River advocates to protest Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project

Staff Report

Published: 05-26-2023 3:17 PM

NORTHFIELD — The Connecticut River Defenders advocacy group will hold a rally to protest the relicensing of FirstLight Hydro Generating Co.’s Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project on Saturday, May 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the intersection of Ferry and Pine Meadow roads.

FirstLight, which previously submitted its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a new 50-year license to operate, has three facilities up for relicensing. Environmental advocacy groups have criticized those facilities — the hydro-pump facility at Northfield Mountain and two hydroelectric dams in Turners Falls — for their impact on fish, the Connecticut River and the surrounding environment.

“We are opposed to this facility not only because of the ecological damage it inflicts upon the river and ourselves, but also because of FirstLight’s greenwashing of its operation,” Lake Pleasant resident Terisa Turner said of Northfield Mountain in a statement. “This is not green and FirstLight must tell the truth.”

One of the next steps in the relicensing process is an environmental assessment to be completed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, according to the Connecticut River Defenders.

“It is essential that the public become informed and activated regarding FirstLight, its Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station and what another 50 years of its operation will mean for the planet and all beings,” Conway resident Priscilla Lynch said in a statement. “This is why we are having this rally.”

Featured speakers include Connecticut River master diver Annette Spaulding; Liz Coldwind Santana Kiser, tribal historic preservation officer of the Chaubunagungamaug Band of Nipmuck Indians; environmental journalist Karl Meyer; Deb Katz of the Citizens Awareness Network; and attorney Sarah Matthews. Musical performers include singer/songwriters Tom Neilson and Kate O’Conner.

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