Environmental groups and the city of New Haven have reached an agreement with PSEG, a power company that wants to build new generators near New Haven harbor. The company has agreed that air pollution won’t increase after the new units are built.
PSEG, the New Jersey-based Public Service Enterprise Group, currently operates one power plant at New Haven Harbor, an area with high levels of air pollution.
The company is now building three new generating units at the same location. The New Haven Environmental Justice Network, the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and the city of New Haven have negotiated a deal with PSEG designed to reduce emissions at the existing plant. The groups have agreed not to oppose the new units if PSEG reduces the amount of time it idles the old plant and if it relies partially on natural gas, considered a cleaner fuel, during summer days when pollution levels are high. PSEG has also agreed to put $500,000 into a fund to improve air quality in the neighborhood.
Attorney Roger Reynolds of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment says the residents of the east shore neighborhood already suffer from too much pollution from many sources, including the power plant.
“Interstate 95 and the Q bridge, which is often stalled and has a lot of trucks idling, is right there. And New Haven harbor is there, which has a lot of ships from all over the country spewing diesel fuel and they are completely unregulated and don't have any type of controls. So this is really a perfect storm of health impacts. Not surprisingly there are very high asthma rates in the neighborhood.”
A spokesperson for PSEG says the company is very happy that they were able to reach an agreement.