Guest Columnist Karl Meyer: Last light for the New England Great River?

Posted: 12/21/2021 16:30:53 PM Modified: 12/21/2021 16:30:38 PM After 49 years, the only chance to end the massive energy waste, un...

Posted: 12/21/2021 16:30:53 PM

Modified: 12/21/2021 16:30:38 PM

After 49 years, the only chance to end the massive energy waste, unquantifiable loss of aquatic life and total ecosystem disruption caused by the Northfield Mountain pumped storage station on the Connecticut River is here. Let this end – in the name of the protection of future generations, rest in the hands of the main federal agencies involved since 2012 in the license renewal studies on the deadly Northfield anti-gravity pumping since 1972.

In 1872, the United States Supreme Court required that all migrants have safe passage upstream and downstream on all rivers. Since 1967, published goals on the Connecticut River for the current US Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Massachusetts Division of Fish & Wildlife have been to reestablish passage for migratory American shad, herring blue-backed and other species. Specifically, this formal cooperative agreement shared with four New England states required them to “provide the public with high-quality sport fishing opportunities in a highly urbanized area, as well as meet the long-term needs of the population in seafood ”. The fish in our river had to feed us again.

They failed miserably – instead creating a massive salmon farming operation in the name of a fish that has been extinct here since 1809. Meanwhile, undisputed by neither the agencies nor a river group here since 1952, the Aspiration Northfield’s massive wiped out hundreds of millions of fish and aquatic animals. animals every year. Today, despite 69 years of bragging about the Connecticut River Watershed Council / Conservancy, Connecticut remains Massachusetts’ deadliest “best landscaped sewer in the nation”.

FirstLight celebrated an anniversary here on December 20. It’s the day of 2018, its parent-owner, Canada’s PSP Investments, quietly re-registered its Northfield Mountain and Turners Falls hydro units to Delaware tax shelters. What a good neighborhood. FirstLight did not notify the US Fish & Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service of their move – both having participated with plant operators since 2012 in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license renewal studies on their impacts on rivers. The two agencies were just on the eve of a 35-day federal shutdown. After FirstLight failed to notify the Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife and the Massachusetts DEP, I sounded the alarm a week later – finding their move suspicious in the pages of the Federal Register.

Ever since stepping away from state taxes where its assets are physically located, FirstLight’s public relations team has been overworked – cultivating an image of a generous, concerned, and community-based group. They look like a new nonprofit organization. The overseas-based company, with annual sales estimated at a few hundred million dollars, has sprinkled well-placed cash gifts and distributed strategic grants while garnering stellar publicity.

Tax payments support communities. But here, smart prizes have been hung in front of the public in “environment and justice” grants to schools and the community. The tactic is almost identical to that used by private schools to avoid obligations on city coffers for the wear and tear of publicly funded infrastructure. Lacking in commitment, “Payments in Lieu of Tax” buys great public relations while in fact being exquisite green laundering. Recent recipients of FirstLight-style philanthropy include Franklin County Schools, The Nolumbeka Project, Franklin and Hampshire Counties Community Action, as well as Money and Free Hot Cider Stand strategically placed on the road to Monte’s March. This caught the attention of FirstLight on the front page of the newspaper.

After sneaking into Delaware, FirstLight’s secrecy still abounds in their license renewal offer for Northfield. The latest closed-door talks with federal and state fishing agencies come to an end this month to once again sanction the most sinister electrical device ever installed on our river. Much like an electric toilet, Northfield wastes huge amounts of electricity from the grid literally pulling a river back and up, emptying it and all of its fish, dead, while reselling the used juice under form of watts produced twice at distant markets at peak prices.

But now, the ultimate loss of the secret community could be the ultimate failure of our federal and state agencies to protect any of this planet’s ecosystems for future generations. The New England River, and those who must depend on it in the future, now faces a century of peril if FirstLight controls 23 of its critical miles for decades to come. They want to feed on a Connecticut that should feed us.

Citizens can always be made public before a dark deal is signed. Go to:; then to “Documents and classifications”; then click on the “Quick Links” tab for FERC online on the right; then on “eComment” on the page that opens. Follow the instructions for “Hydroelectric License / Renewal Procedure (P – Project Number)” and use Northfield’s FERC project number, P-2485, to enter your comments.

Greenfield journalist Karl Meyer has been involved in and intervening in these Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorization procedures since 2012.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Guest Columnist Karl Meyer: Last light for the New England Great River?
Guest Columnist Karl Meyer: Last light for the New England Great River?
Newsrust - US Top News
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