Article

WAS 1BERKSHIRE SET UP TO BE GE’s SHELL COMPANY IN FIGHTING THE PR WAR ON PCBs? MORE CLUES EMERGE

BY DAN VALENTI

A disgruntled member of 1Berkshires, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Planet of what the source called a “sneaking suspicion” the group was essentially created as a shell organization to fight the PR wars for GE regarding the cleanup of PCBs in Pittsfield and downstream, especially South County.

The official stressed he/she was only speaking for him/herself, but the source said in conversations with other members of 1Berkshires, the impression is one of being “hoodwinked.” The source wouldn’t detail the comments beyond that.

The admission, offered as informed opinion, would seem to connect the mysterious dots of the sudden creation of a seemingly superfluous organization that’s floundered since April 2010, doesn’t have a full-time CEO, and according to David Scribner’s bylined piece in the Berkshire Record, has accepted $300,000 of GE money. The Planet republishes Scribner’s article in full at the end of this column.

A Growing Discontent

One can sense it: There is a growing discontent in Pittsfield and Berkshire County with the presence of countless millions of pounds of PCBs — and many other toxins — dumped into our soil and water by GE. The consent agreement struck between the company, the city, and the environmental agencies allowed GE to skip town, leaving Pittsfield with a few million dollars and a countless millions of pounds of toxins, still there, embedded in river banks, backyards, playgrounds, schoolyards, wetland bottoms, and soil.

The spark for this new interest was Pittsfield’s attempted purchased of what turned out to be PCB-laden property at 1644 East St. The city wanted to relocate its DPW garages and offices there. Aggressive media coverage, including postings at The Planet, caused the city council to reject Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s plan. Ruberto has since said the project is dead. To prove it, he is looking to transfer the $800,000 borrowed for the 1644 East St. purchase and use it for the airport expansion process.

As Tim Gray of the Housatonic River Initiative pointed out yesterday on The Planet, a sample survey of several hundred Pittsfield homes revealed half of them were PCB- contaminated. Gray also posted shocking details of other pollution the company buried at Hill 78 and near high-tension lines in the Newell Street area.

The winter of chemical disaffection deepened revelations concerning 1Berkshire, a composite group of local “Who’s Who” types created in April 2010. The Planet’s source, if the information is credible, suggests that some of those who joined in forming the group with good intentions now may be feeling duped.

What is, and Who Are, 1Berkshire?

What is 1Berkshire? We go to the “official-ese” of the organization’s debut press release, defining its identity, from April 2010.

After telling us that “Berkshire County leaders believe in a strong, vibrant future for the region,” (like the rest of us do not want a “stong, vibrant future”) the release says: “The boards of directors of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Berkshire Creative Economy Council, Berkshire Economic Development Corporation, and the Berkshire Visitors Bureau announce today the creation of a formal, strategic partnership among the four organizations. This alliance, informally known as 1Berkshire, strives for intelligent, sustainable growth to create prosperity for every citizen of the Berkshires.”

Who is involved? From the press release:

“The project is chaired by Michael Daly, President & CEO of Berkshire Bank and Chair of 1Berkshire, together with Roger O. Goldman, managing director of the Berkshire Opportunity Fund and 1Berkshire’s volunteer Acting CEO. Daly and Goldman, are joined by steering committee volunteers, C. Jeffrey Cook, of Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook LLP, Laurie Norton Moffatt, Director/CEO of Norman Rockwell Museum and Joseph Thompson, Director/CEO of MASS MoCA.”

Something Does Not Compute. That Something is PCBs

The Planet — particularly in its coverage of Pittsfield’s failure in the CEDS (Community Economic Development Strategy) process (its last successful project came in 2001) — has listed and discussed the alphabet soup of the many former “strategic alliances” and organizations that were supposed to do exactly what this one touts.

They were to created economic health, in short, lots of jobs. As it’s done in these parts, Berkshire “strategic alliances” and economic supergroups usually create two jobs: a con job and a snow job. Oh, and they also create a tiny handful of six-figure jobs with little accountability for results for the persons who land the plums of leadership. Tough work, but somebody’s got to do it.

On cue, as reported by Andy McKeever in iBerkshires.com on Feb. 2, the group, nearly a year after its founding, is now “looking for a leader.” In other words, it has taken 1Berkshire just shy of 10 months to settle on a CEO. The current CEO, Paul Haklisch, told iBerkshires that he “is not interested in taking [the job] on full time.” That’s not inspiring. The current top dog wants out. Something’s not computing here.

That something appears to be PCBs. One of 1Berkshire’s star projects is to push for a “low impact” cleanup of the Housatonic River (nothing is mentioned about Pittsfield land that is drenched with toxins).

Scribner reported that 1Berkshires has taken $300,000 from GE. Yes, that’s the “conflict of interest” alarm flashing “red alert.”

It’s likely, though for the record unconfirmed, that this GE money is the reason for Haklisch not being interested in a full-time position. Does he sense a set-up? Scriber reports that “an official” from Berkshire Creative told him that “GE has hinted at millions more.” Ask yourself: Why would GE fund this group for $300,000 and maybe “millions more”?

Pittsfield Politicians: Go on the Record, Now!

In light of these revelations, The Planet calls upon every city councilor in Pittsfield, as well as Mayor Ruberto, to take a position on the situation at 1Berkshire as well as PCBs. Are they content to leave the city in its poisoned state or will they join the growing effort at pushing for GE to make good?

None of the usual hemming and hawing, my Right Honorable Good Friends. We want to know where you stand. We urge everyone reading this post to send a copy to your representatives, asking them to take a position on a life-and-death issue.

If they won’t stand up for citizens, they will be replaced in the November elections. Indeed, the electorate must press ALL candidates for their position on the PCB/Toxin issue. Only the men and women with the courage to stand up to the corporate Goliath deserve to lead the community in 2012 and beyond.

Taking the Law into Your Own Hands

The citizens of Cairo, Egypt this week gave the world, and the citizens of Berkshire County, a lesson in democracy. They showed the Power of We The People. It can happen here.

If our officials continue to cozy up to the special interests, if they fail in their sworn duty to protect their constituents, then the citizens of Pittsfield, joining with other communities, should file suit against GE. There’s successful precedent. In the early 2000s, the citizens of Anniston, Ala., filed suit against Monsanto. On Jan. 1, 2002, the Washington Post ran an article headlined, “Monsanto Hid Decades of Pollution.” The article uses court documents in its report, taken from the case of Owens v. Monsanto, 96-CV-440 (N.D. Ala.). That case settled for $43 million. This won’t pay for the cleanup, but it helped Anniston. A similar action might help Pittsfield, which could use another $43 million or so … though not necessarily.

In another Anniston case, it looked like the citizens would win, until The Suits snookered a deal:

“After decades of polluting the people of Anniston, Alabama with some of the highest levels of carcinogenic PCBs on Earth, Monsanto was losing a large, citizen lawsuit in state court — one in a series of suits aimed at the company over its conduct. The state judge in the case seemed all but certain to order a far-reaching cleanup likely to cost the company several hundred million dollars.

“However, a “partial” consent decree cleanup agreement had been quietly negotiated between the US EPA and Monsanto for months without the involvement or knowledge of the contaminated community. The term “partial” indicates that the consent decree merely seeks a study of the contamination, not an actual cleanup.” (from www.mindfully.org/GE/People-v-Monsanto.htm the full document is at this address).

Here’s coverage from the Dow Jones News Wires following the Anniston lawsuit. This excerpt is from a Jan. 2, 2002 article by Desiree J. Hanford:

—————————

ST. LOUIS — Shares of Monsanto Co. (MON) are down nearly 3% Wednesday after a Washington Post article said the company discharged toxic waste into a creek and dumped millions of pounds of PCBs in open-pit landfills in an Alabama town.

The Tuesday article said Monsanto knew PCBs were harmful but hid the dumping, now banned, into landfills in Anniston, Ala., and routinely discharging toxic waste into a west Anniston creek. A lawsuit by 3,600 plaintiffs, or one of every nine Anniston residents, is scheduled for trial Monday.

The newspaper said Monsanto documents, some marked “Confidential: Read and Destroy,” were obtained from plaintiffs’ attorneys and the Environmental Working Group. Monsanto and Solutia Inc. (SOI), its chemical spinoff, have spent $40 million on cleanup efforts and $80 million on legal settlements, the paper said.

Monsanto found out in 1966 that fish submerged in the creek resurfaced within 10 seconds, shedding skin and spurting blood, but the company didn’t tell anyone, the newspaper said. Studies conducted in following years showed harmful effects of PCBs but the company, while knowing of the studies, opted not to take action, the article said. Even the company’s own tests on PCBs weren’t good.

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“”[F]ish submerged in the creek resurfaced within 10 seconds, shedding skin and spurting blood” — Pittsfield officials, do you really want to leave the city infected with PCBs? Think about it, long and hard.

And discontented members of 1Berkshire: Look into this more deeply. Please make sure you aren’t being used.

—————————————

APPENDIX ONE, DAVID SCRIBNER’S BERKSHIRE RECORD STORY FROM THIS WEEK: (the italics are The Planet’s; they were not part of the article as published. We insert them for emphasis):

By David Scribner

STOCKBRIDGE – When 1Berkshire, a consortium of four countywide development agencies, was formed last April, it described itself in lofty language – “a strategic alliance,” “a single point of service” – offering seamless access to Berkshire resources for business development.

From the start it was an odd coupling: Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Berk­shire Economic Development Corp., Berkshire Visitors Bureau, and Berkshire Cre­ative Economy Council.
Plus, it needed a lot of money to fulfill a mission yet to be defined:$1 million from businesses, banks, organizations.

The marriage of these agencies occurred in April. It doesn’t have a Web site; it’s record of achievements ob­scure. 1Berkshire is still on honeymoon.
Or is it?
In a FaceBook campaign, 1Berkshire, it seems, has found a calling, promoting a “coalition” it created named “Smart River Clean-up.”

Smart River Cleanup urges the Environmental Protection Agency to avoid any dredging of carcinogenic PCBs from the Housatonic River as the federal agency deliberates on what method of environmental remediation to order the General Electric Company to undertake. At issue is the contamination present in river sediment and flood plain south of Pittsfield, especially where dams caused highly contaminated sediment to accumulate, like Woods Pond in Lenoxdale and Rising Pond in Housatonic.

For 40 years, GE dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into the river from its Pittsfield manufacturing fa­cility.
Instead, 1Berkshire de­mands a “low-impact, middle of the road approach” that preserves “existing ecological and recreational resources of the river.” By EPA order, fish and wildlife from the river cannot be eaten, nor is the river recommended for swimming due to the contamination.

The lower the impact of the cleanup, the less expensive for General Electric the cleanup will be. The savings could be considerable, in the many millions of dollars. The language it uses to diminish the health risks of PCBs is reminiscent of the arguments put forth by General Electric.

What 1Berkshire didn’t mention was that it has received a $300,000 pledge from GE, and according to a Berkshire Creative official, GE has hinted at millions more, even though General Electric no longer has business opera­tions in the Berkshires.

Its legacy is at the bottom of the river.
Norman Rockwell Museum Executive Director Laurie Norton Moffatt, a founder of 1Berkshire, defends the Smart Cleanup
Coalition’s lobbying effort.

“I am personally opposed to any dredging,” she said. “We need to take the middle ground. All we are asking for is more time and more information so that we can have a beautiful environment, a clean environment, an untrammeled environment upon which our tourism depends and is essential. We need to find an alternative to dredging. We destroyed the river once. We don’t need to do it twice. Science will reveal a better solution.”

In a Facebook response to Housatonic River Initiative founder and environmental activist Tim Gray, Smart Cleanup responds — the identity of the responder is not revealed, nor is the membership of Smart Cleanup — that it denies that it has received GE funds.
Not directly. Through its parent.
The revelation of GE funding and the advocacy of Smart Cleanup by 1Berkshire, taken apparently without a vote of all of its partners, has riled some of the leaders. [The Planet finds it a reasonable assumption, though it is not officially confirmed for the record, that current CEO, Paul Haklisch, is one of these officials. We cite as evidence his disinterest in being the front man].

“There was no board ap­proval of this position on the river,” fumed one Berkshire Creative official. “I wonder -many of us wonder – who is calling the shots. There is definitely a concern about lack of transparency. We are getting sucked into a political agenda where we don’t belong.”

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THAT’S ALL FOLKS. SEE YOU MONDAY, FOR TOMORROW US SUNDAY, AND THAT’S THE PLANET’S DAY OF REST. LOVE TO ALL.

37 Responses to “WAS 1BERKSHIRE SET UP TO BE GE’s SHELL COMPANY IN FIGHTING THE PR WAR ON PCBs? MORE CLUES EMERGE”

  1. DJ
    February 12, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    All of them are shills especially Moffatt, ask her about the free trips and lunches.

  2. GMHeller
    February 12, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Dan Valenti:
    On the always topical subject of getting into bed with General Electric Company in an attempt to limit drastically the remediation of PCB’s and other toxic chemicals plaguing Pittsfield, the Housatonic River, Woods Pond, and the Housatonic River flood plain, it would likely have a cleansing effect if each of your readers would contact at least one (or more) of the following list of Berkshire County ‘leading lights’, and pose the following question: “Just what the hell were you people thinking?”

    Here’s a list of Berkshire County’s notables directly involved with 1Berkshires, Inc.:

    Michael Daly, Berkshire Bank
    Roger O. Goldman, Berkshire Opportunity Fund
    C. Jeffrey Cook, Attorney
    Laurie Norton Moffatt, Norman Rockwell Museum
    Nancy Fitzpatrick, Red Lion Inn
    Kevin Sprague, Photographer
    Reggie Cooper, Canyon Ranch
    Gerard Burke, Hillcrest Educational Centers
    Michael Supranowicz, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce
    Lauri Klefos, Berkshire Visitors Bureau
    Joseph Thompson, Mass MoCA

    Recommend readers call and, if necessary, leave messages for these folks, and call again if they do not get back to you.

  3. rick
    February 13, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    where did the 300k go??? was it divided up? did it go to office supplies? the old saying fool me once……fool me twice………did they ever add fool me three times, i think we need to add more to that saying…..maybe into infinty. GE keeps opening up that famous checkbook and the sheep keep accepting.

    • GMHeller
      February 13, 2011 at 11:39 am #

      Good question.
      Since 1Berkshire, Inc. appears to be a private, for-profit entity, that information is not in the public domain, unless the organization or its subsidiary orgs (Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Berkshire Creative, Berkshire Visitors Bureau, etc.) voluntarily choose to release the data.
      My guess is that the bulk of GE’s $300,000 ‘seed’ capital is sitting in 1Berkshire, Inc.’s bank account (likely deposited at Berkshire Bank) being apportioned out to pay expenses related to rolling out G.E.’s latest public relations campaign aka the ‘G.E. Low-Impact/No-Impact Bottom Line Initiative’.
      As with all G.E. PR campaigns, expect 1Berkshire to be the vehicle whereby G.E. buys airtime on local radio and TV stations, full page ads in The Berkshire Eagle and other local newspapers, and billboards, all to tout the company’s latest scare campaign.
      It pays to remember the scare tactics G.E. produced just ten years ago when the hot issue back then facing the company (‘hot’ meaning of potentially prohibitive expense) was whether or not G.E. should be required by U.S. E.P.A. to dredge the Hudson River of PCB’s (released decades earlier from G.E.’s Fort Edward, NY plant).
      G.E. pulled out the stops in that campaign with scary footage of huge clamshell dredges messily disgorging mud and crud from the river bottom and sloppily dumping it all into barges (the ads intentionally and misleadingly led people to believe that PCB’s would drip/pour unrestrained back into the river environment to repollute).
      Then, as now, it was all a huge scare tactic by G.E. to frighten the public.
      Back then, it was aimed at voters in New York State and New Jersey.
      G.E. needed public opinion to bring pressure upon Congress and U.S. E.P.A. to accept G.E.’s Hudson River ‘initiative’, what back then was the company’s ‘Low-Impact’ plan for remediation of Hudson River PCB’s.
      It was essentially the same kind of cheap ‘do nothing’ plan G.E. is today pushing U.S. E.P.A. to accept for the Housatonic River Floodplain.
      Bottom Line: Back in 2000, as now, the whole intent behind these campaigns has been to save G.E.’s bottom line huge sums of capital.
      Cleaning up PCB’s and the laundry list of other toxics that were dumped willy-nilly into the environment decades ago is capital intensive — no cheap third-world labor here.
      It’s those kind of big bucks that G.E. is now trying to save by not having to do the kind of remediation that the Housatonic River flood plain would actually require in order to remove the bulk of toxics that are plaguing the river, the flood plain, the river’s fish, the river’s mammals, the river’s birds, the river’s amphibians, the river’s reptiles, the river’s insects (not to mention Pittsfield’s neighborhoods, Silver Lake, etc.).
      Back in 1999/2000, when G.E.rolled-out its Hudson River ‘Low-Impact’ PCB-remediation ‘initiative’ complete with full-scale radio/TV/newspaper/billboard coverage, that extensive campaign was coordinated and managed by Behan Communications, Inc., a public relations firm in Albany, New York run by entrepreneur Mark Behan.
      Mr. Behan’s firm was hired by G.E. to handle all the details.
      Please note that Mr. Behan’s present day 2011 email address is Mark.Behan@GE.com.
      Apparently, Mr. Behan has moved up in G.E.’s world of dioxin-tinged smoke and mirrors.

  4. PCP
    February 13, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    What ever happened to $100,000. that PEDA via GE “gave” to the Berkshire Economic Development Corp.? Did I miss all the new private sector jobs created?

  5. Liz Arrington
    February 13, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    I am thankful for the coverage here, but my mind is not made up. I’m open to hear what the less invasive plan is and how it will work. Is there a chance that the PCB plan offered by 1 Berkshire might be the best alternative for Pittsfield? I urge everyone to keep an open mind.

    • GMHeller
      February 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

      Liz Arrington, you ask, “Is there a chance that the PCB plan offered by 1Berkshire might be the best alternative for Pittsfield?”

      No, no chance whatsoever, assuming you are referring to the General Electric Company that is headquartered in Fairfield, CT.
      G.E.’s long corporate history (going back to the late 1800′s when J.P. Morgan’s people pulled the rug out from under Thomas Edison’s brainchild) of ALWAYS doing what’s best for G.E. regardless of the consequences; and the company’s long history in Pittsfield and upstate New York (wantonly dumping thousands of tons of chemicals and industrial wastes everyone knew back then was bad) of ALWAYS doing what’s best for G.E. regardless of the consequences to the local communities where it was doing business, would argue against your generous thesis.
      Do you honestly believe that ANY plan General Electric Company would conjure up to clean up after itself on Woods Pond (or anywhere else in the world) would be for any purpose other than to save or generate for the company as much money as humanly possible?

    • Mickey Friedman
      February 14, 2011 at 7:06 am #

      Dear Ms. Arrington:
      Unfortunately there is no plan to the 1Berkshire/Smart Clean-Up Plan. I quote from the Smart Clean-Up Facebook page:
      “While the specifics of a low-impact approach have not been decided in detail, the Coalition is asking citizens to encourage the EPA to adopt the Low-Impact approach and avoid a dredging process that would have a devastating impact on the river, businesses, residents, and visitors for generations to come.”
      http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/smartrivercleanup?sk=app_4949752878

      The fact is that the 1Berkshire plan is just misdirection and misrepresentation. As a member of the Housatonic River Initiative I have spent many, many years arguing for a true and thorough low-impact solution. In fact, we sued the EPA and the State to protest some of the most egregious failures of the Consent Decree.

      That said, it is untrue to suggest that dredging the Housatonic will destroy it. The Housatonic is already severely damaged. It is GE that has had the most devastating effect on the River. The first section of the river had shockingly high and very dangerous levels of PCBs. Dredging reclaimed the river.

      I don’t want to take up too much space here. If you want to read more about 1Berkshire and the river, check out the column I wrote for The Berkshire Record:
      http://www.mickeyfriedman.com/?page_id=398

      Luckily, there are now several workable alternative technologies available to give us a low-impact river cleanup and restoration.

      Perhaps 1Berkshire will take that $300,000 and invest it in a pilot test along the heavily contaminated but beautiful oxbows in the Rest of the River. I can’t think of a better use for GE’s money.

      My best
      Mickey Friedman

      • danvalenti
        February 14, 2011 at 9:16 am #

        The Planet thanks Mr. Friedman for this valuable information.

  6. rick
    February 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    i think most people here have an open mind, but the only way to keep it open is to here from these groups,in detail, on what the course of action will be. i feel everone in this area is concerned one way or another.. when do they meet? are the meetings open? do the people have a say. and to mr. heller should we have gotten into the federal super fund?

  7. GMHeller
    February 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    CORRECTION: “(going back to the late 1800′s when J.P. Morgan’s people pulled the rug out from under Thomas Edison)”

  8. Tim Gray
    February 13, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    This “low impact” dialogue was started by GE to confuse the public. The Housatonic River Initiative has been studing the PCBs and river for twenty years. There are many PCB clean ups going on in the nation. They are never low impact.

    GE actually states in their Corrective Measures Study that their preferred method of “clean up” is Monitored Natural Recovery. This means clean nothing and take some samples every now and then to see if the PCBs are being buried. This is a line GE has used for years. It has never worked on any river.

    In 2005 The EPA released a peer reviewed scientific study called the Fate and Transport of PCBs in the Housatonic River.
    GE was allowed to participate in the peer review. The study
    shows PCBs are moving around during storm events and not being covered up.

    Massachusetts just released their plans which minimizes the amount of PCBs removed which results in leaving large amounts in the river that will harm wildlife far into the future. The state has given up on protecting wildlife from PCB poisoning. We don’t think EPA will agree.

    As discussed in the EPA editorial in today’s Berkshire Eagle, it is EPA’s mandate under federal law to minimize the risk to humans and wildlife. They will make the decision how to clean it up.This decision is expected next fall. The public will be allowed to comment on their plan.

    Knowing that a good clean up will have impact. HRI has held several conferences on Alternative Destruction of PCBs. At each conference the room was packed with scientists, river
    protection groups, government officials, and interested citizens.
    We have listened to dozens of companies and their methods to destroy PCBs.

    At a meeting in January we hosted two companies. Biotech has successfully destroyed PCBs and other chlorinated hydrocarbons at several sites. The sites have been opened for unrestricted development. They already have been working to create a plan for the Housatonic. Their technology gets naturally occurring bacteria to break PCBs down. It holds promise that instead of the multiple dumps GE wants to build the PCBs could be destroyed forever.

    http://www.biotechrestorations.com

    Because we know of no river that has been cleaned without
    dredging we hosted Genesis, a company that has very precise, low footprint dredge operations. We believe this is the way to lessen the impact during remediation.

    http://www.genesisfluidsolutions.com

    How do we proceed? We invite these companies and some others to conduct pilot projects on the river. If they work we will have moved the possibilities of PCB remediation into the future.

    Tim Gray
    Director – Housatonic River Initiative

    • danvalenti
      February 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

      TIM
      Thank you for helping to educate the public, and specifically the readers of this website, on the issue. You are among the most qualified to address the science of this topic, as opposed to the PR, the politics, and the profits of this topic. We believe that this year will provide a rare opportunity to get the public interested in this issue and for the forces of moral justice (yes, there is a right and a wrong involved) to force the politicians to listen. It’s election season.

    • GMHeller
      February 14, 2011 at 5:46 am #

      Mr. Valenti and Mr. Gray,

      Regarding the ‘Low Impact/No Impact on G.E.’s Bottom Line’ Initiative aka 1Berkshire’s ‘Let’s Pretend We’re Smart Clean-up Coalition’:

      
Laurie Norton Moffatt, executive director of the Norman Rockwell Museum, and one of the ‘founding’ members of 1Berkshire, made a revealing statement the other day, reported in The Berkshire Record newspaper:
      Here are Ms. Moffatt’s words:
      “I am personally opposed to any dredging,” she said. “We need to take the middle ground. All we are asking for is more time and more information so that we can have a beautiful environment, a clean environment, an untrammeled environment upon which our tourism depends and is essential. We need to find an alternative to dredging. We destroyed the river once. We don’t need to do it twice. Science will reveal a better solution.”

      Ms. Moffatt’s statement is astounding, coming from someone considered to be a local community leader, as well as a ‘founder’ of 1Berkshire, Inc..
      She has the temerity to say that: “We destroyed the river once”.
      To whom is Ms. Moffatt referring?
      Is Ms. Moffatt doubting that it was G.E.’s chemicals and industrial wastes that were dumped by G.E.’s employees and subcontractors under orders from G.E.’s management?
      Does Ms. Moffatt question whether the bulk of chemical pollution in the Housatonic River is G.E.’s?
      So where does Ms. Moffatt get off claiming it was ‘We’ who have destroyed the river?
      Further, she says, “All we are asking for is more time and more information”.
      Just how much more time and information does Ms. Moffatt suggest be taken and is needed?
      How many more studies are necessary, how much more evidence is required, to persuade Ms. Moffatt of the severity of chemical pollution affecting the Housatonic River and its local flood plain?
      Research on the effects of PCB’s on people and other living things has been published starting at least in the 1930′s.
      Further, there are studies galore of the harmful biological and environmental effects of Hexavalent Chromium, Mercury, Volatile Organic Compounds, Dioxins, and the other toxics that have been intentionally injected into the Berkshire environment by our friends at G.E..
      The bulk of these toxics came to be carried by the Housatonic River into the flood plain around Woods Pond.
      For better or worse, there was a dam there that prevented movement of much of the heavier toxics from coursing further southward.
      Test wells have been sunk throughout the path of the Housatonic River and its major flood plains as it courses south from Pittsfield.
      Just what does Ms. Moffatt think she is waiting for that could possibly satisfy her need for more information?
      And how much more time is reasonable for any human to take in deciding what to do about this matter?
      If Mr. Moffatt’s own house or backyard were as polluted with any of these chemicals as the Housatonic River flood plain is with all of them, just how much further information would Ms. Moffatt need and how much time would she take before moving aggressively to remediate the problem?

  9. Joetaxpayer
    February 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    G.E bringing good things to death! Beasley I miss you,NOT!

  10. Still wondering
    February 14, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    Roger Goldman no longer has anything to do with 1Berkshire. Period.

    • GMHeller
      February 14, 2011 at 6:26 am #

      In Re: Roger O. Goldman.

      If what you claim is so, then that is indeed breaking news given that Mr. Goldman was one of the ‘founding’ members of 1Berkshire, Inc..
      When did Mr. Goldman make his announcement withdrawing from the organization, and has it been published anywhere?

    • GMHeller
      February 14, 2011 at 7:27 am #

      Mr. Valenti and ‘Still Wondering’:
      This tidbit of news concerning Roger O. Goldman severing ties with 1Berkshire, Inc. is quite revealing considering that Mr. Goldman, according to Dan Valenti’s report above, is not only one of the founding members of the 1Berkshire organization, but also its CEO.
      What might have caused 1Berkshire’s volunteer CEO to resign so suddenly from this alleged community-spirited group?

      • Nichols for mayor
        February 14, 2011 at 7:57 am #

        Seeing how he can’t get any momentum behind his Berkshire Opportunity Fund (it’s an illiquid flop), maybe he’s just trying harder on that project.

  11. GMHeller
    February 14, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    In addition, Roger O. Goldman, up until now, has been co-chairman of 1Berkshire, Inc. (along with Michael Daly of Berkshire Bank).
    Curiouser and curiouser.

  12. Still wondering
    February 14, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    No Glenn it’s not curious. Roger walked away from 1Berkshire several months ago. Time to move on.

    • GMHeller
      February 14, 2011 at 9:34 am #

      You claim that Mr. Goldman “walked away from 1Berkshire several months ago.”

      Tell that to Dan Valenti who in his article above posted an excerpt from a press release which said:

      “The project is chaired by Michael Daly, President & CEO of Berkshire Bank and Chair of 1Berkshire, together with Roger O. Goldman, managing director of the Berkshire Opportunity Fund and 1Berkshire’s volunteer Acting CEO. Daly and Goldman, are joined by steering committee volunteers, C. Jeffrey Cook, of Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook LLP, Laurie Norton Moffatt, Director/CEO of Norman Rockwell Museum and Joseph Thompson, Director/CEO of MASS MoCA.”

      If, as you claim, Mr. Goldman walked away months ago, can you provide a link to a press release or public announcement to that effect?
      Further, why did Mr. Goldman decide to abandon this alleged community-oriented organization so soon after its creation?
      It’s only “time to move on” when responsive answers are provided to heretofore unanswered questions.

  13. Son of Samantha
    February 14, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    This whole 1Berkshire thing was fishy from the moment it started. It’s fishier now but I woud eat them fish. There’s a sign saying not to because of GEs pollution.

  14. GMHeller
    February 14, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    Is 1Berkshire,Inc. seeking Intervenor status in any of the legal proceedings involving the G.E. Consent Decree?

  15. editor
    February 14, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    What a bunch of nothing Blogs!!!

    • Son of Samantha
      February 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

      MAybe editor, you can be more specific about what you object to? Your comment adds nothing. Is it because you can’t defend the indefensible, hmmm, sweetie? At least the other posters have contributed to the dialog with information. Not your style, eh honey?

  16. rick
    February 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    what steps do we have to take to reopen the decree? it seems we have the right people in place who are educated on the issue to give it a go. dan, way to go ,gotta give u 2 thumbs up for the info you have dug up. but the question i would like answered…….could a berk.eagle reporter have gotten the story if they tried?..or is this not a story to a berk.eagle reporter.

    • danvalenti
      February 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

      rick
      Thanks. Undoubtedly, an Eagle reporter with some enterprise could have come up with this material and fashioned it into a hard-hitting series that would educate people, stimulate dialogue, and force examination of the claims being made by all sides in the PCB issue. My guess is that this isn’t “an Eagle story.” We both know what that means.

      • editor
        February 15, 2011 at 6:05 am #

        Yet again your obsession of The Eagle…Every day you mention the Eagle!!! Enough already!!!

        • danvalenti
          February 15, 2011 at 8:51 am #

          The obsession is with responsible journalism one must expect out of the lone city daily.

  17. Jim Gleason
    February 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Is this the entity that morphed from BEDC?(1Berkshires) If so , what of the $100,000 that the PEDA board, led by Bill Hines and ruberto, gave to BEDCfor “advertising” purposes, according to Hines in a question I asked him on Bill Sturgeon’s radio show? Is taxpayer money being used to work against the very people who gave it to BEDC, now 1Berkshire? I hardly think that BEDC spent the entire 100k in the short time from the gift to its demise, so did 1Berkshire inherit this money and is it now using part or all of it to hurt the people of Pittsfield?

  18. rick
    February 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    jim, when u asked hines the question did he give you an answer.it seems a lot of the money that is given to these non profits, gets funnelled to the eagle in the form of advertisement.if seems now,that if the eagle does print alot of what dan has on his site,theyd be cutting their own throats. kind of a double edged sword. the money that comes from the tax payers helps keep the eagle alive.

    • Jim Gleason
      February 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

      He put his Fred Volare dancing shoes on and said that he felt the moneywas well spent and that BEDC did what they were paid to do with it. I think he was lying myself. I think 1Berkshire got a good chunk of the money and is using it for who knows what.

      • editor
        February 16, 2011 at 6:17 am #

        Thank God for Jim Gleason!!

      • danvalenti
        February 16, 2011 at 7:59 am #

        JIMMY
        You made me laugh out loud: “… his Fred Volare dancing shoes …” Hilarious.

  19. GMHeller
    February 21, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    – PUBLIC NOTICE –

    ‘PCBs and Your Health with Dr. David Carpenter’

    On Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 at 7pm, the Housatonic River Initiative (HRI) will present Dr. David Carpenter with a program on Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and their Health Effects.
    Dr. Carpenter is one of the leading experts on PCBs and with his colleagues has studied exposed populations around the world. Some of his work has included PCB blood serums levels and their relationship to disease, VOLATILIZATION in the air, and exposure at hazardous waste sites including rivers.

    The forum will be held at the Great Barrington First Congregational Church, 251 Main Street on Tuesday, March 1st at 7 PM. There is no charge for this event.

    Dr. David Carpenter is an internationally recognized expert in PCBs and public health. He is a neurotoxicologist and professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Toxicology in the School of Public Health at State University of New York, Albany. He has worked successfully with many communities across the country to help them assess the degree of human exposure to a range of contaminants, including vast experience with PCBs.

    Dr. Carpenter has been an editorial advisor to many scientific journals, hosted a 170 station syndicated Public Health Radio Show, and former Chair of the School of Public Health at SUNY Albany. Prior to joining the University at Albany, Dr. Carpenter was a Research Physician at the Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research. Dr. Carpenter received his M.D. at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. He has 220 publications, 37 reviews and book chapters and 12 other publications to his credit. <<<<<

    • danvalenti
      February 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      The Planet thanks Mr. Heller for this important information. We shall repost today.