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State Looking To Plant 2,400 Trees in Pittsfield
Staff Reports,
01:13AM / Friday, April 22, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state is looking to plant some 800 trees per year in the city of Pittsfield over the next three years.   Pittsfield was chosen as part of the Greening the Gateway Cities program through which the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation plants trees in urban environments. The program targets the 26 so-called Gateway Cities and will plant the trees in areas where there are currently low canopy levels.   "The Greening the Gateway Cities Program serves as an excellent example of a strong partnership between state government, local municipalities, and dedicated organizations working together to ultimately benefit generations of

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Kinder Morgan Suspends Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline Project
Staff Reports,
05:35PM / Wednesday, April 20, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Kinder Morgan has suspended the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project, which was planned to cut through the Berkshires.   The company released a statement Wednesday evening announcing the suspension of work on the $3.3 billion project.   "As a result of inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers, Kinder Morgan Inc. and its subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, have suspended further work and expenditures on the Northeast Energy Direct Project," reads the statement from the company.    The project was announced in 2015 and the company said it had received a number of commitments from local gas distribution

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Senate Candidate Del Gallo Takes Strong Anti-Pipeline Stance
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:32AM / Tuesday, April 19, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Rinaldo Del Gallo spent a long time getting the city to pass a ban on Styrofoam. And he's continued to press for a ban on plastic bags. Those type of environmental concerns have always been a priority.   Now he is running for the open state Senate seat, though he hasn't made the official announcement yet, and he didn't expect any difference in opinions among the other Democratic candidates when it comes the proposed natural gas pipeline project. But, he was wrong.   Both Adam Hinds and Andrea Harrington did not take a stance when asked during interviews with WAMC earlier this year, a move Del Gallo feels is

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Pittsfield Board Denies Permit for Solar Field
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
07:11AM / Sunday, April 17, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city's Zoning Board of Appeals struck down a proposed solar array site in west Pittsfield, following opposition from residential neighbors abutting the land.

By a 3-2 vote, the board ruled against the request from Aegis Renewable Energy to construct a 2.6-megawatt solar facility on undeveloped Churchill Street land.

The project had faced substantial neighbor opposition at a prior public hearing on Feb. 24, prompting developers to look at ways that its visual impact could be reduced with vegetative screening.

James Scalise of SK Design said that while the initial plan called for "a fairly dense screen" (berm) of plantings to obscure the solar

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Activist Protest Pipeline As Court Case Over Easements Begin
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:49PM / Friday, April 15, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A court case with the potential for massive long-term repercussions regarding natural gas pipelines began to play out Friday.

Outside of Berkshire Superior Court, around a hundred activists gathered to protest Kinder Morgan's plans.

The Texas-based pipeline company has two proposed routes cutting through Berkshire County. The Connecticut expansion is eyed to cut through Sandisfield and has become the subject of a lawsuit in which the corporation is seeking the ability to cut trees to begin construction on land the state constitution protects.   The company is seeking a two-mile easement through the Otis State Forest and believes under the

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Pittsfield Board Seeks Greener Power From Aggregation Plan
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Correspondent
12:43AM / Monday, April 11, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Green Commission wants an increase in more "local" renewable energy sources to be part of the the city's emerging power aggregation plan, though the primary focus of the new energy-buying compact will be to try to reduce costs for residential and commercial customers.

Under the new aggregation plan, Pittsfield ratepayers will be able to opt into a system by which their buying power is pooled in an attempt to secure lower supplier rates for end users. In most respects, the draft Municipal Aggregation Plan is comparable to those of other communities in the commonwealth, but has been slightly modified to incorporate a number of comments received

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Lanesborough Selectmen Ask Board of Health to Limit Backyard Fowl
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:01AM / Wednesday, March 30, 2016
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — After town meeting tabled a vote to implement new regulations on backyard fowl, the Board of Selectmen are asking the Board of Health to adopt such a measure.   The Selectmen approved on Monday sending two new regulations to the Board of Health, which will not need town meeting approval. The first would limit the number of animals on a property less than one acre and the other would call for owners of fowl to register with Town Hall.   "The main focus of it is, people who are on lots of less than one acre," Town Manager Paul Sieloff said.    The Board of Health only needs a public hearing and a vote to approve the new policies. If

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USDA Conservation Stewardship Program Accepting Applications
02:10PM / Tuesday, February 09, 2016
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AMHERST, Mass. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has $150 million in funding available for agricultural producers across the country through the Conservation Stewardship Program, a federal conservation program that helps farmers voluntarily improve the health and productivity of private and Tribal working lands.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to add an estimated 10 million acres to the rolls of CSP during fiscal 2016.

"The Conservation Stewardship Program helps farmers boost soil and air quality, conserve clean water and enhance wildlife habitat," said Christine Clarke, NRCS state conservationist. "With this investment, we'll enable

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Dunkin Donuts Asks For Extension On Pittsfield's Styrofoam Ban
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:37AM / Friday, February 05, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Dunkin' Donuts is asking for a year's extension to comply with the city's Styrofoam ban.   Attorney Pierce Haley, representing Dunkin Brands, asked the Board of Health on Thursday for the extension as the company waits on the development of a lid for 24-ounce containers. Haley said the company has been looking to transition away from the polystyrene containers but needs another year or else it won't be able to serve its larger beverage sizes.   "I don't think we are going to need anything more than one extension. They've been working hard to do this for a while," Haley said.   Those members attending took no action

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Pittsfield To Update Parks and Open Space Plan
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:37AM / Friday, January 22, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is looking to use $25,000 from the governor's Community Compact program to update its parks and open spaces plan.   The seven-year plan expired in 2015 and needs to be updated so the city is eligible for state grants to make improvements to parks.   Previously, the plan called for improvements to Wahconah Park, which saw upgrades to the sound system and lighting, and the First Street Common, which has been completely renovated with state funds. The updated plan will identify new priorities for state funds.   "It is something we would be looking to engage in this spring and early summer," Parks and Open Space Manager James

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