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Pipeline Demonstrators Arrested for Blocking Forest Access Roads
Staff Reports,
02:49PM / Tuesday, May 02, 2017
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SANDISFIELD, Mass. — State police they have arrested 18 demonstrators for trespassing at two separate locations at the Sandisfield pipeline extension project on Tuesday morning. 
 
The protesters apparently ran chains and caution tape with "resist" on it across two access roads in an attempt to stop Kinder Morgan from felling trees in Otis State Forest to make way for a natural gas pipeline. According to police, they "indicated that they wanted to be arrested. They notified State Police beforehand that they would not comply with requests to disperse from the roads."
 
The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. was given permission by U.S. Federal Energy Regulator Commission in March to begin 13 miles of natural gas pipeline loops, including two in Massachusetts, for its Connecticut Expansion Project. The Massachusetts Loop will run a 36-inch diameter pipe nearly four miles near Sandisfield and through Otis State Forest; the Connecticut Loop will run more than 8 miles of 24-inch diameter pipe from Agawam to East Granby, Conn. 
 
Residents and environmental activists have strongly opposed the pipeline running through Otis State Forest, some 3,800 acres of old-growth forest and lands protected under the state Constitution's Article 97 conservation law.
 
Earlier this year, Berkshire Superior Court upheld an agreement between the state and Kinder Morgan's subsidiary for a 2-mile easement through the forest. 
 
Another proposal by Kinder Morgan to run a pipeline from New York through Massachusetts and New Hampshire to the coast was tabled after facing fierce opposition. 
 
Access to the forest was limited beginning last week by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, including placing signs restricting the public's ability to use the area. 
 
Troop B is maintaining a presence during project operations and is staging operations from near Otis Town Hall.
 
Those arrested were in two groups of nine, with each group blocking a different access road to  obstruct members of the project team conducting tree cutting operations. The blocked locations were approximately one-half mile apart.
 
According to police, "The demonstrators were all peaceful and respectful. After refusing requests to move from the roads, they were arrested and charged with trespassing. They will be brought to the Berkshire County House of Correction for processing and eventually arraigned in the Great Barrington District Court."
 
The names of those arrested are:
  1. JOHN K. COHEN, 79, of Northampton;
  2. RONALD R. COLER, 61, of Ashfield;
  3. JOAN L. LEVY, 64, of Pelham;
  4. REMA LOEB, 84, of Plainfield;
  5. MICKY McKINLEY, 72, of Montague;
  6. ASAPH MURFIN, 74, of Leverett;
  7. HARRIET NESTEL, 78, of Athol;
  8. JAMES PERKINS, 78, of Leverett;
  9. AMY PULLEY, 61, of Cummington;
  10. DIANE SIBLEY, 68, of Ashfield;
  11. VIVIENNE L. SIMON, 66, of Northampton;
  12. STEPHEN J. STOIA, 69, of Northfield;
  13. SUSAN L. TRIOLO, 67, of Sunderland;
  14. BENJAMIN JAMES VANARNAM, 30, of Easthampton;
  15. LYDIA VERNON-JONES, 68, of Amherst;
  16. RUSSELL VERNON-JONES, 70, of Amherst;
  17. MARTIN H. URBEL, 74, of Northampton; and
  18. KEVIN A. YOUNG, 32, of Northampton.
 
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