Greening Greenfield

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Under FirstLight’s banner, a ruined Connecticut River…

Posted by on 27 Jun 2022 | Tagged as: Connecticut River, Extinction Rebellion, FirstLight, FirstLight Power, Greening Greenfield, Nolumbeka, Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station, Peskeomscut, Turners Falls Massacre

Under FirstLight’s banner, a ruined river…

June 23, 2022, 7:40 pm. The Connecticut River, starved of its rivebed flow at Turners Falls dam by FirstLight.

On the evening of June 23, 2022, activists called out the lethal ongoing operation of FirstLight’s Northfield Mountain at a FirstLight-paid-for Greenfield High School program featuring Native American author Robin Kimmerer. They called for Northfield to be shut down; its killing halted immediately. The program was presented and co-sponsored by Nolumbeka and Greening Greenfield.

The stilled riverbed below Turners Falls dam, 7:30 pm, June 23, 2022. In the middle, upper right is a tiny green bump called Peskeomscutt Island. As you can see, the river is so water-starved it cannot be called an “island.” You can walk there. This is part of the area where, in the pre-dawn hours of May 19, 1676, the Turners Falls Massacre took place.

Keeping faith with the Connecticut River, Extinction Rebellion activists trespassed onto the deck above FirstLight’s deadly Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station on June 1, 2022, demanding its immediate shutdown.

FirstLight, owned by Canada’s global venture capital giant Public Sector Pension Investments, has been brilliant in buying up PR with modest little bits of quiet seed money to a few local school systems, non-profits and organizations like Nolumbeka and Greening Greenfield. Nolumbeka took $50,000.

The broken, starved Connecticut River between Greenfield and Turners Falls.

MEANWHILE, they’ve taken their real cash over to New York State, New Jersey–and most recently, Pennsylvania. There, this spring, they wedged their venture capital MILLIONS into river facility purchases along the Allegheny River. Green-washing is cheap, but for them, so are rivers…

FirstLight Power AGAIN GREEN-WASHED in Greenfield Public Schools

Posted by on 20 Jun 2022 | Tagged as: Connecticut River, Connecticut River ecosystem, Extinction Rebellion, FERC license, FirstLight Power, Greening Greenfield, Massachusetts DEP, Massachusetts Division of Fish & Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service, Nolumbeka, Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station, public trust, Silvio O. Conte Connecticut River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, The Greenfield Recorder, US Fish & Wildlife Service

FirstLight Power is again being green-washed in the Greenfield Public School system

Extinction Rebellion activists calling for the immediate shutdown of FirstLight’s Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station, June 1, 2022. Photo Copyright © 2022 by Karl Meyer

THE FOLLOWING was a rather unfortunate and transparent attempt to entice truth-tellers away from the facts about sponsoring the deadliness of FirstLight’s grim venture capital cash cow–the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station and its monstrous impacts on the strangled Connecticut River here in Franklin County for the last half century. They were seeking to shunt away any controversy and gloss over FirstLight’s unending carnage–in a corporate-funded, green-washed sponsorship ploy, set to take place in a Greenfield public school. Apparently embarrassed, they sought to co-opt and pull others under FirstLight’s sullied public relations blanket…

“June 2, 2022 June 23rd, Robin Kimmerer

hi Karl and _____,
Last night Greening Greenfield agreed to partner with Nolembeka Project in hosting Robin at Greenfield High School. Discussion included possible protests because the event is being financed by a grant of $50,000 (!) from First Light. So we talked about offering your groups (river flow and preserving forests – is that yours ____ or is it someone else?) the option to have tables at the event in the hall outside the auditorium. If you are interested, get in touch with Diane Dix with Nolumbeka (If i can find her email i’ll forward it).
Sandra Boston”

You might see why I found it’s subtle trickery inappropriate and unworthy of a response. I don’t really know Sandra Boston. We’ve never corresponded. I didn’t reply.

It had arrived on the morning of June 2, 2022, the day after my blog post describing the actions of over half a dozen Extinction Rebellion Activists challenging the unconscionable, deadly, daily extinguishment of the Connecticut River’s life and ecosystem functions by FirstLight’s 50 year old Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station, It was also addressed to one other person, and others are mentioned whose names I’ve left off to respect their privacy.

What seems readily apparent is these sponsorships seek to keep the company’s grim ecosystem record and carnage quiet, they don’t want their relationship with the company and it’s death machine revealed while accepting the fruits of it’s poisoned tree.

At center it concerns the “free,” “public” program to be presented at the Greenfield High School this Thursday, June 23rd, sponsored by–and made possible via a big chunka-change (note the $50K!!) from FirstLight Power(now-Delaware tax-sheltered and parent-owned by Canadian global venture capital giant Public Sector Pension Investments), gifted to the Nolumbeka Project, and now–by extension, Greening Greenfield. As someone who has spent two decades writing about Northfield Mountain’s abject river brutality, it was a most unwelcome and insulting ploy. Here is the last piece I wrote on the subject in The Recorder, just a month prior:

What also seems quite likely is that the distinguished and celebrated author coming to present at Greenfield High School has little understanding of FirstLight’s grim plans for river-killing and profiteering out of the very soul of the Connecticut River for the coming half century. There was much misdirection apparent here. Any of the leaders of these entities could have reached out to me directly.

A week later–carrying water and working in the shadows for the program’s presenting sponsors, Nolumbeka and Greening Greenfield, there came this follow-up email from Ms.Boston:

“June 7, 2022, Robin Wall Kimmerer June 23

hi _____ and Karl
I told Diane Dix I had contacted you about a table at the event at GHS on the 23rd and she called me today wanting to know if I had heard from you. If you are interested could you please contact Diane at and let her know? thanks.and _____, would you mention this to _____ in case the _____ committee would like to have a table at the event? they would be welcome too. Greening Greenfield is going to have a table too.
ps let me know if you are not interested by replying to this email and i’ll let diane know.

The Auditorium entrance of Greenfield High School. Photo Copyright © 2022 by Karl Meyer

After giving it a bit more thought, I decided I wanted to be clear that I wanted nothing whatsoever to do with this sorry bit of green-washing–particularly at the grim time when the future of a living Connecticut River ecosystem is at stake.

The following, line-by-line, is my reply. I hope they’ve now noted I will ALWAYS stand with the River and its People:

“I do not have a “group,” but find your solicitation rather creepy.

I can’t figure out exactly on who’s behalf you are “green washing”: venture capital giant PSP Investments and FirstLight, or Nolumbeka, or Greening Greenfield?

Anyway, as a journalist, citizen and stakeholder I’m always ready to offer my voice and knowledge on behalf of a living Connecticut River and a life-sustaining ecosystem. But not under the aegis of a sponsor capitalizing on killing them.

FirstLight’s monstrous machine is a continuing assault on both, and being asked to collaborate under their money-tent is particularly insulting.

Conversely, would’ve loved to explain river-crushing pumped storage from the stage!

Hey, perhaps its time to reconsider that creepy sponsorship?

I do hope the author fully understands whose tent she’ll be speaking under…


A river without a watchdog:The Connecticut River on Juneteenth/Father’s Day, water-starved and failing in Franklin County for 50 years due to the monstrous suck-and-surge appetite of the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station. FirstLight’s FERC license to operate Northfield expired on April 30, 2018, yet FERC and the responsible agencies let the killing continue. Photo Copyright © 2022 by Karl Meyer.

FirstLight deserves no honor; and certainly no place in our Public Schools. They have starved the river for profit, and taken their profits to Delaware. Attempts to quash facts and public engagement and protests are not honorable stances in a democratic society. The public has a right to know, but sitting under a FirstLight banner at a Greenfield public school sits in direct opposition to honoring the facts and democratic values.

These are things I believe Robin Kimmerer would agree with. I hope they’ve been honest with her regarding the facts of her sponsored appearance…

Greening Greenfield’s “Green Hero” for September

Posted by on 11 Sep 2015 | Tagged as: 5-year FERC licensing process, Connecticut River, Connecticut River ecosystem, Connecticut River migratory fisheries restoration, Connecticut River shortnose sturgeon, federally-endangered shortnose sturgeon, FERC licensing process, Fish passage results, Greenfield Recorder, Greening Greenfield, Holyoke Fish Lift, National Marine Fisheries Service, NMFS, Northfield Mountain, Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project, Rock Dam, shortnose sturgeon, teachers, The Recorder, Turners Falls dam, Turners Falls power canal, US Fish & Wildlife Service, USFWS

Greening Greenfield’s “Green Hero” for September

I’ve had the honor of being selected as Greening Greenfield’s “Green Hero” for September, 2015. The award was announced in the pages of The Recorder on September 9th; the text from that piece is attached below.

Thanks to all the people of Greening Greenfield for extending me that recognition—as well as focusing on the importance of the critical artery in Western New England’s ecosystem, the Connecticut River. Greening Greenfield has been hard at work locally on issues of climate and sustainability for over a decade. Their efforts reach into all aspects of local energy, economy, and quality of life issues. They’ve made great strides in steering Greenfield toward an environmental future that will nourish coming generations. .

A special thanks from me to Susan and Dorothy.

Text of The Recorder piece follows:

A Passion for the Connecticut River

The first thing you notice about Karl Meyer is that his eyes light up when he speaks about the Connecticut River and the fish that live in it. His commitment and enthusiasm shows through in his words and in every action he takes.

In the 1970s’, Karl was interested in the river for its scenic qualities. But in the 1980’s, he visited Holyoke fishway during May spawning season and observed some of the more than a million fish moving through lifts there. One year 720,000 American Shad and 500,000 blueback herring came through the river at Holyoke. That image never left him.

Since that time, Karl has concentrated on the needs of the fish in the river, with a particular concern for American shad and the shortnose sturgeon, an endangered species. Karl believes the Connecticut’s restoration concentrated on the wrong species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put a great deal of effort into stocking the river and building fish ladders for Atlantic salmon, a fish extinct here since 1809. That emphasis diverted attention from shortnose sturgeon, shad, and blueback herring, none of which benefit very much from those Turners Falls fish ladders which diverted all migrants into the Turners Falls power canal.

In 2015, 410,000 American shad passed through Holyoke, but because they are diverted out of the river and into the power canal only 60,000, fewer than 15%, made it past Turners Falls to reach open, upstream spawning grounds. This is clearly unsustainable. Today’s US Fish & Wildlife Service passage goal is 60% passing Turners Falls. Their original 1967 target was 75%.

With fewer fish making it to food-rich, open habitats, fewer newborn fish survive. There will be fewer fish for eagles, herons and osprey, and fewer for anglers and the public to consume. Eventually 15% of very little will result in the failure of the restoration to return vibrant shad runs to three target states.

Karl has a simple solution for this problem. Require life-giving flows in the river throughout spawning and migration season. When fish aren’t diverted into a turbine-lined power canal they’ll have a much greater possibility of making it to spawning grounds in MA, VT and NH. It’s a last chance for river restoration.

The other great danger to river health is the Northfield Mountain Pumping Station. It draws on the 20 miles of river backed up behind Turners Falls Dam, pumping it uphill to a 5 billion gallon reservoir. Northfield hugely impacts river flows and migration.

“An original design proposal had Northfield closing during migration and spawning season. Implementing that today would return more natural flows to the river. It would allow fish to migrate directly upriver in natural habitat, and let sturgeon gather and spawn successfully at their ancient Rock Dam spawning site,” stated Karl.

So how do we encourage this change? Easy. Right now the Northfield and Turners Falls/Cabot Station facilities are both up for 30-year relicensing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). We can all comment on the relicensing of these plants at The FERC project number for Northfield is P-2485; Cabot Station is P-1889. Advocating that our river run free during spawning and migration season could make a huge difference in improving the health of the Connecticut.

Karl would like to see local high schools adopt the National Marine Fisheries Service’s SCUTES Program and encourage monitoring of tagged, adult shortnose sturgeon at their ONLY documented natural spawning site, The Rock Dam in Turners Falls. By developing an awareness of the numbers and needs of these endangered fish, students will build a new relationship to this river.

For his tireless work to create a healthy Connecticut River and a vibrant fish population within it, Karl Meyer is our Green Hero for the month of September.