Local Action Needed On Climate Emergency

NRG Middletown Power Plant — site of proposed new 375 MW generator

On September 8, 2020, the City of Middletown Common Council voted unanimously to pass the Climate Change Resolution.  Thank you to all who signed the petition supporting it and to all who attended and spoke out to endorse it during the Council meeting.  Now, for the Climate Emergency Resolution to be something more than a piece of paper, the City of Middletown needs to take action.

We agree with the Mayor that a good first step is a request from the Mayor’s office to all city departments asking for their current practices and future innovations consistent with the goals identified in the Climate Emergency Resolution. While this is a useful initial measure that needs to be completed as soon as possible, the Resolution needs to drive the development of both a long-term strategy and near-term actions that address sustainability, and climate disruption resilience and mitigation. 

The Jonah Center and the Sustainable Middletown Team are asking you to contact Middletown’s elected officials and encourage them to treat climate change as an actual emergency. (See contact info below.) Climate change is not taking a holiday while we are dealing with the pandemic, so we need to move forward.  We are requesting that you write to Mayor Ben Florsheim and the Common Council members with your individual ideas on specific actions that the City can take to mitigate climate change, and help the city become more resilient to upcoming threats secondary to climate change.  

Some thoughts on things we can urgently take action on are: 

  • creating a Climate Change Emergency Team, 
  • continued consensus building and action on the city’s Energy Plan, including articulating and communicating a strong vision for the future and a formal adoption of 100% renewable energy by 2050, consistent with state goals. 
  • electric vehicle infrastructure planning, 
  • energy efficiency upgrades, 
  • electrification of heating with heat pump technology and stronger facilitation of renewable generating technology across all sectors,
  • Net Zero energy building requirement for all new and renovated City buildings, and 
  • creation of a City microgrid powered by 100% renewable energy.

The planning work has begun in the emerging revision of the Plan of Conservation and Development, but it needs to go much further.

One immediate concern is that Middletown’s NRG plant, fueled by natural gas and diesel oil, is planning on replacing old equipment, thereby allowing the plant to be more active. This multi-million dollar investment will have an expected operating lifespan of at least twenty-five years, setting back carbon-neutral generating possibilities by decades. Climate goals require that new fossil fuel generation plants stop being constructed, demand for electricity be reduced, and renewable infrastructure be installed instead. We agree that the old, inefficient, dirty turbine technology at the NRG plant should be retired. We do not agree that it should be replaced with more fossil-fired generation. It appears that this upgrade to the plant may result in five-times more carbon dioxide emissions than is currently emitted by the plant. The proposed plant will also emit an additional 76 tons of particular matter per year. We need signatures to obtain a hearing on this project. Open the petition here..  Send signatures directly to DEEP at address at the top of the petition.

You can write in via email, send snail mail, post to the mayoral or council members’ Facebook accounts, submit newspaper editorials, or express your concerns through any other methods of communication.  We appreciate your support. Input from the public is crucial to gaining momentum on this issue and pressuring the politicians to move quickly.

Other ideas might include the creation of ad-hoc flashmobs, protests with signs that can be videoed and made viral, and requesting access to the public input portion of various Middletown commission meetings. 


To email the Mayor — mayor@middletownct.gov 

To email all members of the Common Council — council@middletownct.gov 

The following individuals have public Facebook accounts: 


Letter to the Editor submissions:


Middletown Press: E-mail a letter to the editor to: letters@middletownpress.com. Letters and comments up to 300 words will be considered for publication and may be edited for grammar and content. Important: All letters must be typed, include a full name, address and daytime phone number for verification purposes, plus any affiliations that would place your opinion in context.


Hartford Courant: The Hartford Courant welcomes your letters to the editor. Please email them to letters@courant.comLetters should be exclusive to The Hartford Courant and no more than 250 words. To be considered for publication, submissions must include the writer’s full name, hometown and phone number. Writers ordinarily will be limited to one published letter every two months.


Connecticut Mirror: https://ctmirror.org/submit-to-viewpoints/ – The Connecticut Mirror exists to start conversations about public policy.  Our goal in publishing CT Viewpoints is to provide a nonpartisan forum for robust policy conversations. CT Viewpoints welcomes thoughtful, original commentary on government, public policy and politics as they affect life in Connecticut. Submissions should ideally be 500 to 800 words, although we can accommodate longer opinions.

New Haven Register: Local news: localnews@hearstmediact.com; Letters to the editor: letters@nhregister.com 


New London Day: https://www.theday.com/article/99999999/STATIC01/141009745#commentaries Letters to the Editor: The Day welcomes original letters not sent to other publications. Letter length is limited to 200 words and writers are limited to one submission every 15 days. The Day will edit letters for clarity, length, grammar, style and taste. Writers are urged to cite the source of factual claims. Letters can be e-mailed to letters@theday.com. Guest Commentaries: The Day also will consider the publication of longer commentaries submitted by its readers. Such commentaries are generally limited to 650 words and are only accepted in an electronic format. Whether to publish is up to the discretion of The Day. Proposed commentaries can be sent to Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere at p.choiniere@theday.com.