Healthy CT Alliance forum addresses redevelopment of coal plant site

Jan 31st, 2014 | By | Category: Featured Story

The Connecticut Fund for the Environment released a version of the following news release:

The Healthy CT Alliance hosted a forum and community conversation with local residents and regional experts at Bridgeport’s North End public library Jan. 30, 2014, to discuss the future of the Harbor Station power plant and the surrounding neighborhood.

The previous week, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis issued a report titled: “When, Not If: Bridgeport’s Future and the Closing of PSEG’s Coal Plant,” that concluded concluding that Harbor Station Unit 3, the last coal-fired power plant in Connecticut, was rapidly becoming unprofitable and recommending that the City of Bridgeport plan for the closure of the plant within the decade.

The Healthy CT Alliance, made up of local residents and advisory organizations from around the region, has been pushing for a responsible retirement of the plant. IEEFA’s report is a wake-up call to city officials that they must set a redevelopment plan for the power plant site that will provide economic and social benefits to the neighborhood, maintain the city’s tax base, and generate jobs for local workers, the Alliance said.

David Schlissel, report author and director of resource planning analysis at IEEFA, said: “The future of the Bridgeport Harbor Unit 3 coal plant looks bleak. The bottom line here is that PSEG Power’s pre-tax earnings from Bridgeport Harbor Unit 3 dropped off a cliff in 2009. Based on currently expected future circumstances, there is no credible reason to expect that these pre-tax earnings will again reach the high levels achieved in 2007 and 2008. Indeed, Bridgeport Harbor Unit 3 does not look financially viable over the long term. That is why we are recommending that the City of Bridgeport, the State of Connecticut and the grid operator ISO New England all begin to plan for a future without the Bridgeport Harbor Unit 3 coal plant.”

“Coal fired power plants are no longer economically viable and the days are numbered for the last few that remain,” said N. Jonathan Peress, vice president and director of clean energy and climate change at the Conservation Law Foundation. “Transformation of our energy system to modern cleaner resources is underway finally providing a respite to communities who have disproportionately borne the burden of air pollution and harm to public health from the obsolete practice of burning coal to make electricity.”

“Communities have too often seen coal plant closings devastate those who work in the plant,” said Jeremy Brecher of the Labor Network for Sustainability, who authored Jobs Beyond Coal. “The Healthy Connecticut Alliance is to be commended for insisting on a negotiated jobs agreement with those workers’ union; ensuring new jobs or decent pensions for any who lose their jobs; and creating jobs restoring and repurposing the site.”

“This plant has been a burden on our kids’ lungs for long enough,” said Elaine Thompson-Ward, a Bridgeport community leader and representative of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice. “The writing is on the wall; it’s time to move beyond coal and plan for a healthier, more secure future for Bridgeport.”

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