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Transportation & Climate Initiative Touted for Benefits to Rural Communities
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
06:04AM / Sunday, November 15, 2020
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State  WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A multi-state plan to reduce carbon emissions and invest in more sustainable transportation could be in action as soon as 2022, advocates said last week.   And local leaders are working to make sure that rural areas don't get left behind.   The Transportation and Climate Initiative, which looks to replicate the model of the 2007's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, seeks to cap greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, create a market for distributors of fossil fuels to buy allowances and invest the proceeds of those sales into cleaner transportation.   By the end of this year, the 12 states and District of

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Berkshire Conservation District Receives State Grant
02:45PM / Thursday, November 05, 2020
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BOSTON — The Berkshire Conservation District received $25,000 from the state for phase 2 of their Nutrient Management Initiative program.    The Baker-Polito Administration announced more than $8.7 million in grant awards to municipalities and land trusts to support the acquisition and conservation of over 676 acres of land throughout the Commonwealth.    "Massachusetts' open spaces are a significant asset to our state, providing recreational opportunities to residents across the Commonwealth while also helping to build resiliency to the impacts of climate change," Governor Charlie Baker said.  "Our administration is proud to fund these

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State Announces Final Order on Eversource Gas Rates
11:34AM / Monday, November 02, 2020
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BOSTON — The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has issued a final Order in a rate case for NSTAR Gas Company, doing business as Eversource Energy, that will lead to investments in clean energy technologies, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and improvements in infrastructure safety and service reliability, while significantly reducing the total rate increase request of Eversource.    The action by the DPU follows a year-long investigation that included four public hearings across Eversource Energy's service territory, 12 days of virtual evidentiary hearings, and a review of approximately 1,800 exhibits. The Order applies only to customers who are provided gas

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Berkshire Grown Awarded $68K to Support Local Farmers
12:30PM / Saturday, October 31, 2020
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BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration awarded $500,000 in grants to regional Buy Local organizations across the Commonwealth for projects that will support the agricultural industries in Massachusetts.    These organizations work to generate consumer awareness and demand for locally grown food products while improving logistical access to these important food sources.   In Berkshire County, Berkshire Grown of Great Barrington received $67,719 to support farmers and food access in the time of COVID-19 with consumer-supportive winter farmers markets, increased recognition of Massachusetts agriculture, and strengthen the business enterprise of local

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DPU Assessing Future of Natural Gas in Massachusetts
08:14AM / Friday, October 30, 2020
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BOSTON — The Department of Public Utilities issued an order opening an investigation into the role of local natural gas distribution companies in the future of the Commonwealth's energy portfolio following the Baker-Polito Administration's determination of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as Massachusetts' legal emissions limit for 2050.    As part of the investigation, the DPU will assess the role of gas companies in ensuring a low-carbon future and explore strategies that enable the Commonwealth to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while safeguarding ratepayer interests and securing safe, reliable, and affordable natural gas

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Butterflies Like it Hot at Mountain Meadow
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
02:26PM / Sunday, October 25, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Adventuresome butterflies highlight the widespread nectar oases in a special habitat teaming with nectar to meet their spurious flight demands.    Thanks to lucid awareness of the ecological value of so many concurrent species — upwards to 30 — the Trustees of Reservations has saved these 20 acres called Mountain Meadow Preserve. Although seldom seen altogether since they have different flight periods, and separate nectar preferences, a surprising assortment of butterflies can be seen imbibing at the same plant.    What a potpourri! Hardly a dull moment in July.   Milkweed reached peak bloom by July 1 with signs of

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MassDEP Issues Penalty to Cretecrew Concrete Services for Waste Site Cleanup Violations
12:21PM / Monday, October 19, 2020
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BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced it has assessed a $31,000 penalty to Cretecrew Concrete Services, Inc., a concrete foundation company based in Westfield, for failing to complete cleanup of a hydraulic oil spill that occurred at a construction site in Chicopee.   On Sept. 20, 2019, the Chicopee Fire Department notified MassDEP regarding the spill of up to 15 gallons of hydraulic oil associated with the failure of a hydraulic hose on a concrete form truck owned and operated by Cretecrew. The spill occurred at a construction site at 114 McKinstry Avenue in Chicopee.    MassDEP staff inspected the site that day and

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State Announces Rule Prohibiting Use of HFC Pollutants
12:35PM / Friday, October 16, 2020
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BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration released a proposed regulation to prohibit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions nationally and in Massachusetts.    HFCs are currently used in certain end-use products, such as aerosols, air conditioners and chillers, refrigeration units and foams. The regulations will help to significantly reduce local GHG emissions and will place the Commonwealth in line with 16 other states adopting comparable HFC regulations or legislation, coordinated by the U.S. Climate Alliance (USCA).   “Building on our Administration's ongoing commitment to fight climate change,

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Sheffield Land Trustís Spring Bulb Giveaway
01:18PM / Wednesday, October 07, 2020
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SHEFFIELD, Mass. — The Sheffield Land Trust will hold a spring bulb giveaway on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 10 am to 2 pm in the parking lot of Sheffield’s Bushnell-Sage Library.   At the bulb giveaway, people will have a choice of six types of early bloomers: white daffodils, squill, glory of the snow, snow drops, species crocus, and a particularly squirrel-proof type of crocus known as "tommies."    The Land Trust will give away 1,000 of each type of bulb, one bag per person, with five daffodil bulbs to a bag and ten per bag of the other types.   "With spring temperatures warming up earlier than usual because of climate change, pollinators like

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State Urges Residents to Report Signs of Invasive Spotted Lanternfly
08:49AM / Monday, September 28, 2020
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BOSTON, Mass. — The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced that it has identified two dead specimens of the spotted lanternfly (SLF) in communities, and is urging residents to report any sign of the invasive pest.    The specimens were recovered in the towns of Milford and Norwood and were brought into Massachusetts on materials shipped from Pennsylvania counties currently under a spotted lanternfly quarantine.   Additionally, MDAR was recently notified that nursery stock with spotted lanternfly egg masses and adults may have been unintentionally imported and planted in several parts of Massachusetts.   MDAR is urging anyone who has

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