Seeking transparency in relicensing process

Published: 1/6/2022 6:54:26 AM
Modified: 1/6/2022 6:53:46 AM

I was heartened to read Betsy Corner’s Jan. 3 Recorder letter, “Common sense.” Corner highlighted the lack of transparency in the corporate bid to relicense Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station’s continued operations on the Connecticut River. What owner FirstLight termed “final” license negotiating sessions with MA Fish & Wildlife, Mass. DEP, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries were slated to take place under corporate-required confidentiality agreements last month. Those dealings are likely not yet complete; with no tentative agreement before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as yet.

As Corner stated, “Residents of the Connecticut Valley must have a transparent licensing process, not the closed door one that has been ongoing.”

As a stakeholder in this FERC process since 2012, I’ve committed much time and energy in keeping information before the public while this massively impactful process has continued for nearly a decade. I refused FirstLight’s secrecy pledge in order to share information about the massive fish killing and environmental damage Northfield has caused annually for a half century.

In the past month a virtual avalanche of on-the-record public testimony opposing Northfield’s relicensing has been entered into the FERC docket for the commission’s consideration. No less than 55 citizens from as far away as Putney Vermont and Foxboro have called for a license denial. But by far the vast majority of filings have been from local cities and towns including Springfield, Westfield, Northampton, Holyoke, Deerfield, Wendell, Colrain, Greenfield, Bernardston, Northfield and others. All have spoken against relicensing.

You can witness that on-the-record outpouring at www.ferc.gov; click on the eLibary link; a new page opens showing “Enter Docket Number” on the right. Type in “P-2485” in that box and a list opens showing all names. Easier still, view most of them, verbatim — since Dec. 20, at www.karlmeyerwriting.com/blog.

Karl Meyer

Greenfield


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