April 14, 2016
 
 
 
 

Eminent Domain Hearing Rally and Courtroom Guidance

The Berkshire Co. Superior Court hearing in the Kinder Morgan case is the first challenge to Constitutional protections by a pipeline company, and could set a precedent for the much larger Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline still under consideration with FERC, and for state-wide defense of Article 97 of our State Constitution.

Concerned citizens from across the Commonwealth will be converging at the courthouse to stand up for Otis State Forest, for our Constitution, and for states’ rights in the face of eminent domain for private gain. Spokespersons and a public Open Mic will be available beginning at 11:30 am at the east end of Park Square, across the street from Berkshire District Court, to discuss their views on the case to be heard at 1:00pm. Speakers will be limited to 5 minutes maximum if others are waiting to speak.

Kinder Morgan v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Berkshire County Superior Court
Friday, April 15, 2016

- 11:30 AM - Public Rally, across the street from Berkshire Superior Court
- 1:00 PM - Berkshire Superior Court Hearing, 76 East St., Pittsfield, MA


Though this hearing is open to the public, only the parties named in the suit are allowed to make statements.

Rules for public hearings
outlined by Berkshire Superior Court Officer, David Hadley.

IN THE COURTROOM (room seats 80) :
- No signs  (including issue-specific protest t-shirts!)
- No protest
- No chants
- Cell phones allowed on person but must be shut off
- No recordings of proceedings allowed
   (Per Chapter 268 § 13c)

According to the court officer, “The judge is strict”:
No disruption of proceedings.
Persons disrupting will be removed.

So far Judge Agostino has been diligent in addressing the concerns of the AG's office and granting the later hearing date. Though it's impossible to predict the outcome of this case, we have hopes that he's taking the weight of this case very seriously.

OUTSIDE:
- Any protests should be off the Court complex property.
- SIDEWALK around Park Square or over near Pittsfield Atheneum library, both across the street, are best and have high visibility.
- Notice was too short for a permit for the Park, we need to keep protests to SIDEWALKS ONLY around Park Square and library.
- Portable amp will be set up for Open Mic off the east end of Park Square (see green “point” near oval in map below)
- Remember, posts for protest signs are illegal in Pittsfield.

11:30 Rally & Open Mic
Sidewalks around Park Square area
PARKING:
On-street parking in downtown Pittsfield can fill up sometimes. If on-street parking nearby is taken, there are some larger capacity lots and parking garages within a block or two of the Park Square area.

Facebook Event invitation – please share with friends!

SHARE THE EXPERIENCE:
• Live Tweet photos or video of the rally @MassGovernor
or hashtag your Tweet #Art97
to send the message direct to Charlie Baker that we do not want eminent domain for private gain to rob us of our protected lands

• Post pics or video to our Tumblr Blog
• or Facebook page “Stop TGP Northeast Expansion
• Instagram: nofrackedgasinmass

CAN'T MAKE IT TO PITTSFIELD?

• Tweet your message to Governor Baker @MassGovernor that we do not want eminent domain for private gain to rob us of our Article 97 protected lands. It can be a text tweet, video statement, or send a picture of yourself with your sign.

IDEAS:
No Eminent Domain for Private Gain
Protect Our Land, Not Utility Profits
Whose side are You on, Charlie?
No Public Land for Pipelines
Article 97 OVER Natural Gas Act

Elizabeth Warren asks US Fish & Wildlife to reject Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion request

By Nik DeCosta-Klipa, boston.com

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is asking the federal government to oppose a request that would allow construction to begin on a Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline.
In a letter to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Massachusetts senator urged the federal agency to reject a request by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, for an extension of the March 31 tree-clearing deadline so that the Kinder Morgan subsidiary can begin construction of the Connecticut Expansion.

The 13-mile pipeline—consisting of three loops in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, which was approved by the federal government in March—is not a part of the proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, another Kinder Morgan project that would transport fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania to New England.

“I am troubled by Kinder Morgan’s attempts to circumvent federal and state requirements and demand hasty approval of tree-clearing and other potentially damaging activities,” the Democratic senator wrote in her April 7 letter to the Fish & Wildlife Service regarding the expansion.

“The Connecticut Expansion Project has substantial implications for conservation efforts in Massachusetts,” she added, “and it should not be rushed forward without full consideration of those impacts.”



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Kulik and 90 other legislators against pipeline tariff in energy bill

By COLIN A. YOUNG, State House News Service
Monday, April 11, 2016

BOSTON — A bipartisan group of 91 lawmakers plans to deliver a letter to House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Wednesday preemptively objecting to the inclusion of any provision in an expected omnibus energy bill that would require electric ratepayers to pay for a proposed natural gas pipeline.
At issue in the letter circulated by House Ways and Means Vice Chairman Stephen Kulik and House Minority Leader Bradley Jones is a natural gas pipeline proposed by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. that would carry shale gas from Pennsylvania through parts of Massachusetts.

The pipeline would enter western Massachusetts from New York, cut across the northern part of Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin counties, divert into southern New Hampshire and re-enter Massachusetts before terminating in Dracut.

In the letter, the lawmakers say that in addition to burdening ratepayers, the pipeline will diminish private property values and public lands protected by the constitution and “make it impossible” for the state to meet its statutory emissions reduction requirements under the Global Warming Solutions Act.

“We ask you to ensure energy legislation does not commit ratepayers to bearing the cost and risk associated with financing new gas infrastructure,” Kulik, of Worthington, and Jones, of North Reading, wrote in the letter signed by 88 of their colleagues. “Doing so will create liabilities for the many legislators whose districts are impacted by one or more proposed fossil fuel projects, increase our state’s over-reliance on gas, and saddle ratepayers with significant expenses for years to come.”

» Read more


Massachusetts DPU Hearings Continue!

• National Grid Electric Bill Tariffs for NED and Access Northeast Pipelines - DPU Dockets 16-05, 16-07
May 3, 2016  7 PM - Stoughton High School, 232 Pearl Street, Stoughton, MA
May 11, 2016, 7 PM - Timony Grammar School, 45 Pleasant View St, Methuen, MA

• Berkshire Gas NED Supply Path precedent agreement – DPU Docket 15-178, evidentiary hearing on  Berkshire Gas’s proposed contract (“precedent agreement”) to buy gas transportation on the portion of the NED pipeline that would ship gas from Pennsylvania’s fracking fields to Wright, NY.  (This is the “supply path” section of NED.)

Evidentiary Hearing, May 4, 2016, 10 AM. Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, Boston, MA

• Eversource Electric Bill Tariffs for NED and Access Northeast Pipelines - DPU Docket 15-181. Eversource seeks a TWENTY YEAR commitment to pipeline capacity and a tariff for the cost recovery on Spectra’s Access Northeast pipeline.
— May 23, 7 PM - Walpole High School, 275 Common St., Walpole, MA
» See how to submit written comments for these DPU Docket


Children of the Wild Presents
"The Wastelands" in Holyoke

 
Children of the Wild, resident theatre company at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, MA that brought us last year's Pipeline Procession performances, has announced the launch of a north-American tour of their original traveling opera, The Wastelands, to commence at the Holyoke Creative Arts Center, from April 29-May 1, 2016.
In a similar vein to Children of the Wild’s Pipeline Processions, The Wastelands is a walking performance that brings audiences on a visceral journey through the seven stages of grief through music, movement, imagery and local testimony. A re-imagining of Dante Alighieri’s Purgatorio, the performance picks up where Pipeline Processions left off, entering a surreal landscape where audiences experience hidden connections between environmental ruin and social oppression. After the show, Children of the Wild is working with local community organizations to facilitate a conversation about race and movements toward the commons.
 
The Wastelands Holyoke performance marks the beginning of a five-month journey Children of the Wild is taking from New England across the Great Lakes. Through Buffalo, NY, Cleveland, OH, Lorain, OH, Detroit, MI, Duluth, MN, and Minneapolis, MN, Children of the Wild is collaborating with Great Lakes Commons and a wide-range of social and environmental advocacy groups to convene “points of confluence” around The Wastelands and explore through the arts what it means to rewild our social landscape in a violent time of political and environmental unraveling.
 
The show starts at 5:00pm Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30, and at
1:00pm Sunday May 1 at 384 Dwight Street in Holyoke, MA. It runs 75 minutes with a reception and dialogue to follow. All performances are free, open to the public, and meet ADA standards of accessibility.
 
This performance is made possible in part by the City of Holyoke Office of Planning and Economic Development, the Holyoke Creative Arts Center, the Wauregan Building, and MiFA/Victory Theatre.
 
Visit www.childrenofthewild.org to learn more and watch Children of the Wild’s call to action, “Rewild the Great Lakes”.

Support a GAO Review of FERC by sending letters to your state’s representative! 

Help secure an independent investigation by the Government Accountability Office into the abuses of power, process and law by FERC when it comes to interstate natural gas pipelines, their compressors and LNG export facilities. 

The Delaware Riverkeeper has initiated this campaign and made it easy to participate. Send your letter to all of your federal senators and congressional representatives with just one click.

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Fighting the Pipelines
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As the FERC, DPU and DOE processes continue, there will be lots more information to share with local communities. We'll keep providing research and guidance to help keep everyone informed and participating in the fight. This requires substantial ongoing operating funds to keep us working at optimal effectiveness.

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