For Immediate Release
Sierra Club and Bridgeport Community Demand Clean Air for Families
BRIDGEPORT, CT - On Friday, electric grid operator ISO New England announced through the results of its Forward Capacity Auction that PSEG's Bridgeport coal plant operation would be extended until 2019. By continuing with the status quo, PSEG has ignored a recent vote of the City Council calling for the retirement of the plant and vocal community activism seeking the same. While Bridgeport celebrates the concurrent announcement that an additional natural gas plant proposed by PSEG would not be added to the facility at this time, burning coal alone creates air pollution that triggers asthma attacks and causes respiratory illnesses. In Bridgeport, nearly 15% of school-aged children suffer from asthma.
“For more than 45 years, the Bridgeport Harbor Station coal-fired plant has polluted Fairfield County’s air and water. Not only does the plant put our kids’ health at risk, but it also places an economic drain on the community,” said Onte Johnson, Sierra Club organizer and Bridgeport resident. “ It’s time to retire the old, outdated plant and invest in cleaner, healthier solutions for the community. In order to do this, we need to support the current proposed legislation before the state legislature that would phase out coal by 2020, provide smooth and just transitions for workers and the community, and help Connecticut step up as a leader in clean energy like other New England states have already done.”
The Council resolution, supported by a broad coalition of environmental, public health, and environmental justice groups passed the Bridgeport City Council nearly unanimously in late 2014. The resolution calls for the phase out of coal burning in Bridgeport by 2020, the creation of a task force to identify reuse and redevelopment opportunities at the existing site, and for financial mechanisms to support workers and municipal revenues.
“For far too long, Bridgeport has been home to a disproportionate number of polluting industries. It’s time to build a better future for Bridgeport families. By phasing out coal and passing the new legislation, Bridgeport can breathe easier and benefit from new, clean industries that will create a strong economic engine for Connecticut,” concluded Johnson.
The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.