Unlike other environmental organizations with narrower mandates, BLEC tackles any significant issue that affects the Northwest corner and the Berkshires -- be that air and water quality concerns, wildlife habitat loss and species protection, good forestry practices, farmland protection, or inappropriate telecommunications tower siting, among others.
We are a science-based organization with ties to major environmental centers such as The Yale School of Forestry and world-renowned researchers across a range of disciplines.
Within the last few years, along with sponsoring the first educational forums in the country on the environmental effects of ambient radiofrequency radiation (RF) to humans and wildlife from cell towers and other broadcast facilities, BLEC also sponsored forums on the disastrous St. Lawrence Cement project proposed along the Hudson River in New York State that would have polluted the air and water of all New England States to the east.
BLEC has co-sponsored other forums on vernal pools -- a critical and often overlooked link in the ecosystem -- with an eye toward creating model zoning regulations for towns to adopt. We have also co-sponsored a forum on alternative methods of PCB disposal rather than dredging and reburying in landfills the contaminated sludge from the Housatonic and Hudson rivers. In addition, we have also stood our ground on scenic ridgeline protection.
Thumbnail Sketch of Past Concerns and Projects:
. Opposed Pumped Power Storage Project (Founding Issue).
. Opposed Extension/Expansion of US Routes 7 & 44.
. Promoted Wood Heating & Passive Solar Applications.
. Published the booklet, "Renewable Energy in Northwest Connecticut," in 1981, on utilizing wood heat and passive solar technology for domestic space and hot water heating.
. BLEC also created in the 1980's educational materials on recycling, composting and solid waste-stream reduction in landfills.
. Opposed Nuclear Waste Dump Site in Sharon (1991, Success).
. Opposed the Iroquois Gas Pipeline (1991, Success).
. Opposed unsafe siting of wireless telecommunications & cellular towers on health/environmental grounds (1992-present; Successes.)
. Opposed and intervened in a police radio tower proposal on environmentally senstitive Canaan Mountain (1992, Success).
. Co-sponsored an Educational Program, "Fabulous Farms, Forests Fens & Fine Gardens" (1993).
. Sponsored Open Space & Environmentally Responsible Planning & Zoning discussions (1993- present).
. Sponsored talk by Ken Olsen, "Conservation As A Positive Social Act" (1995.)
. Sponsored talk by B. Blake Levitt, author, "Electromagnetic Fields, A Consumer's Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves," Harcourt Brace, (1995).
. Conducted a "Cell Towers Forum" (1996) with six speakers (see "Forums" above for additional information) and produced sample zoning regulations.
. Sponsored talk by Jeremy Brecher, "Global Village or Global Pillage" (1996).
. Co-sponsored Housatonic River Study in Berkshire/Litchfield counties elementary schools (1998).
. BLEC received the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Agency's Green Circle Award "...for promoting pollution prevention, waste reduction, natural resources conservation and/or environmental awareness" in 1999.
. Sponsored a Cell Towers Forum with 15 speakers, (2000). See "Forums" above for more information.
. Published the Proceedings of the 2000 forum entitled "Cell Towers, Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard?" (Safe Goods/New Century, 2001). See "Resources" above.
. Co-hosted a talk by Michael Klemens, "Ecologically Responsible Planning and Vernal Pools Protection," (2005).
. Co-sponsored a talk by Elizabeth A. Colburn, Ph,D. author of "Vernal Pools, Natural History and Conservation," McDonald & Woodward Publishing, (2005).
. Conducted an Educational Forum on the St. Lawrence Cement Plant Proposal in Hudson. N.Y. (2000).
. Became a member of the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, (2002).
. Supported Chubby Bunny Farm, CSA Enterprise (2005).
. Supported Howden Farm Pumpkin Project for Elementary Education (2006).
. Co-sponsored a symposium on Alternative Remedial Technologies to Destroy PCBs (2006).
. Co-Sponsored a forum, featuring five speakers, on the health and environmental effects of cell towers in Cornwall, CT, (2008).
. Sponsored a forum, featuring nine speakers, on the real risk/benefit ratios of industrial-scale wind turbines (2011)
. Filed comments and appeared at the Connecticut Siting Council, July 24, 2012, on that agency's proposed regulations for industrial-scale wind turbines. (See link at left.)
. Filed comments, December 13, 2012, at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) regarding DEEP's Draft Comprehensive Energy Strategy. BLEC is highly critical of DEEP's policy to move the state's electricity sector into smart grid technology. (See link at the left.)
. Filed invited comments, January 15, 2013, at the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities regarding that state's smart grid/meter buildout.
. Co-sponsored a showing of the award-winning documentary film, Genetic Roulette, on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)and post-film discussion with Tri-State area sustainable agriculture farmers on the genetically engineered food and crop issue (2013).
- Filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection regarding that agency's egregious non-enforcement of CT law over a case of forest destruction and timber trespass by a private industrial-scale wind energy company, BNE, in the Housatonic State Forest in Canaan, CT. (Court action on appeal, 2015.)