Complete the free ride that kills the river for FirstLight

Of great interest was Domenic Poli’s article on hydropower from November 6 and quotes from “industry professionals”. As a stakeholder in...

Of great interest was Domenic Poli’s article on hydropower from November 6 and quotes from “industry professionals”. As a stakeholder in the renewal of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorization for FirstLight’s Northfield Mountain pumped storage project, the claims of Director of Communications and Government Affairs Leonard Greene were particularly important. . Greene says FirstLight’s facilities in Massachusetts should be subsidized by federal taxes through a giant reconciliation bill. He has wanted our money to fund fish passage protections for decades at FirstLight’s private facilities.

FirstLight is owned by Canadian venture capital giant Public Sector Pension Investments, a branch of the Treasury Board of Canada. Greene did not mention this, nor that his interests in Northfield and Turners Falls are now registered entirely outside of Massachusetts as Delaware tax shelters. I wonder if Mr. Greene had to register as a foreign lobbyist.

If there was any reason to donate millions to a newly arrived foreign equity firm that quickly bypassed taxable obligations via Pandora-like registrations in Delaware 2018, that absurd price goes to FirstLight. Let us subsidize the demands placed on highly profitable river facilities that have devastated the aquatic life of an ecosystem for 49 years. After the money, FirstLight’s subsidy map is finally heading to Canada – where PSP, a $ 20 billion company, announced an 18% increase in profits in June. It’s a fish-for-the-river project in the heart of the SO Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

Safe passage of fish upstream and downstream has been required of businesses on the public river since the historic finding of the United States Supreme Court in 1872 in Holyoke Co. v. Lyman. PSP arrived 144 years later. Basic due diligence would find them fully aware of obligations under US federal and state environmental laws. Yet they fish here for the good of the business.

The Northfield pumped storage in the Connecticut River has been an unmitigated environmental disaster for 49 years. There is nothing clean or renewable about it. With its annual annihilation of millions of juvenile American Shad alone, it has been operated outside environmental laws since the day it was completed.

It is not hydroelectricity. It is an anti-gravity device that feeds heavily on a river’s electrical grid and aquatic life to pull it back and up to harness the cushioned weight of its water.

Northfield has a massive carbon footprint, capitalizing on many years of off-grid electricity made up mostly of climate-burning natural gas since 2014, when the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant was shut down.

As I write this day (November 10), ISO-New England charts show that Northfield consumption to force a river to rise is 57% climate-burning natural gas, 28 % imported nuclear, 6% renewable energy and 8% real hydroelectricity. largely imported from Canada. Its parasitic consumption from the network is often supercharged by natural gas at rates of 70% and more.

It is an atmospheric disaster as well as the annual killer of hundreds of millions of fish and aquatic animals. The enormous power wasted daily to push the river upstream to a 4 billion gallon reservoir would later only be used to regenerate 1/3 less energy for a few hours, mornings and afternoons, pushed back on the network at the lowest. / high selling prices, marketed to distant buyers.

Major mistakes made by the US Fish and Wildlife Service during Northfield’s decades of federal licensing have led to the long-standing failure of migratory fish passage and protection in Massachusetts. Two dozen species of fish, their eggs and young remain exposed to Northfield’s deadly sucking mouth. So Connecticut can still claim its place as “the nation’s best landscaped sewer” here in Massachusetts.

Northfield’s current license expired on April 30, 2018. FirstLight has been playing with the house’s cash ever since – with no fish passage required or corporate legal protections.

There has been a year illustrating a small sample of Northfield’s sinister impacts on migrating fish. On May 1, 2010, the plant choked on its own effluent as employees attempted to empty a mountain of accumulated sludge from its reservoir. Caught dumping sludge from their giant pipes directly into the river, FirstLight was sanctioned by the EPA, shutting down Northfield until November. Yet for over six months no New Englander had to live by candlelight. ISO-New England’s claims that the destruction of the Northfield River was essential to the daily operations of the network have proven to be patently false.

With Northfield silenced for six months, its deviations and reverse surges over Connecticut have come to a halt – and the shad shift in Turners Falls is up 430% from 2009 figures. That single-season increase has been 800% higher than the dismal annual averages recorded there since Northfield began operating under energy deregulation in 2000. It’s time to silence Northfield, not subsidize its devastation.

Karl Meyer lives in Greenfield. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Complete the free ride that kills the river for FirstLight
Complete the free ride that kills the river for FirstLight
Newsrust - US Top News
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