Working for Peace on Earth and Peace with Earth since 1952
Update 1/20/22 Global warming gases from the U.S. increased by 6.2% in 2021. This when UN scientists tell us we MUST CUT emissions by 50% by the year 2030.
Update 12/2/21 We sent a letter about this to each member of the CT legislature.
Update 12/2/21 Article about all this published in Hearst papers today. California is moving fast to ban the use of small gas engines. It will start banning the sale as soon as 2024. In Palm Springs gas powered leaf blowers were outlawed in 2019
According an article in The Hill, "Gas-powered equipment with small off-road engines produce a similar amount of smog-causing pollution as light-duty passenger cars create in California, according to the Times, which is why lawmakers are working to curb emissions that come from those tools. According to The Associated Press, there are more than 16.7 million small engines in California, which tops the number of passenger cars on roads."
Back in 2011 the auto site Edmunds reported, "The hydrocarbon emissions from a half-hour of yard work with the two-stroke leaf blower are about the same as a 3,900-mile drive from Texas to Alaska in a[ Ford-150] Raptor." One reason is that an auto or truck has a catalytic converter and other things to lower pollution while a lawn mower or leaf blower has none.
In the future we'll have to redefine our ideas of gardening and go back to sensibly using hand rakes, and growing less grass. [ Lawns were an invention of 17th century aristocrats. Before that meadows were for sheep and goats.] And we desperately need to rewild land to lock in carbon.
More about this CT Post 10/16/21 Why CT is NOT looking to imitate the California law
First let's Kill Off All the Leaf Blowers - New York Times October 25, 2021
From 2014 Dangers of Leaf Blowers.
Washington Post "How Bad are Leaf Blowers?"
Petition in New Haven to get rid of Leaf Blowers
Very good article from 2017 "Noisy, But That's Not All" which has a lot about the effects on the workers from noise and fumes.
This highly technical EPA report of 2015 says that small gas engines cause 4% of US CO2 emissions. That sounds small at first hearing , but considering we're in a life and death battle to curb CO2 it means this battle has an important greenhouse gas dimension.
2017 Yale Medical school professor calls for leaf blower ban
The quickest way to send CT's Governor a message is to send him a tweet or to retweet something @govnedlamont Add in the tweet the handle of his environmental commissioner Katie Dykes by including @KScharfDykes The message is "Don't Allow the Gas Plant to Be Built" (see articles below if you don't know about this issue.)
Or go to Katie Dykes twitter feed @KScharfDykes and reply to any of her recent tweets. Add one of the memes from the twitter feed @ctclimate. Add @ctclimate @pepeace to your tweet so we can see if we're having an effect with our appeals.
Again you don't have to live in CT to do this. The world has only one atmosphere. If we keep flooding it with greenhouse gases the effects will be felt in Houston, Shanghai, Capetown and everywhere else.
This issue is relevant to everyone on earth. Another fracked gas plant is on its way in Connecticut. It will pump out 2 million tons of CO2 a year not to mention all the methane that leaks out in the production/distribution process. The plan has got all its permits and Governor Lamont is not trying to stop it. However, there is a bill in the CT Senate that will stop it. Bill #718 would force a "moratorium" on all fossil fuel plant construction. However it in the Energy Committee and has not been reported out. Please call this number Call 860-240-0430 and leave a message that you support Bill #718 and want it voted out of committee. We need a public hearing and a vote in the legislature. Time is of the essence. The committee ends its work Tuesday and Monday is a holiday.
You can make some of these points:
1. The U.N. says we must cut carbon by 50% by 2030 or go over tipping points that would mark a permanent loss in the current world's climates.
2. "Natural gas" (in reality methane) is in the short run 84 to 100 times worse than carbon dioxide.
3. The plant which has got its permits is in Killingly, CT, a town that already has a fracked gas power plant.
4. Gas power plants endanger people locally with their emissions.
5. There was an explosion at a Middletown CT gas plant not to long ago.
More about the Killingly plant below.
Stopping the "shovel ready" Killing plant is an absolute priority. It seems every day we get worse and worse news about climate chaos. 2020 started with catastrophic bushfires in Australia. Southern Florida in mid-April had temperatures they only have in the hottest days of July.
The business community and CT politicians patted themselves on the back at the end of July 2019 for opening a natural gas power plant in Bridgeport that is to replace a coal-burning plant. The governor said we’re going to have “clean burning fuel for the next 40 years”. Unfortunately, that’s completely false.
It’s not “clean” and there’s no way that Bridgeport plant will run for 40 years. “Clean” gives the idea that emissions from the plant are harmless. True, a gas plant won’t bathe the immediate neighborhood in mercury, sulfur and coal dust pollutants, but there’s more to consider.
One dangerous gas will be coming out the Bridgeport power plant five times more than currently. It’s the global warming gas CO2. Over the years 2016-2018 the EPA says an average or 295, 000 short tons of the gas came out of the Bridgeport coal plant each year. However the new natural gas plant will send out 1.6 million tons a year! This on top of the gas the Towantic Energy Center in Oxford, CT that started belching out CO2 in 2018.
While the U.N. scientists are giving a doomsday warning that we have to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, Bridgeport’s will increase its contribution by 5 times.
Up in the rural northeast of CT the movers and shakers and planning to build an even worse plant in Killingly. The town which already hosts the Lakeville Road Generating Company which poured 2.3 million tons of CO2 into the air in 2018 is slated to allow a company to break ground on another plant which will send another 2 million tons of CO2 into the air.
By the way the term “natural gas” is misleading. All the fossil fuels come from nature. Natural gas is almost entirely the substance called methane, CH4, and methane has an interesting property. It’s a much worse global warming gas than CO2. Over a hundred years its 25 times worse. The problem is we don’t have 100 years. We have to go to zero on global warming gas emissions by 2050. In the short run methane traps heat 84 times as does carbon dioxide.
Yes, you say, but the plants are burning the methane, not releasing it into the air and burning methane produces less CO2 than burning coal or oil. Correct, but there’s another problem. The methane that leaks into the air during the production and transport process. An article in the Wall Street Journal 8/8/19 tells us “2.3% of the natural gas produced in the U.S. escapes directly into the atmosphere due in part to leaky equipment or intentional discharges”. It’s the equivalent of burning 355 billion poundsof coal!
So natural gas plants pollute directly by producing CO2 and indirectly by getting their fuel from a system that leaks methane enormously. There’s also a much lesser effect of the warming of waterthe 50,000 to 400,000 gallons of water the Killingly plant will use a day for cooling steam.
The fossil fuel companies are doing everything to keep us ignorant, but at some point there’s going to be a traumatic catastrophe. Then warming and its many, many effects will become so obvious to all but the most criminally deluded that there will be a last-ditch effort to stop it. All the methane burning plants will be seized and dismantled brick by brick. And this will come long before 40 years from now.
And get this. CT doesn’t need the Killingly plant to produce electricity for CT needs. We’re getting more efficient. We’re using more solar. So the juice is all going out of state.
Another thing about methane that should be mentioned is that sometimes it blows up. In 2018, dozens of houses exploded in Massachusetts in the Merrimack Valley. Gas had to be shut off to more than 8,000 homes. In 2010 in California, a pipeline, exploded killing eight. In that same year, Connecticut had its own fatalities from a natural gas explosion in Middletown that killed eight. Add to that the cancers and other bad health effects by other chemicals released in production and burning of natural gas.
The Community Benefits Programs
Why do communities accept new natural gas plants? Several reasons. Neighborhoods are frantic to lower asthma and cancer rates. Then there is fear, the companies threaten to just shut down the coal plants forcing the cities or towns involved to lose millions in tax payments. They warn their donations to local churches and charities will stop.
Then there’s the illusion of jobs. In Bridgeport climate activists fighting the coal plant had to deal with unions who were afraid of job loss. It is a real concern. We talked about the state creating program of guaranteed jobs for anyone from the coal plant losing work. The unions brushed that aside. So what happened in the end? The company went to gas and bragged that it cut permanent jobs from hundreds to dozens. Actually, dozens is a stretch. The plant’s own website says the number of permanent jobs will be 20. And we haven’t heard that the company or the state is guaranteeing any of the displaced workers a job.
We also have to mention community benefits programs. In Bridgeport and Killingly the companies involved dangled these goodies to locals and in both cases got the neighborhood or town leaders on board. In Bridgeport it included a construction union apprenticeship training program and $2 million to be divided up in grants to the city and non-profits, a mess of pottage like the one in the bible story. After two years city clergy were having second thoughts. Only 15 people had graduated from the apprenticeship programs and less than 50 city residents had been involved in the construction of the gas plant. No one had seen any of the two million. Politicians in Killingly had opposed a second plant in their town, but objections evaporated after their own benefits agreement. Supposedly they’re getting $5 million and the same 20 magnificent permanent jobs for the town.
Bridgeport and Killingly get a benefits package, the human race gets an “Impediments Package”. We get another weight of millions of tons of global warming gases to hang round our necks as we race to stop the momentum of fossil-fuel-capitalism some time before we fall over the tipping points. Please, stop the Killingly methane plant.
Many unions came out in support of the youth actions earlier this year. Some have issued statements in relation to the September call, and others continue to debate how to respond. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) came out in supportof the “Fridays for Future” protests in March 2019, and is listed as an official “international partner” for the upcoming September strikes. Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and New Zealand are organizing support for the action.
We know from Naomi Klein and her work on "Disaster Capitalism" that capitalists see disasters as "opportunities" to exploit panic and completely remake society for the benefit of the very rich.
Now we're in another disaster in part due to globalization that demands we get things cheaper, cheaper overseas AND the oil war between the Saudi and Russian oligarchs. Congress is getting ready to borrow a couple trillion dollars to bring things back to "normal", a normal that is racing to climate catastrophe.
Let's say hold on for a day or so and make sure we don't give a nickel to banks unless they contract in writing not to fund a single fossil fuel project 2) No money for oil companies until they agree in writing to stop all fossil fuel exploration 3) No money for airline corporations until they cap their emissions at 2020 levels. This is the minimum. We actually must go much, much farther.
You know we have less than a decade for radical change to avoid climate catastrophe. This is our "opportunity". When will we get another one?
Bill McKibben wrote about this in "The New Yorker"