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Greenagers Offers Youth Nature-Based Work Amidst Pandemic
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
07:11AM / Thursday, November 26, 2020
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A local youth environment community group has not let COVID-19 halt its stride.

Greenagers has continued its commitment to outdoor programming amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic to offer teenagers and young adults nature-based work and socially distant connections.

Executive Director Will Conklin and Conservation Director Elia Del Molino felt it was appropriate to extend this programming into the fall and winter this year so that members will continue to have meaningful and safe work and connections.

"We are so grateful for companies and organizations that utilize our services and give us work to teach and learn about the importance of our natural

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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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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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Giving Garden Uses Grant Funds to Increase Produce Donations
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:02AM / Monday, October 19, 2020
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Giving Garden at Pittsfield Church of Christ is expanding to feed more community members thanks to a nearly $11,000 grant from the state.

Garden coordinator Gordon Clark said the two small hoop houses put up through donations has really increased what it can offer. The grant will fund a large hoop house should help provide even more vegetables for local food pantries.

"This grant is an incredible gift to our garden and to our community," said Clark. "When food budgets are tight, choices are often limited to inexpensive carbohydrates and processed foods. But during our growing season our neighbors who rely on food pantries can select fresh,

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Pittsfield Farmers Market Successfully Goes Digital for 2020
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
06:31AM / Sunday, October 18, 2020
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Farmers Market went virtual this to serve the community in a safe and effective manner during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The market is a program of Roots Rising, an award-winning nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower youth and build community through food and farming.   When confronted with the novel coronavirus pandemic, Roots Rising co-Directors Jamie Samowitz and Jess Vecchia quickly went into emergency response mode to figure out how they could best serve the community. They came out with a plan for a Virtual Farmers Market with the same values as the in-person market: food justice and affordable, accessible, local

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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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