Biomass - burning wood and other organic products for energy and heat - has elicited intense passions throughout the Pioneer Valley as proposals to build plants in Greenfield, Springfield and Russell receive public airing.
The city of Easthampton, Mass., near Northampton, and the federal Army Corps of Engineers have awarded a contract worth $1.5 million to Palmer Federal Constructors, Inc. for dredging Nashawannuck Pond. Slated to begin in August, the dredging is the first step of the Aquatic Habitat Restoration of Nashawannuck Pond project. At an approximate cost of $2.5 million dollars, the aim of the project is to repair the ecosystems for aquatic life and to minimize so-called “nonpoint source” pollution threats to the pond.
More than 250 people turned out for a second public hearing on a proposed polluting power plant in Greenfield on June 25. City officials allowed only about 12 people to speak, though many more members of the public wanted to speak. Of those who spoke, only one was in favor of the proposal.
On June 24, Vermont governor Jim Douglas personally lobbied President Obama to reject universal health care. “This governor does not represent the wishes of the people of Vermont,” said Richard Davis, director of the Guilford, Vermont-based www.universalhealthvt.org Guilford borders Brattleboro.
Meanwhile, the Burlington Free Press newspaper reported that the number of people working at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is down almost 10 percent over the last six months. Douglas eliminated 58 jobs in the agency. That number includes 11 people laid off between June 22 and June 24.
A major water main broke at around 3 a.m. on May 8 in downtown Keene leaving residents with no water or low water pressure. Water and Sewer Superintendent Joseph W. Tonweber told the Keene Sentinel that the collapse “blew a big hole in the street." The crater reached from a sidewalk fence to the middle of the road, he said.
Steve Chase lives in Keene, where he is director of Antioch University’s program in Environmental Advocacy.
With the closing of big box stores in Brattleboro and Hinsdale, local environmentalists consider how to reuse sites in a greener, more economically responsible way
Four years ago, Home Depot opened a store in Brattleboro directly across the street from a locally owned hardware store. A citizens' group called BrattPower quickly formed to call for a boycott of the giant corporate chain. Members of the group stood outside the Home Depot holding "Shop Local" signs and talking to passersby about the importance of keeping their money in the community.
There is just one passenger train a day that runs down the length of the Valley. Assuming the train is on time, which it often isn’t, it takes two hours and nine minutes to get from Brattleboro, Vt. to Springfield, Mass. That’s an average speed of 27 miles per hour. (The train makes just one stop, in Amherst.) Driving from Brattleboro to Springfield usually takes under an hour.