Concerns about FirstLight relicensing

Published: 1/24/2022 1:12:05 PM
Modified: 1/24/2022 1:10:49 PM

FirstLight’s Pump Storage Project has consistently taken advantage of the town of Northfield. The profit from this project has far surpassed anything that has accrued to Northfield over the past many years.

The ski area, trails, park, and education center with its creative programs and welcoming events have been good for the town. But the degrading of our river and river banks, and of our fisheries, has not.

Northfield wants to attract tourists and encourage local business. Better access to the beautiful river that flows through our center would bring people to town. But because the river’s height fluctuates wildly as the pump storage project draws up and releases water sporadically, Northfield’s river banks are thickly muddy, changeable and almost totally impossible to access.

Northfield might have a beautiful swimming and boating beach along the Connecticut River. But because of the Pump Storage Project, this is not a possibility.

The project is not even ecologically sound. More energy is needed to pump water up from the river than is created by its release. FirstLight profits by selling generated electricity and Northfield loses all its usable riverbanks. No other town along the Connecticut River is impacted as negatively as Northfield with so little compensation.

Because of the fish kill caused by FirstLight and the negative impact this project has on the river’s ecology, no relicense should be given.

If a relicense is permitted, FirstLight should pony up a lot more to our town to pay for what they have taken away for the last many years and plan on doing for the next 50. Northfield’s future as a tourist destination depends on the attraction of our river. That attraction is blighted and destroyed by the operation of FirstLight’s pump storage project.

Patter Field



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