Fight power plants going online
I applaud Connecticut state Sen. Julie Kushner’s efforts and the actions of the Senate in unanimously approving her legislation, Bill 585, supporting Air Quality Monitoring in western Connecticut. The demand for air quality monitoring resulted from the public outcry about air pollution that will, in six months, blow downwind into Connecticut from the 1,100 MW Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVE), now under construction in Dover, NY.
However, Senate Bill 585 seems an inadequate response to the dangers posed by CVE to health and the environment. As a New Milford resident living only five miles from the CVE power plant, I fear for my health, as well as that of my friends and neighbors.
The American Lung Association recently published its State of the Air Report, and Connecticut residents learned that we still breathe some of the worst air in the country. I already see smog nearly every day in the western hills across from my home, and I imagine that it must be in the air around me too.
A neutered and underfunded EPA can be partly blamed, and things will be even worse when the CVE plant is powered up in November. Then we’ll also have New York’s Gov. Cuomo to thank for the polluted air blowing into Connecticut from CVE, and the 680 MW Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) plant online since October 2018 in Middletown.
Once online, CVE will be nearly impossible to shut down, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will not unplug it just because local air monitors say the air is unsafe to breathe.
CVE alone will generate between 6 million and 16 million metric tons of CO2e, including methane, each year for the next 30-to-40 years. Methane leaks regularly from gas infrastructure into the air, and has 100 times the global warming potential of CO2. CVE will contribute to the rising global temperatures we’ve already experienced, defying the warnings of world scientists that we must limit carbon emissions or face catastrophe.
Pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those with respiratory and cardiovascular health issues are especially vulnerable to other pollutants CVE will generate: smog-forming nitrogen oxide, sulfur, heavy metals, carcinogenic volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter (pollution that penetrates deep into the lungs and bloodstream unfiltered).
Connecticut citizens have already expressed concern about our air. Cricket Valley will add to the dangers that we already face from the Towantic Energy Center in Oxford (805 MW gas plant owned by CPV), the 485 MW Bridgeport Harbor Station plant, the 250 MW Wallingford Energy Project plant, and proposed 650 MW NTE Energy plant in Killingly. We are surrounded by these purveyors of poison.
Passive air monitoring will not make our climate or health problems go away. Let’s get active and call on our legislators, and anyone else with influence, and make sure that Cricket Valley Energy — and Killingly — never go online.
Clare E. Brady is a resident of New Milford.