Victory in Fight to Stop Greenfield Walmart

A Walmart store less than a mile from Brattleboro has been vacant since 2009. The enormous store and its acres of parking lots were built in Hinsdale, New Hampshire on acres of land that were once pristine wilderness. The Brattleboro Home Depot and its acres of parking lots have been vacant since 2008. It was built on acres of prime farmland.

Martin Luther King Day March Set

To stop a proposed fracked gas pipeline in the Valley, activists will march about 40 miles over three days starting January 16. The march is in honor of Martin Luther King, whose federal holiday is January 18. The marchers will pass through the Massachusetts towns of Northfield, Erving, Montague, Greenfield, Deerfield, Conway, Ashfield, and Plainfield.

Fracked gas causes climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life.

Plastic Bags Banned in Northampton

Plastic bags will be banned in Northampton starting January 1. “There was overwhelming public support for this,” city council member Paul Spector told the Valley Post in a telephone interview December 21. “Almost the only ones who opposed it were national chain stores. Most of the local business owners supported it.” Dozens of people spoke in favor of the ban at public hearings, he said.

This year, stores in Northampton gave out about 10 million plastic bags. That's according to:

A list of places that have banned plastic bags is at:

10 Arrested at Protest

Ten Valley residents were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at a protest against fossil fuels in Boston October 22. “It went really well,” Gabriel Shapiro told the Valley Post in a telephone interview. He lives in Amherst and was one of the people who were arrested.

Rallies Soon

Rallies for the environment and equality are planned. On October 15 in Springfield, there will be a 4 p.m. rally outside a Price Rite store that is paying its workers low wages while the chain's owner gets rich. On October 18 in Plainfield, Massachusetts, near Northampton, there will be a noon rally against a proposed fracked gas pipeline. Fracked gas causes climate change.

There is a Facebook event page for the Springfield event, which will be at 633 Boston Road:

Victory for Transportation Activists

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.

Rally at Springfield Congressional Office Is Feb. 18

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.

Fracked Gas Pipeline Proposed

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.

64 Protesters Arrested

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.

275 Acres at Risk

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.