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Frances Crowe, seven others, arrested protesting pipeline in Sandisfield

  • In this file photo, private land owner Susan Baxter, center, explains tree-cutting concerns to Sugar Shack Alliance protesters on May 20 in Sandisfield. Submitted photo



@JackSuntrup
Sunday, June 25, 2017

Massachusetts State Police arrested eight protesters in Sandisfield Saturday, the latest chapter in an ongoing effort to disrupt Kinder Morgan pipeline work through Otis State Forest.

One of the protesters was 98-year-old Frances Crowe, who has a storied history of activism in Northampton.

According to a statement from the Sugar Shack Alliance, the eight protesters face trespassing charges after they held a mock funeral for fossil fuels and carried a coffin into the easement where the pipeline is being constructed.

The other seven protesters, according to state police:

• Eric Burcroff, 57, of Plainfield

• Dennis Carr, 59, of Cummington

• Ellen Graves, 76, of West Springfield

• Priscilla Lynch, 65, of Conway

• Constance Harvard, 69, of Northampton

• Elizabeth Ramirez, 47, of Holyoke

• Laura Simon, 63, of Wilder, Vermont.

The state police, in a statement, said the protest was peaceful and all were transported to the Berkshire House of Correction where they were to be booked.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, started sitework on its Connecticut Expansion Project in April, and was soon met with protests.

The tri-state $93 million project to construct a natural gas storage loop received a go-ahead from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In May, despite opposition from activists and U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, FERC denied citizen and other requests to halt construction.

The Sugar Shack Alliance and others are opposed to the pipeline running through public lands.

Eighteen protesters were arrested on May 2, 12 of them from Hampshire County. 

Then, one of the people arrested, James Perkins, 78, of Leverett, said: “For the company to just barge in here with the authority of the federal government behind it — it just enrages me.”

Jack Suntrup can be reached at jsuntrup@gazettenet.com.