Day IX Clearing the Air Road Tour—Bridgeport, CT—Bridgeport Harbor Generating Station

Bridgeport Harbor Generating Station is located in Bridgeport, a city in the southwest corner of Connecticut that is part of the New York City metropolitan area. Bridgeport is the second-poorest city in Connecticut after Hartford, with a per capita income just over half of the state average. The plant is wedged between Bridgeport’s Downtown and South End neighborhoods, which are among the city’s poorest. The average income of people who live within one mile of the plant is just $11,400, and over 87% of the plant’s neighbors are people of color. Six schools are within a mile of the plant, as is the University of Bridgeport (the tenth-most racially diverse university in the country, with over 60% students of color).

The stories in Bridgeport solidified a pattern that has been consistent throughout the trip including high rates of respiratory illnesses, nuisance coal ash, and disproportionate exposure by low income communities of color.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Adrienne, who is administering a training program for green jobs, Audrey whose job in the public health department has and her lifelong residency in Bridgeport have shown the impact of the coal plant on the community, and Craig who has spent the majority of his 59 years in Bridgeport and was able to provide a tour of the neighborhood surrounding the plant. 

As we started our tour at the plant, we weren’t able to begin our filming in front of the plant because we were run off by security who stated that filming in front of the plant was a felony offense by order of the department of Homeland Security!  During the tour you’ll see on the footage several times where I filmed the plant from afar, including a bit where I filmed the largest mountain of coal I’ve seen yet in all my visits to coal plants. And it is completely uncovered, which is why even now I have coal dust on my car. Craig, who narrated our tour, omitted any indication of filming of the plant when I was doing it, seemingly out of fear that he might be implicated by my lawlessness so watch for the coal mountain because it won’t be mentioned! 🙂

Adrienne shared some history of the South End community, where the plant is located, and talked about concerns that have been expressed by residents bout coal soot covering their cars, not being able to open their windows, and not being able to hang out laundry because of the coal ash.

Aubrey talked about the health effects she has observed and how the pollution from the coal plant is compounded by pollution from other industrial facilities clustered in the same area.

Explore posts in the same categories: African American Climate Advocacy, Uncategorized

2 Comments on “Day IX Clearing the Air Road Tour—Bridgeport, CT—Bridgeport Harbor Generating Station”

  1. Sam Flenner Says:

    Dear Ms. Patterson,

    My name is Sam Flenner. I am contacting you on behalf of Environmental Integrity Project and Jeff Stant concerningcoal combustion waste (CCW)

    Please excuse the “canned” nature of the information below. I would like to speak with you about coordinating efforts, especially as it pertains to coal ash disposal. We are developing a coalition to gain badly needed federal protections from air and water poisoning from the present coal ash disposal regulatory structure.

    Jeffrey Stant, Director, Coal Combustion Waste Initiative, Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) (, has conducted exhaustive studies for 21 years to secure federal standards to regulate toxic Coal Combustion Waste (CCW) to protect human health and the environment from this highly toxic waste.

    In 1999, there were 6 CCW “damage sites” recognized by the US EPA. As of 2010, The EPA has identified 70 CCW “damage sites” throughout the country.

    EIP recently release a report that reveals another 31 damage sites in 14 states caused by inadequate CCW disposal practices. EIP EJ Coal Ash Press Release 2.24.10.doc.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. More than 1300 such sites exist throughout the nation. Over 600 are active. Very few states monitor the landfill sites to notify nearby residents if their drinking water may be in danger of contamination. Other questionable disposal methods, such as filling lowlands or quarries, are thinly disguised under the industry favored loophole – “beneficial use.” (see

    Data from the EIP/Earthjustice report shows arsenic and other toxic metal levels in contaminated water up to 145 times federally permissible levels at some coal-ash disposal sites. The report identifies 31 coal-ash waste sites where groundwater, wetlands, creeks, or rivers have been polluted with “wastes (that) contain some of the earth’s most deadly pollutants, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, selenium, and other toxic metals that can cause cancer and neurological harm (in humans) or fish.”
    IN Env Health News Selenium from power plants poses ecological risks.doc

    In October 2009, the EPA sent a draft rule to the White House to establish minimum federal safeguards for the protection of human health and the environment from CCW contamination. This important rule is being held up in the White House.

    Recently, two sign-on letters – one from the House of Representatives and one from the Senate – were sent to the White House making unsubstantiated claims that safe disposal of CCW to prevent the poisoning of our water supplies is somehow detrimental to our economy.
    House Holden coal ash letter 03.25.2010.pdf
    Bayh Senate Letter 12.23.09.pdf

    As you may know, more than 200 environmental advocacy and consumer groups from every state in the nation responded with a sign-on letter of our own.
    National Sign-on Letter to President Obama 4.15.10.pdf

    We encourage you to ask your members and friends to draft a letter to your Legislators who signed the Holden and Bayh Letters asking them to support common sense, federally enforceable safeguards for CCW disposal and send a copy to the Editors of your state and local newspapers. The letter may be used during the upcoming comment period as well. You may also consider sending Thank You letters to your Legislators who did not sign the Holden/Bayh letters.
    Legislators Who Signed Holden_Bayh Letters 3.25.10.doc
    Legislator Lists\Federal Legislators by state.doc
    Sample LTE’s and talking points.docx

    Database of affected families:

    Last but not least, we are working to create list of contact information for families affected by coal ash dumping in their communities. The list is being prepared and will be coordinated with media consultant Hastings Group.

    The list is being populated.

    The Waterkeeper Alliance (WA) has expressed interest in partnering with EIP in expanding this grassroots outreach. .

    The database will be used for organizing, media outreach and turnout generation for US EPA public hearings.

    Thank you for allowing us to send updates.
    You may also Please Join a Listserv for coal ash regulations.doc

    Thank you for your help. Please contact me if you have any questions.

    Samuel E. Flenner III
    Outreach Associate
    Environmental Integrity Project
    317.352.2339 c-317.850.0436

  2. Donald Says:

    we can stop this by having people use Renewable energy let me show you how that plant is owned by pse&g in jersey i live in jersey i don’t get my energy from pse&g any more
    email me at

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