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2/6/2014 - Letter to the Editor: Get behind BGreen2020 plan

The following letter appeared in the Connecticut Post on February 6, 2014:

Mayor Bill Finch's innovative green strategies are paying off for the city of Bridgeport, and consequently for the region as a whole. His BGreen2020 sustainability plan is a model for what towns and cities across the region and the country should be doing to fight climate change, grow jobs, attract forward-thinking businesses and create savings for our residents.

The Eco-Technology Park is breathing new life into the former manufacturing-heavy sections of Bridgeport's South End and West End neighborhoods with new progressive businesses that transform waste into viable resources. These are jobs that can't be exported out of town, out of state and across borders, like so many of the jobs from Bridgeport's booming manufacturing past. These jobs are going to the people of Bridgeport, putting money in the pockets of consumers, which helps improve the quality of life, economy and public safety of Bridgeport and the entire region.

Finch's Green Energy Park plan, which aims to place renewable energy sources such as solar and fuel cells on the former municipal landfill site, is one we all support.

Covering up the sins of poor environmental stewardship of the past with five megawatts of clean renewable energy -- 2.86 megawatts of solar photo voltaic and 2.8 megawatts of fuel cell energy -- very clearly demonstrates the great steps forward that Bridgeport is taking to position the city as a leader of the new green economy.

Fairfield County, much like the rest of Connecticut and the entirety of New England, has a fragile electrical grid. Renewable energy projects like the Eco-Technology Park will reduce our region's reliance on electricity generated in other regions, and make the grid more durable and dependable, especially at those times when our demand for electricity is greatest. This plan also will benefit the city and region by changing perceptions and spurring greater economic development in the state's largest city.

Converting a landfill into a green energy park isn't just a compelling story; it will also result in millions of dollars in revenue for the city in exchange for land that only incurs costs. In Connecticut, where property is king, the tiny 16 square miles of the Park City could certainly use new taxable land.

We are very much in support of this project and ask those who are not in favor of this plan to look beyond the issues of aesthetics. This is a transformative project that is moving Bridgeport forward.

The letter is signed by Timothy Herbst, Trumbull Republican first selectman and chair of the Greater Bridgeport Regional Council (GBRC); Stratford Republican Mayor John Harkins, vice chair; Fairfield Democratic First Selectman Michael Tetreau, GBRC secretary; Bridgeport Democratic Mayor Bill Finch; Easton Republican First Selectman Adam W. Dunsby; Monroe Republican First Selectman Steve Vavrek; and Brian Bidolli, GBRC executive director.