There are deep concerns over Kinder Morgan / Tennessee Gas’s (TGP”) plans for dealing with ceremonial stone landscape (“CSL”) features sacred to native peoples with cultural, religious and historical connections to land in Sandisfield, Massachusetts along the proposed route of the TGP Connecticut Expansion Project.
73 CSLs were identified in an on-the-ground survey conducted by several Tribes in the second half of 2016. According to Deputy Tribal Historical Preservation Officer Doug Harris of the Narragansett Indian Tribe, a full one-third of these CSLs will be desecrated during the construction of this pipeline.
On December 29, 2016, FERC sent a “Notification of Adverse Effect” to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s Office of Federal Agency Programs. Deputy THPO Doug Harris registered his concerns in this letter, the Nolumbeka Project, and others are now chiming in on the FERC Docket for the CT Expansion project (FERC Docket #CP14-529).
So far, our people in Congress have not commented on this issue. Please contact them and tell them to insist that this project come to a halt and that Native voices be heard and respected.
— Senator Elizabeth Warren – DC 202-224-4543, Springfield 413-788-2690
— Senator Ed Markey – DC 202-224-2742, Springfield 413-785-4610
— Congressman Richie Neal – DC 202-225-5601, Springfield 413-785-0325
— Congressman Jim McGovern – DC 202-225-6101, Northampton 413-341-8700
— Out of the Berkshires / Pioneer Valley?
Find your Congressperson’s contact info here.
Key points of concern to bring up:
- FERC’s EA was issued before the NHPA surveys were taken:
FERC’s Environmental Assessment (“EA”), issued in 2015, included alternative routes that may have avoided many of the CSLs, but FERC approved the primary route before the CSL survey was undertaken. Thus, the FERC certificate was issued in violation of the implementing regulations of the National Historic Preservation Act (the “NHPA Regulations”), which require that the agency “complete the section 106 process ‘prior to the issuance of any license.’” 36 CFR 800.1(c). This regulation also makes clear that the purpose of initiating the section 106 process early in project planning is to ensure “that a broad range of alternatives may be considered during the planning process”. 36 CFR 800.1(c).
» See NITHPO’s attorney’s citations on violations of the NHPA
- Proceeding without full Tribal participation “in the resolution of adverse effects” is an unconscionable act that also violates the NHPA Regulations, specifically 36 CFR 800.2(c)(2)(ii)(A).
- Although some have suggested that it would be acceptable to disassemble the CSLs and reassemble them when construction of the Project is completed, Mr. Harris explains that their disassembly would be seen as an interruption of the prayers placed there. According to Mr. Harris, “Then what you have is an artistic replica of something that was spiritual. Once you remove the stones, the spiritual content is broken.”
- Disturbance or destruction of these sites would further erase traces of a part of our history, and a still living segment of our culture that is already too often ignored – that of this region’s first peoples. To disturb these ceremonial features is damaging to the religious sensibilities of our Native citizens who still embrace the beliefs of their forebearers.
- Regardless of our heritage, all citizens of our region would be poorer for the loss of these original historic sites, and their destruction should not be allowed.
- FERC must not allow the these native artifacts to be destroyed.
- TGP Answer in Opposition to NITHPO’s Motion to Intervene Out of Time – 4.12.2017
- **FERC Notice to Proceed with Tree Felling & Construction – 4.12.2017
- NITHPO Answer in Opposition to TGP’s Request for NTP – 4.12.2017
- NITHPO Motion to Intervene Out of Time – 4.9.2017
- NIPTHO Request for Extension – 4.9.2017
- Nolumbeka Project Letter in Support of NITHPO Response – 1.12.2017
- NITHPO Response to Notification of Adverse Effects – 1.3.2017
- Notification of Adverse Effects (CSLs) – 12.29.2016
••• To contribute to legal efforts to protect these sites:
Please contribute to the Ceremonial Stone Landscape Protection Fund via Climate Action Now’s fiscal sponsor, “Creative Thought and Action”
( For more information, click here. )
To contribute by check:
You can make your check payable to “Creative Thought and Action”, the fiscal sponsor for Climate Action Now, who are working with the Narragansett Indian Tribe Historical Preservation Office raise money for the legal fight to protect these ancient sacred sites.
Please put CSL in the “for” line and mail it to Climate Action Now’s treasurer:
250 Shutesbury Road
Amherst, MA 01002
» Learn more about preserving Native sites in MA
from Lisa McLoughlin of Nolumbeka Project
• Check Our Events Page often for talks and concerts on this subject coming up soon!
( Tiny URL for this page: http://tinyurl.com/SaveMANativeSites )