> Events > Board of Trustees Meeting, September 18, 2008

Board of Trustees Meeting, September 18, 2008

The Berkshire-Litchfield Environmental Council (BLEC) will hold its annual Board of Trustees meeting on September 18, 2008, at 4:00 PM in the reading room of the library at the Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Route 7, in Falls Village, CT.

Immediately following the meeting, Kim Casey from Citizens Against Asphalt in North Canaan, CT., will update the audience on the Century Acquisitions proposal for a special use permit to allow an asphalt producing plant in the Ashley Falls section of Massachusetts on the Sheffield/NorthCanaan border.

Century Acquisitions, a privately owned company from West Sand Lake, N.Y., purchased the former site of Connecticut Sand and Gravel in 1994. The company applied to the Sheffield Zoning Board of Appeals at the beginning of 2008 to produce hot asphalt there. Citizens groups from both Massachusetts and Connecticut were formed to bring more awareness to the problems particular to asphalt production, including ground water and air pollution, petroleum smells, increased traffic, noise, and property devaluation among others. The application was temporarily withdrawn without prejudice last spring but Century Acquisitions is expected to refile soon, following their recent application for an air quality permit at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

According to BLEC President Starling Childs, people on the Connecticut side have been too complacent about the potential impacts of this proposal. "As we saw with the disastrous St. Lawrence Cement proposal on Litchfield County's New York border a couple of years ago, pollution doesn't stay put. In the New York case, it was the prevailing easterly wind patterns that would have dispersed pollution as far away as Maine. With the asphalt plant, it will be the prevailing westerlies that will bring the most toxic kind of air pollution, according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, right back into Northwest Connecticut towns. Sheffield may get some tax benefits but Connecticut will only get negative impacts. We need to know a lot more about this."

At 5:00 PM, there will also be a demonstration of light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) by Ronald Bessette of Green Earth LED in Winsted, CT. LEDs are considered to be the wave of the future in lighting, especially as an alternative to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). While CFLs are more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and have been embraced by many environmentalists as a partial solution to global warming, CFLs also contain traces of mercury and therefore require special handling. They also cast an unpopular blue spectrum shade of light; create a flicker that some photosensitive epileptics cannot tolerate; and often take time to come up to full light capacity.

In addition, CFLs create high magnetic fields and something called "dirty electricity" -- high-power peak transients on electric lines that are now linked to several kinds of cancer. Science writer/author and BLEC Executive Board member B. Blake Levitt, will update the audience on the latest in that research.

Though more expensive than CFLs, LED lights are three times more energy efficient, contain no mercury, come in a variety of spectrum shades, sizes, wattages, and shapes. They also contain no mercury or other hazardous materials.

The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Ellery Sinclair at 860-824-7454.

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