Middletown leaders to decide on city support for the transport climate initiative

MIDDLETOWN – Common Council members will pass a resolution on Monday in support of the Connecticut Transportation Climate Initiative, which, if passed, “would invigorate our economy and improve the health of our city.”

“Pollutants from transportation are known to exacerbate respiratory problems, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, increase the risks of other conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, premature death; and dramatically increase the human and financial costs of health care, ”the memo reads.

Mayor Ben Florsheim meets monthly with a coalition of municipal sustainability committees to discuss the issue, including the Clean Energy Task Force, the Resource Recycling Advisory Commission, and the Conservation and Agriculture Commission. .

These talks focus on policies and actions that can be taken as a city to “move in the direction that this climate emergency note called for us to move forward,” the mayor said, “and, beyond that , come up with ideas for sustainability, to save money and to be a greener city.

City leaders in September 20202 unanimously approved the declaration of climate emergency.

In the latest Jonah Center newsletter, executive director John Hall wrote that “not much had happened” since then, but also acknowledged that citizen input was lacking.

“I agree and disagree,” said Florsheim. “The point made about engagement is good, and it is ongoing,” he said, referring to a forum held over a year ago in which NRG and Kleen Energy proposed to ” add a new fossil fuel turbine to the Kleen Energy Plant on River Road.

During the previous administration, Florsheim said, the city entered into a fiscal stabilization deal to move the project forward. “There were concerns, naturally, many of which I understand about the environmental impact of this project if it were to go ahead,” he said.

More than 100 residents of Middletown and Portland have come forward to voice their concerns, the mayor said. Public comments have been strong on the matter. “It was a night of civic engagement in which dozens and dozens of people said how urgent it was,” he said.

“The clear message was that we are going through a climate emergency, and new fossil fuel infrastructure is not where we should be focusing our energy on projects right now,” Florsheim said.

The result was a dissolution of the tax deal, the mayor said.

“I hope that in the future we can work on a clean energy project with them in the future. They have been good partners with the city on this in the past.

“We have taken some really important steps since the adoption of the [climate emergency] resolution. It’s a project that was already underway at the time, ”he said, citing the new Middletown Public Schools electric school bus, which was delivered in February. It was the only one in Connecticut at the time.

The city is also working on expanding its electric vehicle charging stations, the mayor said, almost completely replacing all street lights with energy-efficient LEDs, and ongoing work on revitalization along the Connecticut River.

“There is a huge component of sustainability in every decision and every design element we put in place,” he said of the Riverside Changes.

Monday’s board meeting will be hybrid. For the agenda and instructions on how to participate virtually, visit middletownct.gov.

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