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DAY 3: Anti-pipeline walkers find inspiration, support

In midst of 46-mile protest trek, rally held at St. James Church in Greenfield

  • Ben Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield speaks at the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield at the conclusion of day three of the 46-mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday.

  • Court Dorsey and Dineen O'Rourke sing at the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield at the conclusion of day three of the 46 mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday, March 19. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • George Moonlight Davis performs with Ben Grosscup at the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield at the conclusion of day three of the 46 mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday, March 19. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Ben Grosscup performs at the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield at the conclusion of day three of the 46 mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday, March 19. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield stand with signs showing Western Massachusetts towns' opposition to the pipeline, at the conclusion of day three of the 46-mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Gabriel Shapiro, of Hampshire College, prays at the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield at the conclusion of day three of the 46 mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday, March 19. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Carolyn Ness, the chair of the Deerfield select board speaks at the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield at the conclusion of day three of the 46 mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday, March 19. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • George Moonlight Davis performs with Ben Grosscup at the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield at the conclusion of day three of the 46 mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday, March 19. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Jed Proujansky, of the Northfield select board, speaks at the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield at the conclusion of day three of the 46 mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday, March 19. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • George Moonlight Davis performs with Ben Grosscup at the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield at the conclusion of day three of the 46-mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield stand with signs showing Western Massachusetts towns' opposition to the pipeline, at the conclusion of day three of the 46 mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday, March 19. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • George Moonlight Davis performs with Ben Grosscup at the anti-pipeline rally at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield at the conclusion of day three of the 46 mile walk to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, Saturday, March 19. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt



Sunday, March 20, 2016

GREENFIELD — Three days spent walking roads from Windsor to Greenfield had some anti-pipeline marchers convinced more than ever of the urgency of their cause.

“It’s been so beautiful it makes you doubly aware of the (need) to preserve this,” said walker Laura Kaye.

Kaye sat with new acquaintances in the St. James Episcopal Church chapel Saturday evening as marchers rested on the next to last day of the march, to end Sunday in Northfield. The Sugar Shack Alliance’s four-day, 46-mile walk followed the approximate path of the proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. Northeast Energy Direct project between proposed compressor stations in Windsor and Northfield.

Kaye lives in Northfield, and fears the health, environmental and other impacts of a compressor station, and opposes the hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” process used to extract some natural gas.

Not all walking live in a town crossed by the route.

“I believe we’re all on the route, basically,” said Shira Lynn of Williamstown. “You don’t have to be on the route to understand the importance of this,” Kaye said.

Bob Marshal of Chicopee was another marcher off the direct route but still involved.

“I think we need to get right on the matter at hand … start producing solar energy as fast as we can and put a lot of people to work,” Marshal said. He was impressed with the scenery and the people along the route.

More than 100 people turned out for a rally Saturday evening in St. James Episcopal Church, closing out the day’s walk, workshops and demonstrations in the Franklin County seat.

Attendees heard from musicians, a farmer on the route – Ben Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farm in Deerfield — town officials involved in the fight, and, by video, nationally prominent environmentalist Bill McKibben.

McKibben, author of 1989’s “The End of Nature,” said the effort to stop the buildout of pipelines across the country is crucial as climate change continues. “We just came through the hottest winter recorded in the United States, we just came through the hottest month on Earth … the world is changing extraordinarily fast; we are way behind physics right now and our job is somehow to catch up,” McKibben said.

McKibben told marchers that every step they take inspires and supports others.

Carolyn Shores Ness, of the Deerfield Board of Selectmen and Board of Health, spoke of Deerfield’s efforts to challenge the pipeline from another angle. The town is fighting the pipeline on a public health footing with the pro-bono help of lawyer Cristobal Bonifaz. Shores Ness predicted a win in the first stage of the legal fight and promised not to let go. “Keep up the fight, and we’re going to go all the way to the Supreme Court too,” Shores Ness told the room.

Clark, whose family orchard is no longer threatened with bisection by the proposed pipeline, said the blasting and drilling directly to the north will still imperil the well water supply. As a volunteer firefighter, he said rural departments will not have the resources to fight a pipeline explosion.

Several activists called for concerned residents to donate money to pipeline opposition groups as the expensive legal fight begins.

Property rights were a prominent objection as the movement rallies against the pipeline company’s petition for eminent domain where landowners have denied requests to survey or build. Northfield Selectman Jed Proujansky called on all to attend the Department of Public Utilities hearing on the question at 7 p.m. March 30 in the Greenfield Middle School.

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg offered encouragement in remarks delivered by proxy, telling protesters he has been told the pipeline project is one of the most contentious to date and pointed to an anti-pipeline success in Oregon. “The concerns of the residents in Oregon are similar to ours and should empower us to remain involved with the process and make sure our voices continue to be heard,” Rosenberg said through an organizer.

The four-day march was sponsored by the anti-pipeline Sugar Shack Alliance, whose organizers include Hampshire College students. Residents opposed to the Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Energy Direct pipeline have been active since 2014, organizing marches, petitions, local government resolutions and other efforts.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com