BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The construction of a new gas-fired electric plant will mean $2 million for a community environmental fund in Bridgeport.
PSEG Power Connecticut and Mayor Joseph P. Ganim on Thursday signed an agreement in conjunction with the construction the plant to establish a fund to pay for health, environmental and renewable projects.
“This is truly a historic day for the City of Bridgeport,” said Sharon Lewis of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.
The agreement is part of PSEG’s plan to replace its current coal-fired plant in the city’s South End with the cleaner, natural gas-fired operation by June 2019. Environmental and neighborhood officials who also signed the agreement said it’s not a perfect pact but said it brings the city one step closer to an ideal arrangement and cleaner air.
“We’re not there all the way, but, damn, it’s a good step in the right direction,” said Carmen Nieves, chair of the South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone.
At least a year in the making, the agreement means PSEG will establish a $2 million community environmental fund administered by the Fairfield County Community Foundation or a similar organization. Community organizations and government entities will be able to apply for grants to support health-related projects for city residents, improvements focused on the environment and investments in renewable energy projects.
The funds will also support final plans to retire the coal plant and a community liaison officer, a point person to support local and regional hiring.
The new plant is an investment of more than $550 million and will replace the last coal-fired plant in Connecticut. It is estimated it will create 350 construction jobs and 20 permanent jobs.
“PSEG is committed to being a good neighbor in Bridgeport. We look forward to working with the city and community groups to maximize the benefits of this agreement,” said Richard P. Lopriore, president of PSEG Fossil.
Ganim said he expects the new plant will contribute about $5 million to the city’s tax coffers.
“This will move us to a cleaner energy future and give us reliable power for many years,” he said.
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