Debating The South End Coal Plant–Responsible Or Health Hazard?

Tonight’s weekly cable access show “Bridgeport Now” features the environmental watchdog Sierra Club at 8pm on Channel 88 to highlight why the Bridgeport Harbor Station coal plant in the South End should be closed. The Sierra Club claims it has been instrumental in putting more than 100 coal plants in the country on a retirement timeline since 2010 and preventing another 150 or so proposed plants from breaking ground. Is closing Bridgeport’s coal plant next?

The Sierra Club maintains the plant …

· is outdated and lacks modern pollution controls, making it a major source of mercury, soot, smog and global warming pollution.

· produced 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide, 1,264 tons of sulfur dioxide, 838 tons of nitrogen oxides and 26 pounds of mercury in 2008. That pollution threatens the health of our local families every single day.

· increases visits to the Emergency Room in Bridgeport by all ages caused by asthma (126.7 per 10,000) 3 times the rate of the rest of Connecticut (excluding Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury and Stamford).

. results in mortality rates with asthma as the underlying cause in Bridgeport (38 per 1,000,000) over 3 times the rate of the rest of Connecticut (excluding Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury and Stamford).

Bridgeport smokestack

The owner of the plant PSEG has a different take

What say you?



  1. Dear Mr. Green Mayor, we have new garbage and recycling cans to reduce our garbage costs, and that’s nice, we have a new plan to revitalize downtown, and that’s nice, we have a new plan to improve our schools, and that’s nice, but the air is slowly killing all of us and making people think twice about moving to Bridgeport, and that’s not nice. So Mr. Green Mayor, why are you not more vocal and addressing our dirty air and coal plant–and really, I am not impressed with any statement that says it’s complicated, it’s public health and safety issue–and if we all die from this, what’s the point of all your other plans? Kindly do something about this. The coal plant in Cos Cob was converted to gas, and the very unattractive smoke stack and plant was removed from the shoreline, surely you can work to do the same for us. And here is the link to sign the petition to show your support:

    Please sign and get our air cleaner.
    PS it’s my birthday and this is all I want–clean air and world peace.

  2. Mr. Green Mayor had the Bridgeport Police (two cruisers) follow a group of five women environmental activists, with a dozen other activists, the group representing “Climate Summer” as they did a protest bike ride from City Gallery to Henry Street at the entrance of the Coal Plant to hold up signs and write protests onto the roadway with chalk. The Bridgeport Police prohibited them from writing with chalk on the roadway, then followed them back with the patrol cars to City Lights.
    These pathetic bully actions speak louder than the “Enlightened Green Mayor’s” words.

  3. And today in the Post all the hype about Steel Point–2 things, major retailer is Walmart–ugh and there is no way the property can or will be developed with the coal plant–did not see anything in article to address the coal plant–how about some long-term planning Mr. Green Mayor?

  4. The more I read about Bridgeport’s coal plant, the more convinced I am it will close soon, and your help could make it sooner. After all, it’s rated the 8th worst nationally and the other six plants on that poor rating list are already closing. It’s operating only at 10%; it’s so old and doesn’t conform to standards.

    Yet it was surprising at the plant hearing to see Bridgeport’s BGreen 2020 head support the coal plant because of taxes, despite their mission for “improving the natural environment, and transitioning Bridgeport’s economy to one focused on developing the next generation of green technologies.”

    If the concern is taxes, then close the plant down. Bridgeport desperately needs new development and the biggest development site is right next to the coal plant: Steel Point. Despite today’s front-page story on Steel Point today, nothing will happen until the coal plant shuts down. Go there and take a look, it’s downwind from coal fumes and an eyesore.

    Besides, change is now going on all over in town, the GE building is demolished, parks in the city renovated, Pleasure Beach new park plans set, downtown revitalization here, Entertainment legislation passed, there are new restaurants, old Bridgeport Thursdays back with concerts, the arts scene is vibrant.
    And the coast of Bridgeport is a gem and the port is wasted on an old useless plant that can’t conform to any new standards on pollution. After all, the Mayor himself wants us to enjoy the waterfront and said so at the opening of the Knowlton Park: “The city of Bridgeport is committed to opening up the waterfront so that more of our residents can enjoy it, whether it’s fishing, strolling or enjoying a picnic by the waterside” (CT Post).

  5. This is nonsense … The Sierra Club is against coal, natural gas and nuclear. Wind and solar will not cut it.

    Ideally, this would be better as a gas-fired plant. At some point in time, when either technology, regulation or R.O.I. warrant, this will be a gas-fired plant.

    In the meantime, we need the electricity and the taxes. It is not the Mayor’s call.

    Per the health statistics cited by the Sierra Club, New Haven, Hartford, Waterbury and Stamford are all excluded … I don’t know whether they all have coal-fired plants but they all have major highways going through town which must also contribute to asthma, etc.

  6. Denis OMalley, this is not about what the Sierra Club is for or against. Let’s see what others say … American Lung Association: “Coal-fired power plants that sell electricity to the grid produce more hazardous air pollution in the U.S. than any other industrial pollution sources.” According to this report and also that of EPA, over 386,000 tons of air pollutants are emitted from coal-fired plants per year. Also, study from the New York Academy of Sciences found that due in large part to health problems, coal costs the U.S. $500 billion per year.

    But really, this plant is a relic, really obsolete. More tax revenue would be generated in the long term if plant were gone. Another case of attempting short-term solution, long-term pain. Call into the program tonight and present your point of view.

  7. *** What’s the city’s Mr. Green Jeans Dept. got to say on this dinosaur coal plant in the South End? How about the Council persons, State Rep. and State Senator who represent this district? *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  8. Dear Mr. Mayor, please note: A German village produces 321% more energy than it needs. All these green systems means despite only having a population of 2,600, Wildpoldsried produces 321 percent more energy than it needs–and it’s generating 4.0 million Euro (US $5.7 million) in annual revenue by selling it back to the national grid. It is no surprise to learn small businesses have developed in the village specifically to provide services to the renewable energy installations.
    The village’s green initiative first started in 1997 when the village council decided it should build new industries, keep initiatives local, bring in new revenue, and create no debt. Over the past 14 years, the community has equipped nine new community buildings with solar panels, built four biogas digesters (with a fifth in construction now) and installed seven windmills with two more on the way. In the village itself, 190 private households have solar panels while the district also benefits from three small hydro power plants, ecological flood control, and a natural wastewater system.
    Any why can’t Bridgeport be the first to start this long-term plan?
    Here’s a link for more information:


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