April 11, 2016

Kinder Morgan CT Expansion Pipeline Eminent Domain Hearing now April 15!

Kinder Morgan v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the eminent domain condemnation complaint to take state protected land for pipeline construction, will be heard Friday, April 15, in Berkshire Superior Court, Pittsfield.  On March 11, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Kinder Morgan’s (KM/TGP) Connecticut Expansion Pipeline. On March 17, Kinder Morgan filed the complaint to take land in Otis State Forest of Sandisfield to build a “gas storage” pipeline loop on land protected by the Massachusetts Constitution.

KM/TGP failed to get the required legislative release for the state lands permanently protected under Article 97 of the Articles of the Amendments to the Massachusetts State Constitution. KM/TGP filed the eminent domain condemnation complaint with accompanying request for immediate access and entry to begin construction (tree felling) at the State Forest, without obtaining their required water quality permits from Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers.

This 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.

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

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.

CT Expansion Eminent Domain Hearing Rules
Rules for conduct for the Public Hearing on Kinder Morgan’s Eminent Domain case for the CT Expansion pipeline, which has segments in NY, MA and CT. 
» Please view rally and courthouse rules before attending!
This is a public court hearing, but only parties named in the case may speak. No recording devices allowed. No protest materials, including issue-based t-shirts allowed in courtroom. No sign posts allowed in Pittsfield (ordinance bars anything that could be used as a weapon). Directions and parking maps also available on this page.

» View all the court filings in this case

Help us fight back!
Visit No Fracked Gas in Mass to donate so that we can assist S.T.O.P. and others in this fight for Article 97 of our State Constitution, and share this image on social media!

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DPU Hearings for Survey Permission draw opposition
Hearings held so far for DPU Dockets #16-01, 16-02 and 16-03 have drawn lots of heated opposition. See these articles for details.
Pittsfield: Speakers oppose Kinder Morgan request to take land for pipeline
» View the Greenfield Survey Permission Hearing on YouTube
(Forward to 1:07:00 for start of hearing)

Massachusetts DPU Hearings Continue!

Kinder Morgan Survey Permission Hearings - The last two hearings for DPU Dockets #16-01, 16-02, 16-03 will be held this week.
April 13, 7 PM - Dracut Senior High School, 1540 Lakeview Avenue, Dracut, MA
April 14, 7 PM - Andover High School, 80 Shawsheen Road, Andover, MA

• 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 Dockets

Spirits high at Albany Rally to Deny the 401!

On April 5, hundreds gathered at the NY State House steps to urge Governor Cuomo to deny the 401 Water Quality Certificate for the Constitution Pipeline. Doing so would not only end Constitution, but block a supply line for the NED pipeline proposal and set a precedent for states' rights to say no to FERC.
So far the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation is not convinced the Constitution can meet state water quality standards, but they've yet to formally deny the permit. Activists from NY, MA, NH, CT and beyond have been asking Gov. Cuomo to finally end the suspense and set a precedent that could be followed for pipelines all across the US.

Photographer Kim Clune is currently putting together video clips of the rally.
» Visit the YouTube playlist often as they're edited, uploaded and added.

Cuomo has until April 26th to DENY the 401 for Constitution Pipeline.
Please call today! 518-474-8390
Please click here and log a comment today!
Message is simple: DENY the 401 for Constitution Pipeline today!

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

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) operates as a Rubber Stamp on the pipeline infrastructure projects that come before it for review – with FERC approval being a foregone conclusion once the project goes before the FERC Commissioners for their vote.  This bias is fueled by the fact that FERC is 100% funded by the pipeline industry and the other industries it is supposed to be independently regulating.  In addition, the revolving door between FERC and industry employees strengthens the capture of the agency that fuels the bias.  

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.

What happens when you offer FERC "The Last Drop"?
Josh Fox has a new 15 minute film about FERC's use of eminent domain and the Holleran Maple Sugar Farm. See what happens when affected landowners try to relate to FERC on a personal level.
» Watch here

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