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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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Berkshire County 4-H Holds Awards & Recognition Event
Community Submission,
09:52PM / Tuesday, January 05, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 100 people gathered at the  Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires on Dec. 6 for the Berkshire County 4-H Community's annual awards and recognition event.  

The candy factory-themed night was to celebrate achievements by 4-H members. Opening remarks were given by Linda Horn, assistant director of the Massachusetts 4-H Youth Development Program, University of Massachusetts Extension in Amherst.

The highest award given in Berkshire County 4-H is the Top H Award, which can only be won by a 4-H'er once as a junior member and once as a senior member. The nominees are selected by a judging committee using their 4-H records; those nominated

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New Statewide Coalition Pushes For Environmentally Friendly Energy Policies
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:18AM / Friday, September 11, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new statewide coalition of community groups was launched on Wednesday to advocate for environmental friendly energy policies.   On Wednesday afternoon a half-dozen representatives from groups involved announced the coalition, Mass Power Forward, in Pittsfield and similar events were held across the state.   "We're a diverse group of faith, environmental, business groups, community groups, that are fighting for climate justice, fighting to make a better future for our families," Marlon Washington, of 350 Mass Better Future Project, said.   "We believe there is a moral responsibility to make this happen. We really want to see a

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Hundreds Oppose Pipeline Project at FERC Scoping Session
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:11AM / Wednesday, July 29, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Natural Gas distributor Kinder Morgan filed some 6,500 pages of environmental reports on Friday.   On Tuesday, residents filled the Taconic High School auditorium to tell federal regulators their concerns about the environmental impacts of Kinder Morgan's proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project.   "These documents are massive with highly technical and important information," said state Rep. Paul Mark at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission scoping session.   He said the documents that were submitted contain omissions of critical importance and it is "simply impossible" for stakeholders to have reviewed them in

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Environmentalists, Solar Industry Push For Net Metering Increase
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:14PM / Monday, July 20, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Utility companies have nearly hit the statewide net-metering cap and now environmentalists and the solar industry are pushing to raise it again.   Net metering is a program that requires utility companies to buy unused energy produced by alternative or sustainable energy. The cap limits the amount the utility is required to buy from the sources and is currently around 5 percent of the total generation.   Photovoltaic energy has been the most popular use of net metering and, in 2008, the state has several times over the past half-dozen years increased the power generation eligibility for net metering.   With utility companies buying all that they are

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Kinder Morgan Shrinks Pipeline Size; Public Hearings Scheduled
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:12AM / Saturday, July 18, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Kinder Morgan is prepared to move forward with the proposed natural gas pipeline through the Berkshires, albeit the plan is for a somewhat smaller size.   On Thursday, Kinder Morgan announced it will continue with the permitting process for the Northeast Energy Direct Project, a 30-inch (down from 36 inches) pipeline from New York state through the Berkshires to Dracut. The project is a $3.3 billion investment in which the company says would cure a shortage of energy in New England.   "We are excited that the market path component is moving forward and a determination now has been made on mainline capacity for the project, which is specifically

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North Adams Farmers Market Expands This Season
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
05:21AM / Saturday, June 20, 2015
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Farmers Market expands this year with more vendors and activities for children.

Director of Community Events Suzy Helme said this season's farmers market, which kicked off last weekend, is hosting nearly 30 vendors.

"It is a nice downtown space where everyone can gather, visit, and see each other but also support local businesses," Helme said. "You are supporting your local community farmers, you are eating healthier, and you are supporting a healthier environment."

Helme said Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art intern Emily Edwards will be the market manager and will help bring in new vendors and activities, such as craft

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Williamstown Con Comm Clears Way for Solar Project
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:14AM / Wednesday, June 17, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Conservation Commission on Thursday OK'd plans for a 1.9-megawatt solar project on the town's capped landfill.   The commission reviewed plans for the project with engineer Steven Wiehe of Peabody's Weston and Sampson.   Wiehe explained that the project will include about 6,000 solar photovoltaic panels on about 7 acres of the 12-acre site.   In order to avoid harming the liner that covers the landfill, the work will be done above ground, and the area with the panels will be covered by 4 inches of stone gravel, Wiehe said.   And to prevent the growth of vegetation through that gravel layer, the developers of the solar project

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Williamstown Wants More Info Before Joining Anti-Pipeline Coalition
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:25PM / Tuesday, June 09, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Monday opted to gather more information about the pros and cons of joining an anti-gas pipeline group before making a decision on whether to actually join.

The vote to seek a conference call with Northeast Energy Solution's lawyer came after an hour of discussion prompted by a presentation by Tad Ames, president of Berkshire Natural Resources Council.

Ames came before the board to ask that Williamstown join NEES, a coalition of nonprofit environmental organizations and other stakeholders that was formed in response to the proposed Kinder Morgan high-pressure natural gas pipeline that would run through the

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Williamstown Con Comm OKs Restoration Plan for Waubeeka
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:35AM / Sunday, May 24, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Conservation Commission has approved a restoration plan for a portion of denuded riverbank at Waubeeka Golf Links.   At its May 14 meeting, the commission reviewed a plan developed by a wetlands scientist from Guntlow & Associates and reviewed by officials at the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.   Guntlow's Megan Myers appeared at the meeting to represent Waubeeka owner Michael Deep, who also attended the session, televised on the town's community access station, WilliNet.   Commissioner Henry Art had some specific concerns about details in the plan, but the commission voted to approve an enforcement

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