Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage

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My Turn: What’s going on with Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station


Modified: 3/9/2023 4:44:02 PM

FirstLight, the Canadian venture capital investment parent of the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station, in its attempt to obtain another 50-year license to operate, is now required to provide biweekly reports to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on its progress in securing signatures to the Agreement(s) in Principle (AIP) with identified stakeholders. One only has to review the entries in the FERC Docket (P-2485) to follow FirstLight’s delayed and failed attempts to meet its own requested deadlines and FERC’s complicity in these delays.

On Aug. 21, FERC allowed the state Department of Environmental Protection request of a delay in the issuance of the Ready for Environmental Assessment to November 2021 to allow FirstLight to complete its AIP(s) with the identified stakeholders. At this point FirstLight stated, “substantial progress has been made on a settlement” and indicated they intended to file the AIP(s) in June 2022.

In August 2022, FirstLight told FERC again that “substantial progress had been made,” and that a final agreement would be filed by Dec. 31, 2022.

On Jan. 4, 2023, FirstLight reported that some agreements had been reached and were being circulated for signatures. FirstLight indicated its intent to file further agreements by March 31, although FERC required bi-weekly updates from FirstLight. On Jan. 24, “FirstLight received an emailed letter from a subset of settlement parties, also addressed to Rebecca Tepper, Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for Massachusetts and distributed to a number of Massachusetts political offices, requesting a meeting to discuss the current state of settlement.”

On Feb. 10, FirstLight informed FERC that a full settlement agreement meeting was held on Feb. 3, with another scheduled for Feb. 17. There were still no new signed agreements. FirstLight expressed an intent to present a Comprehensive Agreement in Principle, but noted if this were not possible, FirstLight would provide those agreements that were reached by March 31.

Common sense would conclude that either FirstLight is having difficulty obtaining the AIP(s) or that FirstLight is not motivated to obtain the AIP(s), more likely both. Why wouldn’t “stakeholders” be on board with FirstLight’s Pumped Storage Station, if it were the environmental panacea FirstLight claims it to be, especially considering the ever present climate emergency?

Why wouldn’t FirstLight want to delay this and every other process for as long as possible? FirstLight’s license expired in 2018, and since then it has been running free of additional agreements and investment, skimming the top and leaving the bottom. FirstLight takes this cream, $158 million in 2019, and stashes it in a Delaware tax haven. All the while destroying the ecosystem of the Connecticut River, killing everything in its wake and using a third more fossil fuel to do so than is produces.

FirstLight never mentions the fact that for more than 50 years their facility has pulled the river backward for a minimum of three miles, causing the river to no longer be a river and violating the federal Clean Water Act of 1972. It is a fact: Living rivers flow downstream!

To say no to this big boondoggle and to insist the Connecticut River has a right to live, enter your comments in the FERC docket re: the relicensing of FirstLight’s Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Station (, E-Library, project No. P-2485).

Contact these stakeholders who are at the table and tell them that you want them to stand up for the Connecticut River’s right to live: Audrey Mayer, New England field office supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,; Jesse Leddick, chief of regulatory review, MA Natural Heritage Program,; and Caleb Slater, director of hatcheries, MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife,

Tell the same to Melissa Hoffer, Massachusetts climate chief,; Rebecca Tepper:, Massachusetts secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs,; and your state and federal representatives and senators.

Stand up for the peoples’ right to a live river, stand up against FirstLight’s destruction of the Connecticut River ecosystem and stand up to FirstLight’s profiteering off our river and everyone of us. Tell them not to sign any agreements with FirstLight!

Paki Wieland of Greenfield, on behalf of the Connecticut River Defenders.