogue where Residents, Stakeholders, Public and Private sector interests can determine a mutually beneficial path for the future of the site.” said Pastor McCluster and Chair of South End NRZ, “Our interests are the same, our goals are common; a safe, healthy and vibrant community where all can live and work in receipt of the protection and blessings of being citizens of a wonderful city and a great country. I urge all parties concened and involved to come to a common level field of dialogue regarding the future of the plant.”
The Healthy Connecticut Alliance is a Bridgeport based community group working for public health and good development. The Alliance believes that Bridgeport families deserve a healthy place to live, work, play, go to school, go to church, and have a good job.
NEW HAVEN, CT – Connecticut Fund for the Environment has released a statement after the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection issued a proposed permit renewal for the Bridgeport Harbor Station coal plant.
DEEP’s decision to renew Bridgeport Harbor Station’s permit, while disappointing, is no surprise,” said Charles Rothenberger, the attorney representing CFE in the coal plant proceedings. “However, the process isn’t over yet—EPA still needs to sign off on the permit. We will continue to work with local residents to advocate for their concerns about the impact of this plant on their health, and to reiterate the message that dirty coal has no place in Connecticut’s clean energy future. We hope to work with the City to find a more sustainable use for this property in the long term, creating green jobs to revitalize the Bridgeport community and cleaner air for Connecticut.”
Visit the DEEP website for a good summary of the process and steps that are now in the news (like the proposed permit to EPA) as well as links to key documents.
The DEP points out that Title V permit is not really about whether there should be a coal plant but that it is an administrative permit to consolidate all state and federal Clean Air Act requirements into single document for compliance purposes.