Environmental activists are against it. Local and state officials and state agencies are against it. A Native American organization is against it. And residents of Sandisfield. Mass., who will be directly affected, are against it. But Tennessee Gas Pipeline/Kinder Morgan has just completed clearing 30 acres in Otis State Forest as part of its Connecticut Expansion Project, a 13.4 mile pipeline crossing New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
According to a report on ecoRI.com, concerns about the devastation to Otis State Forest, environmental impact from natural gas, lack of market need, and damage to ceremonial stones sacred to the Narragansett Indian Tribe have set the project more than a year behind schedule. But last year the courts ruled in favor of Kinder Morgan, and they and TGP have been steadily moving forward, despite ongoing opposition.
“Otis State Forest had been conserved under Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution for decades, until Kinder Morgan sued the state in March 2016 for a 2-mile easement through the forest. Two months later, Berkshire County Superior Court ruled in favor of Kinder Morgan, arguing that the Natural Gas Act of 1938, which permits eminent domain powers to interstate pipeline companies, overruled the Massachusetts Constitution.
“One activist coalition in opposition to the pipeline, Sugar Shack Alliance, protested in the forest in late April and early May of 2016 in the hopes of preventing TGP from felling trees. At least 24 members of the coalition have been arrested for attempting to block construction and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. Their charges were recently reduced to civil citations, according to Abby Ferla, a spokeswoman for the Sugar Shack Alliance.
“Ferla said that though the group was unable to save the affected forestland, its members will continue to fight the project.”