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History of BLEC

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The Berkshire-Litchfield Environmental Council (BLEC) is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 1970 by a small group of citizens concerned about a large-scale utility project by Northeast Utilities. The project was originally proposed for the Schnob Brook Swamp in Wangum Valley, or Sages Ravine Escarpment in Berkshire County, or Canaan Mountain in Litchfield County. The latter became their site of choice.

The project was a hand-maiden to nuclear power generation at the time. It involved pumping water from a lower empoundment area up to a another empoundment on the top of the mountain, then releasing the water down hill through the same turbines to generate electricity during peak consumption. Called "pumped power storage," or "pond and release," the project would have flooded large areas for the upper and lower empoundments, and severely impacted the environments of the proposed sites.

In addition to permanently altering the topography of this region and destroying the scenic beauty of
these sites with the massive turbines, the huge water empoundments would have been virtual wastelands for wildlife which could maintin no habitats as the water dramatically rose and fell, and also because the areas would have required high fencing. And that's not to mention the environmental destruction of hundreds of acres during the construction phase. It was a monstrous, appalling plan.

BLEC single-handedly brought the project to a halt through the courts and regulatory agencies and has been active ever since as a broad-based environmental organization for Northwest Connecticut and Southwest Massachusetts.

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