Fossil fuel industry insider, Stephen C. Dodge of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council, decided to close out 2017 by criticizing the Berkshire Eagle’s coverage of the protests surrounding the CT Expansion, and citing cliché trope of claiming that those opposing the project are “lavishly paid protesters”. Several replies took issue with his assessment and the ironic fact that a paid advocate of fossil fuels is attempting to use that very definition (falsely) as an attempt to disparage them.
Letter: State police acting prudently in Sandisfield
December 31, 2017
To the editor of the Berkshire Eagle:
After yet another Eagle story about the Massachusetts State Police’s safe, successful, and professional handling of anti-energy-infrastructure protests in Sandisfield (Eagle, Dec. 27), we think your coverage demands a reality check.
Let’s get real about what actually happened here: Dozens of people traveled to Sandisfield, often from hundreds of miles away, specifically in hopes of getting arrested in order to make a political point. With zero injuries and zero complaints of police brutality, the state police enforced our laws against criminal trespass — and arrested people who wanted to be arrested.
Especially after the violence and sabotage perpetrated by anti-pipeline protesters elsewhere in the country, protecting public safety was a critical priority for the state police in Sandisfield. The hours of police details required on site reflected the reality of a determined and apparently lavishly funded opposition, much of it coming not just from out of the county but out of the state to stage made-for-media protests for months on end. It is bizarre for The Eagle to imply that the state police were doing anything questionable by reaching out to Kinder Morgan before these completely predictable protests occurred. In fact, it was proactive, professional public-safety management work to have a plan in place.
We can only imagine the criticism if our state police had not planned ahead as prudently as they did for handling these protests. It’s equally bizarre for protesters who did everything they possibly could do to maximize the need for police details and arrests in Sandisfield to then complain about the cost for the details and the arrests — especially when that cost was borne 100 percent by the private company targeted by this richly funded protest campaign.
Stephen C. Dodge,
The writer is the executive director of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council.
REPLIES FROM CITIZEN AREA ACTIVISTS:
Letter: The big lie about pipeline protesters
January 3, 2018
To the editor:
The grassroots Connecticut Expansion pipeline protestors are unpaid, peaceful volunteers despite what was recently opined in this paper. I’ve met with several of the protesting groups and leaders and know them fairly well.
A Berkshire Eagle letter dated Dec. 31 composed by Stephen C. Dodge, executive director of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council asserts that these Connecticut Expansion protestors are part of a “richly funded protest campaign,” are law-breaking and, by implication, are non-transparent in their actions against the fracked gas pipeline developer Kinder Morgan.
They do not protest “in hopes of getting arrested in order to make a political point” as Mr. Dodge petulantly states. It seems that he is a registered lobbyist in Massachusetts for 2017, one of three working for the American Petroleum Institute here.
These Western Mass. residents respectfully protest this pipeline at the construction site to protect our state forests, Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution and Spectacle Pond out of desperation because they have exhausted their legal remedies to stop it. Peaceful protesting is not a criminal act.
In this case, Western Mass. community groups called Sugar Shack Alliance and Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposed to the Pipeline helped to organize these fracked gas pipeline protestors. Unlike what Mr. Dodge states, their financial support is primarily based on the receipt of small, local donations.
Attend one of their meetings and learn for yourself that no one in these citizen groups is paid a penny since all members volunteer their time and efforts. They have no hidden agenda either, I might add.
They know that we don’t need more fossil fuels, and know that our reliance on more gas, and fossil fuels in general, wreaks havoc on our air, soil and water.
Other community-based citizen groups such as No Fracked Gas in MA., 350 MA-Berkshires and Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline have also been protesting this Kinder Morgan pipeline for the same reasons.
All of these concerned environmental groups are truly our earth protectors and, indeed, the only paid people herein are the conspiring corporatists working directly for the fossil fuel industry itself.
Indeed, Mr. Dodge’s theories (consider the source) about the protestors have no basis in fact, are completely non-sourced and are a perfect example of the bellowing BIG LIE. You know the drill: keep lying loud and long enough to anyone who will listen and maybe someone will believe you.
The writer is co-founder Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline.
Letter: Petroleum exec’s letter is laughably inaccurate
January 4, 2018
To the editor:
The letter submitted by Stephen C. Dodge, executive director of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council, titled “State police acting prudently in Sandisfield” (Eagle, Dec. 31) is so laughably inaccurate as to almost preclude comment. But it’s important to point out that members of the Sugar Shack Alliance are the exact opposite of being “lavishly” or “richly” funded.” They are, in fact, grassroots activists who receive no pay and fund their own gas, tolls and other expenses out of their own pockets.
As far as “violence and sabotage perpetrated by anti-pipeline protesters elsewhere in the country,” the violence and sabotage taking place across this country is against native peoples, citizens of the U.S., others around the world, and all species who are subjected to the destruction and desecration of their water, air, lands, homes, and sacred sites by those who fill their wallets without care for future generations and our precious planet.
Letter: Protesters aren’t rich, oil corporations are
January 3, 2018
To the editor:
Stephen C. Dodge of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council obviously supports the pipeline in South Berkshire (Letters, Dec. 31). I think it’s hysterically funny that he, speaking on behalf of rich corporations, refers to the protesters as being “lavishly” and “richly” funded.
No, Mr. Dodge, you’re wrong and simply trying to paint others with a paint brush that belongs in your own can of paint. People who know how unsafe the pipelines are for anyone whose lands they cross or are in close proximity to are doing small fundraisers online from other very ordinary people to afford to travel, and/or spending out of their own pockets to get to Sandisfield and other threatened places. They’re carpooling or taking a bus mostly — cheaper methods than how you’re probably accustomed to traveling.
Often they’re people who have already fought to save their own communities from pipelines and believe in helping other people under the same threat. In other words, people who are nothing like you, sitting in your undoubtedly well-appointed office in Boston.
If it were your home being threatened however, you’d change your tune.