$1.4 Million Bicycle Path Coming

The Valley will soon be home to another world class path for walking and bicycle riding. Last year, Chicopee, Massachusetts created a path for recreation and non-motorized commuting. Soon it will extend the riverside path by more than a mile, at a cost of about $1.4 million, almost all of which will be paid for by the federal government.

Grassroots Victory Expected

In a likely victory for grassroots activists in the Valley, a coal power plant in Holyoke is expected to close. That’s according to the Holyoke city council and the leader of a regional environmental group. For decades, activists have worked to shut the polluting Mount Tom coal power plant.

Valley Marchers to Fight Fossil Fuels September 24

On September 24, in Northampton and Amherst, there will be marches to protest the use of fossil fuels. At 11:30 a.m., marchers will leave from the site of a proposed large group of solar panels at the UMass horse farm at 111 North Maple Street in Hadley. They will march to the park in front of the Amherst Town Hall. The march is scheduled to arrive at the town hall at 12:30 p.m.

At noon in Northampton, a march will start at 210 Main Street (in front of City Hall) and end behind the building at 150 Main Street. The march will go via Pleasant and Armory streets.

State Plans to Log Big Parts of Massachusetts

Activists are asking Massachusetts residents to contact the governor by August 25 about a controversial state logging plan. Chris Matera is a spokesperson for the Northampton-based group Massachusetts Forest Watch www.MAforests.org He said:

Locals Extinguish Proposed Incinerator

The Springfield city council voted 10 – 2 to snuff out a proposed corporate incinerator May 23. The vote came after a four-hour-long public hearing before the city council on May 17. At the hearing, locals blasted the incinerator plan. Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield (STIP), an all-volunteer group, fought the proposal for several years.

“I’m proud of the city council for putting public health ahead of the threat of being sued by the developer,” said STIP spokeswoman Michaelann Bewsee.

Activists Blast Planned Polluting Factory Near Keene

On May 9, a group of activists attended a public hearing in Winchester, New Hampshire, near Keene, to try to stop a proposed asphalt factory in Winchester. Asphalt is made of fossil fuels. It’s used to make roads and parking lots for cars and trucks. Cars and trucks cause global warming, acid rain, lung cancer, obesity, and some 40,000 deaths in traffic accidents every year in the U.S. Alternatives include walking, riding a bicycle, and trains and busses. Trains and busses are far more energy efficient – and much safer -- than cars and trucks for moving people and freight.

Like a Leech, Wal-Mart Returns to Greenfield

Wal-Mart wants to build a massive new store and parking lot, destroying open space in Greenfield. The town Planning Board will hold a meeting about Wal-Mart's scheme on May 5. “Please save the date, and encourage your friends to come and show their opposition to this environmentally and economically valueless plan,” said Greenfield resident Al Norman.

The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at 114 Main Street.

In Greenfield, Wal-Mart lost a vote by the people 18 years ago. The company wanted to build in town; it was rejected by a vote of the people.

Events Will Help People Get State Money for Home Energy Efficiency

A group of people in Springfield is helping Valley residents get state money to make their homes more energy efficient. The group, the Alliance to Develop Power, is hosting free, public evening meetings in: Amherst January 19, Easthampton January 20, Northampton January 26, and Greenfield February 2.

People at the meetings will learn how to sign up for a free energy assessment, get money for weatherization and other energy efficiency services, said Boone Shear of the Alliance.

The meeting will be in:

-Amherst, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk;

Keene Will Spend $2 Million on Solar Panels, Energy Efficiency

On December 16, the Keene city council voted to spend about $2 million on energy efficiency and solar power for city-owned buildings. In 12 years, the investment will pay for itself. After that, the city will be making a profit from the investment.

The move means the city will be significantly reducing air pollution and its contribution to global warming.

Solar panels will go up at city hall. More efficient space heating and lights will be installed in municipal buildings.

Logging or Wilderness: Public Hearing Nov. 16

Members of a local environmental group are urging the public to attend a public hearing on November 16 near Springfield about whether Massachusetts state-owned forest land should be logged or kept as wilderness. Forest Watch members say people should speak out in favor of wilderness at the 6:30 p.m. meeting with representatives of Governor Deval Patrick at 380 Southampton Road in Westfield.