Amtrak will soon be getting faster between the Valley and New York City. The trip between Brattleboro and New York City (via stops in Greenfield, Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield) will be about 30 minutes faster, almost certainly this year. Next year, the trip will get even faster, with trains between Springfield, Massachusetts and New Haven, Connecticut approximately doubling in speed. The New Haven to New York City trip is on the nation's fastest Amtrak route, the Acela line between Boston and Washington, DC. Trains on that route go over 100 mph.
On February 18 in Springfield, there will be a noon rally against a bill in Congress that would lower American workers' wages and result in more pollution around the world, organizers say. The rally will be at Congressman Richard Neal’s office at 300 State Street. The legislation, known as “fast track” would allow the government to make so-called “free trade” deals more easily. Unions prefer trade agreements that include protections for workers here, in China, and elsewhere, and that include environmental protections.
A Texas corporation wants to build a fracked gas pipeline near the intersection of Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. The pipeline would pass through Winchester, New Hampshire. Winchester borders Massachusetts and is about four miles from Brattleboro.
The Kinder Morgan corporation originally wanted the pipeline to run south of Winchester, in Massachusetts, but activists in Massachusetts appear to have succeeded in keeping the pipeline out of that part of their state. The corporation wants the proposed pipeline to go from near Albany, New York to near Boston.
At the office of Vermont governor Peter Shumlin, 64 people were arrested for non-violent, civil disobedience October 27. They were protesting his support for a proposed fracked gas pipeline in Vermont. Shumlin is from Putney, Vermont, near Brattleboro.
Fracked gas is a climate change-causing fossil fuel. Scientists say climate change is a threat to human life on earth.
Fracked gas is mined by Exxon Mobil corporation using a technique known as fracking, which contaminates drinking water for people who live near the drilling sites with cancer-causing chemicals.
The town of Dummerston, Vermont borders Brattleboro. In 1960, there were about 300 houses in Dummerston. Today, there are about 800. Towns throughout the Connecticut river valley have seen similar growth in the number of houses, the vast majority of which are single family homes that require a car to get to, not apartments like those in downtown Northampton, where residents may live car free.
On April 8, activists will take a bus from Holyoke to Hartford to hold a rally at the office of the owner of the Mount Tom coal power plant. The coal plant is in Holyoke. “In the past few years, my wife has gone to the emergency room several times for asthma caused by the coal plant,” Carlos Rodriguez told the Valley Post. He lives in Holyoke and plans to take the bus to the rally.
At its August 1 meeting, the Keene city council will vote on whether to save wetlands. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. According to the federal government, wetlands “trap floodwaters, recharge groundwater supplies, remove pollution, and provide fish and wildlife habitat.” That quote is from:
On July 24, a Keene city council committee voted 3 - 2 in favor of a law that would save wetlands. The law won’t take effect unless the full council approves it. Opponents say it will cost landowners because they won’t be able to pave their wetlands.
Logging is underway in the biggest state park in New Hampshire. Pisgah state park is near Keene and Brattleboro. It includes more than 13,000 acres. Kathy Thatcher is president of Friends of Pisgah www.FriendsOfPisgah.org an environmental group. On June 27, she said that, in 1968, the state asked the federal government for money to buy the land that is now Pisgah state park. The request was approved. The written plan was “to build a state park specifically for outdoor recreation... The request also stated [there would be]: ‘an emphasis on wilderness experience for the user.
Activists have saved 413 acres of farmland and forestland near Brattleboro from being turned into parking lots, strip malls, McMansion vacation houses, or other forms of so-called “development.” In Hinsdale, New Hampshire, 244 acres of forestland were saved by the Monadnock Conservancy www.MonadnockConservancy.org. The land is home to bobcats, black bears, and other animals.
In Dummerston, Vermont, a 169 acre farm was recently saved by the Vermont Land Trust www.vlt.org. The group is looking for a farmer to take over the farm, which can never be “developed.”
On March 11, trains between the Massachusetts-Vermont border near Brattleboro and White River Junction, Vermont – a trip of about 75 miles -- will travel at speeds of up to 79 miles per hour. That’s faster than ever before. This is the result of improvements made to the tracks. By April, the trip on Amtrak from Brattleboro to Burlington will be about 24 minutes faster. The trip will take 3 hours and 10 minutes and cost $26 on Amtrak. By car, the same journey takes about 2 hours and 23 minutes.