Karl Meyer: A fool’s errand

Fog rolls through across the valley over the Connecticut River in the early morning in Sunderland.

Fog rolls through across the valley over the Connecticut River in the early morning in Sunderland. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Published: 05-13-2024 6:22 PM

I’ve literally written millions of words trying to uplift a broken river’s voice. Overall, it’s been a fool’s errand, but I intend to see it into the future rather than leave any of it unsaid. However, no words I’ve written have been as good, concise and cogent as those penned several years ago in a Recorder op-ed by a young person from Gill: “The pump station sucks in life and throws out death.” That’s the beginning, and end, story of a living 11,000 year old river ecosystem here.

Having worked at Northfield Mountain and spent time on that pumped storage plant’s safety committee, and also having worked at the Connecticut River Watershed Council, I’m beside myself thinking this river’s crippling destruction is about to be renewed in the commonwealth.

In 2010, I walked away from three year’s work at CRWC when I understood they’d long known about the endlessly failed 401 Water Quality conditions here under the Clean Water Act. But far worse, they’d done nothing about the monstrous, reversed miles of crippled river at Northfield, reaching into Vermont and New Hampshire. CRC is not now stepping up to save New England’s Great River as the horse leaves the barn, they’ve presided over it. This March 26, FirstLight, MA Div. of Fish & Wildlife and MA Div. of Conservation & Recreation all met privately with MA DEP to smooth out any water quality relicensing bumps.

Decades of failure to explicitly address and sue to shut down Northfield for its miles of broken, stilled and reversed river; it’s through-and-through lethal suction of aquatic life, and the unparalleled energy waste of its pumped storage pillaging, ensures CRC will remain complicit in assisting FirstLight in burying a “once in a lifetime” chance to rescue a living Connecticut River ecosystem.

If you’re a 72 year-old outfit claiming to represent the health of a four-state Connecticut River when the 51-year-old Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage is about to be licensed for 50 more years of interstate river-strangulation, it’s time to stop grandstanding and step away.

Karl Meyer


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