2021 Earth Week event
Great River Survival Walk highlights eco-plight of Connecticut River, Saturday, April 24, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Environmental justice for the Connecticut River will be the focus of a community walk through the beautiful French King Gorge to the intake tunnels of the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project up river. The walk will start at 10:30 on Dorsey Road in Erving, in the shadow of the French King Bridge, and proceed 1.5 miles along the Franklin County Bikeway to the pump storage intake tunnels. It then returns to the bridge starting point, around 12:30 pm.
Anna Gyorgy’s OpEd in the Montague Reporter connects our local nukes to the Northfield pumping station:
“Northfield originally was expected to consume excess energy produced by a number of planned nuclear units during evening hours and generate electricity during peak hours when power was needed most. During the 1970s, construction of some of those nuclear units did not come to fruition.”
So what a good idea that seemed! As these grid-feeding colossi (twin 1,500 MW nuclear reactors were proposed for the Montague Plains in late 1973) must be located near rivers, to supply the massive amounts of cooling water for the reactors – killing more fish and heating the rivers – why not use that “extra” nighttime power to pump river water up to a holding pond, to release through turbines later?
The fact that “construction of some of those nuclear units did not come to fruition” is of course thanks to a dedicated grassroots movement supported by a few scientists revealing the immense dangers involved. After years of government lies, these were hard for the general public to believe – until the 1979 nuclear meltdown at one of the Three Mile Island nukes near Harrisburg, PA. What you can’t see can harm you.
The nuclear plant in Rowe was closed and nuclear plans in Montague canceled. Finally, in 2014, the dangerous Vermont Yankee plant succumbed to sustained citizen pressure – and its own history of leaks and accidents.
But one quite tragic “appendix” to the nuclear story is the related pumped storage, now using other energy sources to provide its rationale for using more energy than it produces, at tremendous cost to fish and friends.
Back before fracked gas pipe-lines threatened, local residents in Western Mass learned about and fought to stop the nukes. Me too. But I admit that I was not aware of the related aspect and dangers of the pumped storage project.
Along the walk’s route, energy experts and community leaders will discuss problems caused by the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station, which daily forces masses of Connecticut River water up to a reservoir for later release for electrical generation. Tens of millions of fish and aquatic animals are killed annually, reports journalist and relicensing stakeholder Karl Meyer, who will be one of the speakers along the route. See his article: License to continue killing a river (VtDigger).
The Traprock Center for Peace & Justice and co-sponsors thus far: Citizens Awareness Network; Safe & Green Campaign VT; and the Enviro Radio Show, invite all interested to walk or bike along this beautiful section of the river, while learning about the ecological dangers that make it so treacherous for fish and aquatic life.Rain or shine. Children most welcome. Bring masks, water and snacks, please no pets.
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