By Heather Bellow, Berkshire Eagle
July 24, 2017
SANDISFIELD — The new line is now buried, tucked into the earth with two other pipelines, right next to the Thoreau Cabin Pipeline Barricade. The barricade didn’t stop Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s two-mile Otis State Forest stretch of its 13-mile Connecticut Expansion Project, but the activists who put it here aren’t stopping, either.
And today they had state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, to lend support to their ongoing mission to complicate any endeavor that involves expanding the fossil fuel infrastructure. Hinds stood in the open-walled cabin modeled after the one built in 1845 by Henry David Thoreau on Walden Pond in Concord, “the birthplace of the conservation movement” said creator Will Elwell. And from this cabin one can see what it really takes to build a pipeline.
“When you look out and see … it’s discouraging,” Hinds said, looking around at roughly 40 activists — beyond them some forest wreckage and the newly packed earth — and said he was puzzled when the state settled in court with the Kinder Morgan subsidiary for an easement on land protected by the state constitution’s Article 97.
“Wait a second — why do we have a constitution and Article 97?” Hinds said he had wondered, referring to the company’s payment to the state of $1.2 million that included $640,000 for the land. And it was the wrestling of this land from the state that is still drawing outrage to this quiet corner, where moose eat lily pads from ponds and turkeys casually saunter.
Wild things flourish in the open here, and many keep hidden, perhaps in the mossy old growth forest not far from where the company is building this part of it’s $93 million line for gas intended mostly for Connecticut customers.