To the Editor:
Don’t get fooled. Despite what Eversource is telling Wilton residents, new gas pipelines are adding costs to ratepayers and are bad for our health and the climate. Take action to stop the gas pipeline extension project that has started along New Canaan Rd./Rte. 106.
The pipeline design began in 2020 by Aquarion and Eversouce and was facilitated by the Wilton town engineer and DPW staff for detouring and staging. The community was not informed until April 13, 2022, and given only two weeks to respond. This limited community input on a critical decision will impact all our futures.
On June 3, 2022, the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) ruled that ratepayers will no longer have to pay for future gas line extensions because it is bad for ratepayers. PURA found that as a result of gas expansion projects from 2014-2019, ratepayers in Connecticut have paid approximately $64 million in higher gas costs. Wilton is no stranger to such infrastructure projects, as it was one of the first towns in Connecticut to work with a gas utility to install fossil fuel connections in the Town Center, north to the Wilton High School and south to Wolfpit Rd. and to the Miller-Driscoll School back in 2014 and 2015, all originally touted as a “cost-saving” and “energy efficient” endeavor.
Additionally, PURA fined Eversource $1.8 for false advertising; Attorney General William Tong also settled with Eversource for $1.8 million, saying, “Eversource misled homeowners to get them to switch to natural gas.” The Wilton project, which started before this decision and the fines, is grandfathered in but we’ll all be paying for it with increased rates, and health and environmental costs.
There’s nothing natural about “Natural Gas,” a marketing term designed to mislead consumers. The principal ingredient is methane, a highly volatile chemical that is 100 times stronger than CO2 at trapping heat over a 10-year period. This form of methane is more concentrated than naturally occurring methane in wetlands. Methane is also explosive, causing an accident somewhere in the US every few days, and notably, in New York City and Merrimack Valley, MA, it destroyed homes and caused injuries and deaths. Leaking methane into the air, and polluting water bodies and watercourses affect the health of ecosystems and our water supply. Direct exposure, such as from cooking on gas stoves, leads to fatigue, dizziness, and headaches, and increases the severity of asthma and other respiratory diseases, with higher levels causing nausea, agitation, displaced speech, asphyxiation and death.
The proposed Wilton route of the pipeline borders the SNEW South Norwalk Reservoir, servicing the Silvermine neighborhood of Wilton, and most of the City of Norwalk. About 2,000 linear feet of New Canaan Rd. borders the reservoir treatment facility, reservoir and earthen dam.
It’s time to move away from more gas and towards readily available, climate-friendly, all-electric buildings, and the first and easiest way is to stop new gas pipelines. What can you do? 1) Don’t sign up to purchase gas from this costly and damaging pipeline; 2) Ask the Town of Wilton to stop new gas hookups; and 3) Ask the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in its upcoming Comprehensive Energy Strategy to recommend an end to all gas pipeline expansion and instead create a plan for all-electric buildings. To find out more, visit the Sierra Club online.