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Environmental groups to Bridgeport Harbor Station: 'coal era has ended'

Bridgeport Harbor Station – the last generating station in the state of Connecticut that runs on coal – was the focus of local environmental groups on Friday, January 24th. They wanted the owner of the coal plant to establish a fund and plan for closing down.

"We are just sick and tired of this plant. The coal era has ended!"

Elaine Thompson-Ward of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, based in Bridgeport, said “low-income and minority communities are burdened by more than our fair share of pollution.” Thompson-Ward is among those who live near Bridgeport Harbor Station.

“We are just sick and tired of this plant,” she said, adding that some residents near Bridgeport Harbor Station have windows coated with soot from the plant’s emissions. “The coal era has ended.”

The New Jersey-based Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) has not mentioned an intention on closing Unit 3 of the power plant. However, environmental groups released a report on Thursday which predicts it will cost more to run the plant by the end of the decade than PSEG will make from its operation. “A warning that should be heeded,” said Luther Turmelle of the New Haven Register.

But for now, PSEG is only planning to close Bridgeport Harbor Station’s Unit 2, which runs on fuel oil. The utility filed a notice with regional power grid operator ISO-New England last September that it plans to retire Unit 2 by June 2017.

“We look forward to a just transition for both the community and the plant’s workers,” said Diane Lentakis, a member of the executive committee for the Connecticut Chapter of the Sierra Club. “But the transition needs to begin now.”

One of the things environmental groups want addressed in any kind of plan for shutting down is the cost associated with cleaning up the pollution it has directly caused the area.

“We’re calling on PSEG to undertake a responsible retirement of the plant,” said Claire Miller, Massachusetts state director of Toxics Action Center.

(Amanda Carlucci has her finger on the pulse of the green movement. Stay up to date on the latest in green activism. You CAN make a difference. Be a part of the movement, and click here to subscribe. It's anonymous and free!)

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