housatonic river | WAMC

housatonic river

A man and a boy hold signs in a meeting room
Josh Landes / WAMC

The 50th anniversary Earth Day in Berkshire County came as local environmental groups find themselves on opposite sides of a plan to continue a long-delayed cleanup of the Housatonic River.

Mayor Linda Tyer holds a "Tyer For Mayor" sign in front of a brick wall
Josh Landes / WAMC

On Thursday, Pittsfield, Massachusetts held a chaotic public meeting about the controversial new EPA mediated Rest Of River cleanup plan for the Housatonic River. The plan has attracted vocal opposition from some county residents, largely in response to the creation of a new toxic waste dump in Lee. For some Pittsfielders at the meeting, the plan stirred up painful feelings of betrayal from the city’s long history of pollution by General Electric. Mayor Linda Tyer spoke with WAMC that night about why she chose to sign on to the agreement.

People hold colorful signs while sitting in rows of auditorium seats
Josh Landes / WAMC

Last night, a meeting in Pittsfield about the Environmental Protection Agency-mediated Rest Of River agreement for the cleanup of the Housatonic River devolved into chaos.

Josh Landes / WAMC

For decades, corporate giant General Electric polluted the Housatonic River with chemicals from its Pittsfield, Massachusetts factory. A documentary filmmaker from Berkshire County was just finishing a movie about the ongoing saga of the river, the communities along it, and the activists battling for a voice in its future. When news broke on February 10th that a deal had been hammered out between GE and the towns adjacent to the river in Berkshire County, it sparked protest from locals opposed to the plan, which would create a new landfill in Lee. Now, Aaron Kalischer-Coggins says his documentary – “The River Guards” – will have a new ending.

A man and a boy hold signs in a meeting room
Josh Landes / WAMC

Reaction is mixed today after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement to carry out a new cleanup of the polluted Housatonic River.

The Housatonic River
Housatonic Valley Association

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced a settlement designed to further clean up the Housatonic River in western Massachusetts and Connecticut. 

The Housatonic River
Housatonic Valley Association

Tonight in Lenox, Massachusetts, state and federal officials will hold a public meeting to discuss how to spend General Electric settlement money on the polluted Housatonic River Watershed.

The Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public meeting in the Berkshires Monday.

After rising toxicity rates in Pittsfield, Massachusetts led municipal leaders to ask for answers, a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency is responding.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Pittsfield has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to design a park along the Housatonic River.

www.laurakozlowski.com

Renowned environmentalist Sandra Steingraber is expected to speak at Lenox Memorial High School in western Massachusetts at 5 p.m. Saturday about how PCBs, fracked gas and pipelines impact the environment and human health. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief JD Allen spoke with Steingraber, a biologist and author, about some of the region’s major environmental problems. 

This is a picture of a stretch of the Housatonic River undergoing remediation in 2012.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team

At an Environmental Appeals Board in Washington Thursday, General Electric disputed the EPA’s current plan that calls for the company to pay to remove PCBs from the Housatonic River in Western Massachusetts.  

A stretch of the Housatonic River under remediation.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team

The Environmental Protection Agency has made final modifications to its 13-year, $613 million cleanup plan for the Housatonic River. PCBs from General Electric’s now shuttered Pittsfield, Massachusetts facility have contaminated the waterway. EPA Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding spoke with WAMC about the restoration effort.

A stretch of the Housatonic River under remediation.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team

General Electric says it's "disappointed" by a decision upholding the Environmental Protection Agency's plan that requires the company to clean chemicals from a western Massachusetts river.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that General Electric issued a statement Wednesday indicating that it may appeal Tuesday's decision upholding the $613 million proposal. It would have a 30-day window after the EPA issues its final cleanup permit.

This is a picture of Denny Alsop working on his canoe
Facebook: Denny Alsop

The member of the Housatonic River Initiative who is canoeing his way across Massachusetts to raise awareness of the importance of clean water is expected to arrive in Pittsfield Monday.

This is a picture of Denny Alsop working on his canoe
Facebook: Denny Alsop

A member of the Housatonic River Initiative is leaving Monday for a month-long canoe trip across Massachusetts to raise awareness of the importance of clean water.

A stretch of the Housatonic River undergoing remediation in 2012.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team

General Electric is moving forward on dispute resolutions with the EPA, saying the agency’s cleanup plan for the Housatonic River cannot be reconciled. The company dumped PCBs into the waterway from its Pittsfield facility until the chemical was banned in 1977.

This is a picture of a stretch of the Housatonic River undergoing remediation in 2012.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team

General Electric is moving forward on dispute resolutions with the EPA, saying the agency’s cleanup plan for the Housatonic River cannot be reconciled. The company dumped PCBs into the waterway from its Pittsfield facility until the chemical was banned in 1977.

This is a picture of a stretch of the Housatonic River undergoing remediation in 2012.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team

The Environmental Protection Agency is not backing away from its cleanup plans for the Housatonic River in the face of challenges by General Electric.

This is a picture of a stretch of the Housatonic River undergoing remediation in 2012.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team

The back and forth between the Environmental Protection Agency and General Electric over the cleanup of the Housatonic River continues. In the latest move, the company is railing against the agency’s remediation proposal.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

General Electric is pushing back against the EPA’s intended final cleanup plan for the Housatonic River whose waters were contaminated by the company’s former Pittsfield facility.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

The Environmental Protection Agency has updated its cleanup plan for the Housatonic River, which was contaminated by chemicals from Pittsfield’s General Electric facility.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

General Electric disagrees with the Environmental Protection Agency’s cleanup plan for the contaminated Housatonic River. The company argues the proposal goes against EPA precedents, causing unnecessary destruction to the river’s ecosystem and the lives of people living nearby.

Southern Berkshire Regional School District

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other groups in western New England work on a cleanup plan for the Housatonic River, two area high school seniors are taking their thoughts on the river overseas.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a public hearing on the agency’s cleanup plan for the Housatonic River Tuesday night in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

Representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are holding a public hearing tonight on the agency’s cleanup plan for the Housatonic River tonight in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has formally extended the public comment period for its cleanup plan of the Housatonic River. General Electric released PCBs into the waterway until the substance was banned in the 1970s.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

More than 100 people turned out for a public meeting in Lenox, Massachusetts Wednesday night to hear the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to clean the Housatonic River from Pittsfield to the Long Island Sound.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

An informational public meeting detailing the U.S. EPA’s proposal to clean the Housatonic River will be held in Lenox tonight.

The 13-year, $613 million Rest of the River plan would involve active corrective measures along 10-and-a half miles of the river from Pittsfield to Lenox.

General Electric would pay for the project as its Pittsfield plant released PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, into the waterway from the 1930s until the substance was banned in 1977.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a plan to clean the Housatonic River stretching from Pittsfield, Massachusetts to the Long Island Sound.

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