P L A N N I N G A L T E R N A T
I V E S O L U T I O N S F O R W E S T O N I
N O R D E R T O L I V E I N A
S U S T A I N A B L E W A Y : Standards
and Individual Security in Weston and a Timeline for Action, a Study by
"About Town" inspired by the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
2015 LWVCT EDUCATION FUND SYMPOSIUM ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Former Commissioner of D.E.E.P. Professor Dan Esty addressed the issue of sustainability at Yale in April 2015...video of his presentation here: http://www.lwvweston.org/SIR.html
From the LWV of Weston video...
Prof. Esty now believes that the people themselves, from the bottom up, should control the argument.
Not until we all believe the same thing will we be able to vanquish the climate change threat.
He described his efforts on the 1992 Rio agreement which President Bush
(HW) signed, and how he thought it was all taken care of!
So he went into teaching. And now he knows this "top down" approach doesn't work.
Senate Democrats to Unveil Climate Change Bill
By CORAL DAVENPORT
SEPT. 22, 2015
WASHINGTON — Senate Democratic leaders on Tuesday plan to unveil a
measure intended to signal their full-throated support of President
Obama’s aggressive climate change agenda to 2016 voters and to the rest
of the world.
The Democrats hope that the bill, sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell,
of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee, will
demonstrate a new unity for the party on energy and climate change, and
define Democrats’ approach to global warming policy in the coming
The Cantwell bill would direct the United States to use its leadership
to secure commitments from other countries to cut emissions. The measure
would require electric utilities to increase energy efficiency by 20
percent from current levels by 2030. It would also extend tax credits
for electric utilities that use wind and solar power, increase spending
on research into energy-efficient trucks and factories, and enact
policies that would make it cheaper for consumers to invest in their own
At least two Democrats from states dependent on fossil fuels — Joe
Manchin III of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — will
not sign on to the bill, their offices said.
“This is about what we can get done here, now,” Ms. Cantwell said.
“There is more coalescence around this, for sure. This is about getting
people from Middle America to support some of these concepts.”
If NYC is an example of
the urban - Weston, in these terms, is rural. What is it about
Weston that makes living here like Feng shui?
In an official-studded announcement that is turning out to be
one of the worst kept environmental program secrets in the state, Gov.
Dannel P. Malloy Friday will unveil plans for a new Institute for
Community Resilience and Climate Adaptation at the Avery Point Campus
of the University of Connecticut....
HURRICANE SANDY: Evergreen trees were hit hardest
here - our Kousa Dogwood held its
"Depth to bedrock"map from D-O - lighter shade of grey, closer to
bedrock - shallower root system? Speaking of Sandy, New Haven tree
story at PURA.
What is so special about Weston, Connecticut? We're #1 for being
the least non-residentially zoned community of all 169 in CT! Bridgeport Hydraulic Company had owned what became the
Ordway Preserve ("Devil's Den"), having flooded a good part of the
original town of Weston in order to build the Saugatuck Reservoir in
the 1930's. City-centric development patterns held until the
1950's and 1960's.
We were ahead of the game. Weston was so remote in the mid 1960's
that it showed as a blank spot on the map developed by SWRPA, putting
together all 8 towns and their own plans of development. Before
we talked about sustainability, shortly after the first "Earth Day,"
Weston, CT did it's own "Weston Environmental Resources Manual"
in 1976. If we use the new
Google tool to check the origin of the word "sustainability" we
find that it came into use...in the 1970's!
Since no one really knows how much water is below the surface, and no
one can guarantee how much rainfall there will be, Weston has always
tried not to overtax its natural resources by giving into arguments
about increasing ratables by permitting industrial and business
development. Neither have town boards and commissions weakened
under the threat of lawsuits for other changes to the all-residential
(special permits for apartments and home occupations; farming
permitted as of right) nature of the town..
Sounds like a plan to be sustainable to me!
of "sustainability." Sustainability in a general sense is the capacity to support,
maintain or endure. Since the 1980s human sustainability has been
related to the integration of environmental, economic, and social
dimensions towards global stewardship
and responsible management of resources What is
the E.P.A. definition of "sustainability?" "Sustainability is based on a simple principle:
we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or
indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates
and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in
productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and
other requirements of present and future generations." So says
is the "triple bottom line?" "The TBL is an accounting framework that incorporates
dimensions of performance: social, environmental and financial. This
differs from traditional reporting frameworks as it includes ecological
(or environmental) and social measures that can be difficult to assign
appropriate means of measurement. The TBL dimensions are also commonly
called the three Ps: people, planet and profits. We will refer to these
as the 3Ps." From a research study at Indiana University. CHAPTER
as a guiding principle is something the Planet needs. But what is it?
While Weston is a small town with volunteer Fire
Department and EMS, few employees and volunteer government, and it does
not have a written plan for sustainability, it has lived by sustainable
principals for as long as I can recall. In fact, it is and has
been at the cutting edge.
Why do we say this? It adopted
sustainability goals - the environmental kind. At this point in
the 21st century, some are questioning if the entrenched focus on
protecting the natural environment goes against future financial
We are now into
the "triple bottom line" theory - exchange "minimizing increases in
property tax" for "profits."
It is true that you pay better attention to societal problems if they
fall close to home. Example of this in the introduction above, out
door. Obvious to me is that this is a global problem as the
weather patterns change and as water increases in temperature, hurricanes
become more powerful.
In Weston, we have effectively lived "sustainability" since 1976 (Other ideas from "Weston
Environmental Resolurces Manual" - Dominski-Oakrock Study).
In 1993, the Weston Water Study
investigated water quality in our private wells (a rigorous
investigation by Dr. Jan Dunn). There was no way to accurately
assess water quantity - but the concept of maintaining a balanced water
cycle was suggested as good policy, in principle.
All the participants in decision making about the Weston environment
must be on the same page - coordinated. For example:
Sustainibility, Bike-Ped, perhaps eventually, Lachat;
Community Services Coalition (and Social Services Department);
if not already doing so, encourage sustainable development - note
"depth to bedrock" - darker is deeper on this map (legend).
Develop amendment to zoning regs that addresses standards for municipal
and individual property standards for sustainability;
Continue policy of sustainable finance to keep Weston self-sufficient;
Expand community spirit policy by sharing facilities with Town of
Weston (i.e. when schools are closed because of weather event,
make building (s) served by tertiary treatment plant available to town)
since the taxpayers paid for the facilities, that makes sense!
Become regional leaders on sustainability - Weston as an example of one
of Connecticut's Town Meeting towns (@110 in CT out of 169
total). Develop pilot study of organizational structure that
works in small towns.
Those of us inland and upland, on shallow
soil areas suffered from Sandy, too! Federal
Role: Nature Conservancy's work on "sustainability" here.
Will the latest stress on FEMA produce a
change in standards for flood insurance, etc.? Will we change the
way we build in flood plains? How about Climate Change re:
coastal communities? How about the Army
Corps of Engineers role in future policy on these matters?
The immediate questions will be answered; how does the new State
Plan of C&D address this? Where in the
Plan is sustainibility mentioned?
Make that "Three Storm" panel, now. Read of State Senator e-mail on
relief $$. "Micro-Grid" idea from 2011
here. What is the role of regulatory agencies (i.e. PURA)?
DEEP to hold hearing on proposed stormwater rule changes
Publication: The Day
By Judy Benson
Published November 29. 2014 4:00AM
Towns will be required to clean catch basins more frequently, sweep
roads twice a year to remove sand, salt and leaves, inspect storm drains
regularly to check for illegal discharges and sample to find and
address the most highly polluted stormwater, under changes proposed by
the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection...story in
full: http://www.theday.com/local/20141129/deep-to-hold-hearing-on-stormwater-rules Regional Planning role:
"Sustainable Communities" for Tri-State Region; amend the current
SWRPA Regional Plan of C&D to make sure
"sustainability" is explained and introduced into EVERY PART of the
In 2014, SWRPA holds Hazard and Resiliency Workshops - with the Nature Conservancy...and speaking of regions,SWRPA and HVCEO to its north have been merged as of January 1, 2015.
PURA delays decision on Connecticut utilities’ tree-cutting program CTNEWSJUNKIE
Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register
NEW BRITAIN >> State regulators will wait a week before issuing a
final decision on their review of plans by the state’s electric and
telecommunications companies to trim trees near utility poles.
The outcome of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority’s
investigation into the tree-trimming practices of the utilities is
being watched closely by customers of the United Illuminating Co.,
where opposition to the company’s plan has been significant. PURA was
to issue its draft decision in the case Wednesday, but the ruling was
postponed until Jan. 29 because of what agency spokesman Dennis Schain
termed “technical and legal revisions that will require more time than
allowed for under the original deadline.”
UI isn’t the only utility whose customers would be affected by PURA
decision. But public opposition to its tree-trimming plans has been
high profile, with more than 100 people turning out at Hamden Middle
School Jan. 15 to protest the plans.
From the perspective of Joe Thomas, UI’s vice president of electric
system operations, the utility got the approval it needed to begin
implementing the first phase of its eight-year, $100 million
tree-trimming program from PURA last year as part of a rate case that
was before the regulatory agency.
“What we’re looking for in this latest case with PURA is confirmation
of our plan,” Thomas said. “But if PURA decides it wants to make
changes, then we’ll make them.”
Right now, UI is in the pilot phase of its tree-trimming program, with
work being done in selected areas of Hamden, Orange, Shelton and
Bridgeport. The utility’s full-scale rollout of the trimming won’t
begin until June.
Nancy Alderman of North Haven was among those who attended the
presentation of UI’s tree trimming plans in Hamden. She urged the
company and PURA officials to consider some sort of compromise.
“There’s no question there have been problems in the past with trees
knocking down electrical wires,” Alderman said. “In areas like schools,
hospitals and convalescent homes, the wires should be buried
underground. Elsewhere, there should be a respectful pruning of trees,
not a wholesale cutting down of them.”
A number of UI customers have sent letters to PURA that are included as
part of the agency’s review, saying that the utility’s plan is overly
aggressive and would reduce the value of their property if implemented.
Not everyone is opposed to increased tree-trimming efforts. In a letter
submitted to PURA last August, Manchester Director of Public Works Mark
Carlino voiced his support for Connecticut Light & Power’s enhanced
tree trimming program.
“More focused investigation of trees along utility lines and a more
comprehensive tree trimming and removal program will lessen the impact
that trees will have on overhead utility lines,” Carlino wrote in his
Industry Role and other utilities like public transit's Role PURA scheduling hearings soon, according to
as creatures of the state, in a manner of speaking, since
companies are give more freedom to operate than other private
businesses, what is the Legislature going to do to deal with them in
the next session?
(In terms of rates and other matters.)
NOTE: Co-Chair. of Energy & Technology Committee defeated for
by candidate with relations to wind energy firm...
First there was Aquarion, the former Bridgeport
Hydraulic, years ago now...then there is telecom, with Cablevision to
French company... New Haven’s English Station to be cleaned up under new UIL, Iberdrola deal
By Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register
Posted: 09/17/15, 9:04 AM EDT | Updated: 12 hrs ago
NEW HAVEN >> Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and the
state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced
Thursday they have reached a deal in which UIL Holdings and Spanish
energy giant Iberdrola would pay for the full cost of cleaning up the
former English Station power plant site...The English Station site is
zoned for commercial or industrial use, Massicotte said, which means
that the cleanup must meet standards that would allow for such
activities to resume. But the threshold for cleanup of a polluted
industrial or commercial site is not as stringent...
No vortex, but power use again in
By: Jan Ellen Spiegel | January 22, 2014
It may not be a true polar vortex, but as far as the independent system
operator that runs the New England power grid is concerned – it might
as well be.
ISO New England, as it did during the true polar vortex two weeks ago,
has posted power alerts system-wide since last night. It essentially
means all-hands-on-deck. Power generators that feed the grid must be
available – no routine maintenance or testing allowed.
And as happened two weeks ago, natural gas prices are running high as
some of the natural gas is being diverted for heat. And once again the
region’s plants are burning a whole lot of oil and coal.
Oil is accounting for more than 20 percent of the generation Wednesday.
Normally it averages less than one percent. Coal has been running about
seven percent of the fuel mix. Normally it averages about three percent.
And as of early afternoon, power demand was running above the predicted
demand for the day, with peak power period still several hours away...
CHAPTER THREE: In the
neighborhood (s)...how many people equals a neighborhood in Weston?
- click for enlargement of SWRPA map. How does the political system work for or against
Can we rally other small towns to get action for change?
Should there be an over-arching concept behind what the
Can more be done by WCSC than it has done
Beyond the "shelter in place"
What more is left to do?
CHAPTER FOUR: "Foundations
for the Planet Weston" under development..."PPP" stands for people,
planet, profits. "Profits" on a local government scale, in our
THE PLANET WESTON:
Which is the correct map to use to discuss PPP - one that shows natural
resources or one that shows population density - or one that shows
centers of community activity? How about overlaying all of them
and seeing what we've got?
Speaking of the map - we are reminded of depth
to bedrock map from 1976 Dominski-Oakrock report. We are
reminded of this by comments in this story -
Weston already has an idea about depth to bedrock! Of course, it
was presented a long time ago, and it was in reference to septic
systems...but bedrock doesn't change unless there is...an earthquake.
WHAT'S NEEDED: A map or
series of maps showing "neighborhoods" and major communication
linkages coordinated with the emergency relief and services
centers and the command center. Explanation of types of
GOAL: Safety and security
POLICIES: Coordination of town and private actions
PROGRAMS: "Shelter in place" requirements planning for
short/medium and longer periods; comfort station organization;
provide power to town buildings; private planning ahead to find
& IMPLEMENTATION: Estimates of needs by type and scale of events,
cross-tabulated. Communication strategy.
With New England administrator of EPA leading off, then CT Commissioner
of D.E.E.P. and then Deputy Commissioner who just returned after a very
long time away from CT DEP, this was a very,very long, all day Q&A with business
community who were checking out their bottom line...
Newspaper reports: Connecticut has a lead in meeting new EPA carbon emissions rule, Malloy says
By Judy Benson, The Day
Published August 03. 2015 4:00PM
Updated August 03. 2015 7:01PM
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen and state
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert
Klee applauded the Clean Power Plan released Monday by President Obama
and Environmental Protection Administrator Gina McCarthy, saying the
measure is a much-needed step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions
contributing to climate change.
And comments in part from readers of The DAY: "It seems entirely
appropriate that the town not reimburse property holders for the lack of
a discount on flood insurance in a flood plain. There are consequences
to elections. If the elected officials do not administrate many
decisions properly it will negatively effect all of the
constituents..." As well as another remark noting the voluntary
nature of the program as well as the financial condition of FEMA itself.
CT MIRROR series on climate change with focus on shoreline railroad and AMTRAK - how do inland areas relate? PART ONE and PART TWO.
FROM IMPLEMENTER: Former CT Siting Council called "PURA,"
one of entities under "DEEP" (Department of
Energy and Environmental
Protection) - there is a new quasi public entity, we think, to deal with ports, as we read 1502, the IMPLEMENTER from 2015 Special Session:
Sec 1 -
CONNECTICUT PORT AUTHORITY:There is
hereby established and created a body politic and corporate, constituting a
public instrumentality and political subdivision of the state of Connecticut
established and created for the performance of an essential public and
governmental function, to be known as the Connecticut Port Authority. The
authority shall not be construed to be a department, institution or agency of
THANKS TO CT-N FOR COVERING THIS JUNE 23, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING in New Haven!
Our running notes are taken as the event played out on my computer. Video is archived at CT-N: http://ct-n.com/ondemand.asp?ID=11715
Please read our notesof highlights - or watch the vidoe for identifying the speakers reported on below.
"Public-Private Partnership" first speaker. She talks of risks for private sector in "P3" v. government design-build ("sniff-test"). Create "business case" analysis early. Federal funds for financing PPP. ("Big Dig" example of not-PPP project.) "TIFIA" bonds brought up first.
Finance guy second. Capital planning statewide - some are PPP
possibilities or not in re transportation. Cross-subsidizing
regions. Not just PPP for TIFIA bonds. How to innovate in
cash-strapped environment - next 5 yrs. will determine what the
infrastructure will look like in the future - long view v. immediate
Pedestrian and bicycle $$ and using Greater New Haven as a pilot,
Senator Looney. Bus transportation needed for cities. Also
traffic E-W too unpredictable, CTDOT not staffed enough to manage
Transfer of risk = PPP. Not free money.
Cost of collecting revenue: DOT funded by sales tax,
generally. Or tolling - not in CT yet! 45% of tolls in
London go to collecting tolls. Check Spain for model.
Europeans keep time shorter to PPP. Who gets priced off the
road? What did About Town get charged on the trip to NYC for the
Last speaker reads his stuff. JMO: Such a bad idea to to talk
about Puerto Rico project/transaction when the Governor of Puerto Rico
just announced they are going bust...
Lyle Wray asks why not Referenda? Like regional
referendum in our region - which would mean a CT Constitutional
amendment? Regional Entity change this year...next year change to
Rick Dunne - independent authority needed to give public confidence.
DOT union (SEIU) doesn't want consultants.
Truck lobbyist remarks points out constitutional amendment
well worded. "Money gobbled up" from transportation funds.
Public person points out better info on what transit
provides. Solar panels on train station??? Projects should
be prioritized. Why not have reversed lanes on I-95. State
Infrastructure Bank? Turnpike should charge to pay for
improvements. Lower the gas tax...??? If you have tolling.
Questions & Answers: How does the government control bad toll projections?
Undershooting on cost, under on use projections.
Robert Moses - 2 hrs 21 min.
If there is a chip there will be a hack.
Tolling pushes out business and poor - social equity of tolling.
Depreciated assest issue; when to and how much to pay to buy back toll road???
Tax exempt cost close to regular cost.
Train: Bridges via PPP? Design build maintenance w/o operate.
BACKGROUND TO 2015 CT MIRROR SERIES ABOVE
infrastructure upgrades unlikely even after second storm in 14 months
Jan Ellen Spiegel, CT MIRROR
November 19, 2012
Guilford -- On a damp, dreary post-Sandy, post-add-insult-to-injury
snowstorm afternoon, Guilford Town Planner George Kral surveyed the
intersection of state road 146, also called Leetes Island Road, and
Sachem's Head Road.
"It floods at extreme high tides under normal conditions and it floods
even more significantly during storms," he said, pointing to where 146
runs under a railroad bridge adjacent to a salt marsh. "During the
recent Sandy, that road was closed under that bridge for several days
because of the high water..." Series at CT MIRROR.
Coasts Rebuild and U.S. Pays, Repeatedly, the Critics Ask Why
By JUSTIN GILLIS and FELICITY BARRINGER, NYTIMES
November 18, 2012
DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. — Even in the off season, the pastel beach
houses lining a skinny strip of sand here are a testament to the good
life. They are also a monument to the generosity of the federal
The western end of this Gulf Coast island has proved to be one of the
most hazardous places in the country for waterfront property. Since
1979, nearly a dozen hurricanes and large storms have rolled in and
knocked down houses, chewed up sewers and water pipes and hurled sand
onto the roads. Yet time and again, checks from Washington have
allowed the town to put itself back together.
Across the nation, tens of billions of tax dollars have been spent on
subsidizing coastal reconstruction in the aftermath of storms, usually
with little consideration of whether it actually makes sense to keep
rebuilding in disaster-prone areas. If history is any guide, a large
fraction of the federal money allotted to New York, New Jersey and
other states recovering from Hurricane Sandy — an amount that could
exceed $30 billion — will be used the same way.
Tax money will go toward putting things back as they were, essentially
duplicating the vulnerability that existed before the hurricane...
Please go to the NYTIMES archives for the story in full.
SOURCES ON UNDERGROUNDING AND CT HISTORY: "ABOUT TOWN" HAS BEEN
WATCHING FOR A REALLY LONG TIME (PRE
SOME HISTORY OF CT DEREGULATION, AS REMEMBERED FROM "ABOUT
REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL POWER PAGES: Remember this story of citizen outcry winning (at least in
Weston)? Power became a political issue locally in 2004 and power supply came to our attention in August of 2001.
This spectacular night-time view of Earth is called Black Marble.
It has been assembled from a series of cloud-free images acquired by
one of the most capable satellites in the sky today - the Suomi
The platform was launched by the US last year, principally to deliver
critical meteorological data. The Black Marble dataset shows off
of Suomi's key innovations: the low-light sensitivity of its VIIRS
instrument.VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) can
discern a range of phenomena of interest to weather forecasters -
cloud, snow, fog, etc - even when the satellite is on the dark side of
Most of the time, all VIIRS needs to do its work is some illumination
from the Moon. But if that is not available, the instrument can still
detect features down below just from the nocturnal glow of the
And, of course, just as this Black Marble rendition demonstrates, VIIRS
is also very good at capturing the lights of our cities. The new
imagery was unveiled here at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall
Meeting, the largest annual gathering of Earth scientists. Data
Suomi - a joint Nasa and National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) satellite - is certain to become a mainstay of
future presentations at this conference...
Root cause: Tree Board aims to revive role, programs
Liotta, Westport News
Updated 9:05 am, Saturday, February 16, 2013
Tree Board, hoping to plant the seeds of renewal for its role in town
government, is looking for help...story in full at Westport NEWS.
By Susan Wolf on November 15, 2012 - adapted for Weston
New England would not be New England without its trees,
nor would Weston be the town it is today if its landscape were only
sparsely dotted by trees.
Trees are not the villains in the latest round of power outages
besieging the area — blame Mother Nature for that. They do, however,
need to be managed better...story in full at Redding PILOT.
Tree debris: Weston deals with familiar post-storm dilemma
By Kimberly Donnelly on November 15, 2012
A freak warm-weather storm with hurricane-force winds followed
by an early fall snowstorm; blocked roads and extended power outages;
comfort stations, charging stations, and more than a week of school
cancellations. As Yogi Berra said, it’s déjà vu all over
again...story in full at Weston FORUM. BACKGROUND TO 2015 CT MIRROR SERIES ABOVE Coastal management legislation
balances environmental concerns with property rights
Jan Ellen Spiegel, CT MIRROR
May 9, 2012
In Connecticut's post-storms legislative world, most of the focus has
been on how to make sure power outages like the ones the state suffered
in August and October never happen again...story in full: CT MIRROR.