May 6, 2017
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CT Expansion:
The fight continues, even at this dark hour

From Rosemary Wessel,  Founder / Director of No Fracked Gas in Mass

Tree cutting for CT Expansion pipeline near Hammertown Rd., Sandisfield, MA

As many of you already know, Tennessee Gas (Kinder Morgan)’s tree cutting crews are cutting their way through the path for the Connecticut Expansion pipeline, through private and state owned properties, through upland and wetland, and in preparation for dissembly of at least 20 Native American Ceremonial Stone sites.

This pipeline project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), despite concerns over host agreements with the town, and a despite a questionable definition of need, based on projected increases in gas use in CT that never fully manifested. They are forging ahead despite objections of local residents worried about personal safety and health; despite the objections of climate conscious people all over the region, who know that natural gas as a clean “bridge” fuel is a lie; and despite the objections of Native Tribes who were first asked to identify sites in the pipeline path, left out of the actual consulting process and then were invited to witness the destruction of their sacred sites as “monitors”.

And the same underlying theme of profits over people is happening across the state, whether its destruction of sensitive habitat in Sandisfield, putting neighborhoods in harm’s way in West Roxbury, or the still looming threats to the air quality and health of the people in Weymouth, Rohoboth and Burrillville, RI and along the proposed Access Northeast pipeline route. The same is happening all across this country as well.

We must not only continue to resist new fossil fuel development, but also continue to shape policy toward excluding fossil fuel and other high-carbon emission projects and toward including efficiency, truly clean energy sources and building capacity for grid storage. Our health, safety and lives depend on it!

For the fight against the NED pipeline, we were lucky. We heard about it early and had just enough time to mobilize, to offer information sessions and trainings for people to engage in the process; and then attend every hearing, every FERC open house, armed with facts to counter their spin and their industry-coded speech. We flooded the town halls and school auditoriums and gyms to capacity, demanded more hearings in more places not just of FERC, but the Dept. of Public Utilities, Energy Facilities Siting Board; flooded our local and state officials with our concerns so that they could also step up to the process,  confident that they were representing the will of their constituents; and flooded the FERC dockets with not only record numbers of comments, but record numbers of intervenor applications - seizing every opportunity to stake our claim in their system, be heard and to show numbers and speak to our resolve to not allow the project to go through.

Through persistence and resolve, we made the will of the people one of the major obstacles facing the project, combining with market forces to make it unfeasible for them to continue.  But even through this civil engagement in the civic process, we found ourselves labeled “eco-terrorists”, found ourselves searched and scanned by our own local police forces, working in their spare time on the pipeline company’s dime.
And we were the lucky ones.

There are times when the process can only bring you so far. Communities that might not find out about the project as early, or for whom the project is seen by regulators as less disruptive because it’s classified as a minor upgrade to already existing systems, find that they need to pursue other methods. No Fracked Gas in Mass is continuing its mission of working alongside many groups within the legislative, regulatory and legal systems to fight fossil fuel expansion (see CT Exp FERC filings page for latest) and help people participate in shaping future energy and environmental policy to prevent these threats from reappearing (see Energy Policy page for more info).

Below are the thoughts of a few of the people who, like those fighting the West Roxbury lateral before them, are taking action outside of those systems.

» From Ashfield, MA Selectman Ron Coler, on local officials' obligations to the environment. Ron was one of 18 arrested for blocking the CT Expansion access roads.

» From Alice Cozzolino of Alice's Kitchen, on the failure of the official process to halt this project, the action taken to halt tree felling and the role of race in the treatment of those resisting. Alice's wife, Amy was one of the 18 arrested.

» From the Sugar Shack Alliance, a leading direct action group fighting fossil fuel expansion here in the northeast, and in support of divestment from pipelines nationwide.
Direct action trainings from Sugar Shack Alliance


• See the Connecticut Expansion News page for latest update,
including video of today's Sugar Shack Alliance action on the pipeline route

State looked the other way as chainsaws
make way for pipeline in protected forest

By Mary Douglas, Berkshire Edge
May 6, 2017

Sandisfield — In the end, no one who could have put a stop to it stepped up to the plate to defend the constitutionally protected, jewel of a pristine pond nestled in an old-growth forest. The state Legislature, the Attorney General’s office, the Department of Environmental Protection and, predictably, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stood by idly while the chainsaws were powered up and trees began to fall in Otis State Forest.

Local Sandisfield residents, environmental groups in and beyond Berkshire County, and, to some extent, the Massachusetts Attorney General, all fought the pipeline, arguing that FERC and Tennessee had failed to comply with legal requirements. Indeed, on Friday, April 28 (correction: Tuesday, May 2) Massachusetts State Police arrested 18 members of the Sugar Shack Alliance who had blocked access to the forest.

» Pipeline protesters arrested at Otis State Forest after blocking access roads
by Mary C. Serreze, Springfield Republican / MassLive
May 2, 2017

by Heather Bellow, Berkshire Eagle
April 28, 2017

» For more information on the Ceremonial Stone Landscape issue
and the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office's fight to protect them,


Comments Still Being Accepted and Reviewed by Mass DEP!

Hi Friend of FRRACS,

As you may know, the MassDEP Department of Air and Waste issued the Air Quality Proposed Plan Approval to Spectra (Algonquin Gas Transmission) in April.  This plan approval was granted pending a 30 day commenting period that is to expire this coming Monday, May 1 at 5:00 pm. (NOW EXTENDED)

Please take a moment to comment.  This can make a big difference on whether or not the plan approval becomes an actual air quality permit.  It's easy to do!  If you do not have comments prepared, we have a list of issues--you need only choose one--and an easy template to send your comment.  

Just go to our website at and
file your comment

If you would prefer to send your comment yourself, please send it to:
Thomas Cushing, Permits Chief
MassDEP Southeast Regional Office
20 Riverside Drive
Lakeville MA  02347
or email

Thank you for all that you do!


Workshops to examine
‘100% Renewables for All’ campaign

Franklin County Continuing Political Revolution (FCCPR), is hosting forums in Greenfield, Orange, Shelburne Falls, to learn about a campaign launched statewide by Mass Power Forward to help all Massachusetts towns increase reliance on renewables.

The upcoming forums are:
Sunday, May 7, 4 p.m., at the Orange Innovation Center, 131 West Main St., Orange.
Tuesday, May 9, 7 p.m. at the Olver Transit Center on Bank Row, Greenfield.
Saturday, May 13, 4 p.m., Arms Library basement meeting room, Shelburne Falls.

Each workshop will include a compelling presentation about the many benefits of reducing our use of fossil fuels, and how that can be accomplished in a way that will improve our economies and create jobs. “The 100% Renewables for All” campaign tools will be reviewed, and there will be lots of time for discussion.

Clean Energy Future Tour:
Hearings on Upcoming MA Energy Policy

Over the next two months, the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, chaired by Senate President Pro Tempore Mark Pacheco, will hold a "Clean Energy Future Tour" throughout Massachusetts to get input from the public on critical issues related to clean energy and climate change, asking the question:

How do you think the legislature should keep our state healthy, sustainable and strong?

This is a good opportunity to voice your opinion on important environmental issues, such as stopping new gas pipelines and their accompanying compressor stations, LNG facilities and gas-burning electric plants, eliminating other high-carbon emissions generation like wood-burning biomass, keeping utilities from penalizing homeowners pursuing clean energy options, and boosting truly clean energy production and grid-scale storage for these systems. These hearings are your chance to bring your concerns and ideas directly to the MA Senate Committee.

The "Clean Energy Future Tour" hearings are planned for May 8th through June 26th, generally on Monday and Tuesday evenings, starting Monday, May 8th in Mashpee and Tuesday, May 9th in Sudbury.

Windsor, Cummington, Goshen, Worthington, MA:
WCGW Solarize Hits Lowest Pricing Tier
- Extended to May 15

Enough households have signed up to get solar through the Mass Solarize program in these four towns to bump the program into Tier 6, the least expensive pricing available. The Mass Solar Loan program will pay 30% of your loan if you qualify (and most folks do) which can very likely make your monthly payments toward owning your solar array cheaper than what your monthly Eversource bill was.

Solar can be roof or ground mount, depending on your location's needs. The evaluation and solar system design and estimate are free - no obligation.

Deadline to join in on this program has been extended to May 15.

Contact Eli Kuh at SunBug Solar,, 617-777-4511

Not in Windsor, Cummington, Goshen or Worthington?

» Learn more about how your community can sign up


Congress hears testimony on fast-tracking pipeline projects
By Susan Phillips, State Impact
Although anti-pipeline activists decry the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the agency that never met a pipeline project it wouldn’t approve, the natural gas industry says the regulatory process led by FERC is facing longer delays. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce heard testimony Wednesday about a proposal to speed-up that process, which currently involves a mix of federal and state permit approvals.

It’s not the first time Congress has considered amending the Natural Gas Act to grant FERC greater authority in coordinating the complex review process.

Jennifer Danis, a staff attorney for the Eastern Environmental Law Center, testified on behalf of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which is actively opposing the PennEast pipeline project.

“The changes would inappropriately expand FERC’s Natural Gas Act authority and undermine states’ rights, and undermine the important role that other federal and state agencies play in protecting natural resources for the public,” said Danis. “The proposed changes are a solution in search of a problem, because FERC approves over 90% of projects within a year.”

Another FERC commissioner announces departure

By Devin Henry, the Hill
April 28, 2017

Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner (FERC) Colette Honorable said Friday she will leave the board when her term expires in June.

“After much prayer and consideration I’ve decided not to pursue another term,” Honorable wrote in a note posted on Twitter.  “I appreciate the strong bipartisan support I’ve enjoyed over the years and look forward to continuing this important work after leaving the commission.”

Honorable’s retirement raises the possibility of there being only one FERC commissioner by this summer.

Trump named Cheryl LaFleur acting commissioner of the energy regulatory board in January, and hours later its previous head, Norman Bay, announced he was leaving FERC. The five-member body currently has two members — LaFleur and Honorable — and is short of a quorum.


What I Forgot…And Why I Remembered: A Journey to Environmental Awareness and Activism Through Purposeful Memoir. Join Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D., as she shares scenes from her lyrical, hard-hitting memoir. Jennifer details her own years of being entranced, both personally and professionally, in patterns of denial and avoidance.
This special presentation is a benefit for the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (B.E.A.T.) and its program, No Fracked Gas in Mass. Admission $10.
10:30 AM
5 Hammertown Road
P.O. Box 31
Sandisfield, MA


The events listed here are not sponsored or conducted by
No Fracked Gas in Mass. We offer them as a way of helping people participate in the full range of anti-pipeline, pro-clean-energy and environmental events shaping our future.


Non-Violent Direct Action Training – through the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership. These are appropriate for Sugar Shack folks and others wishing to learn the skills and foundations of non-violence in order to consider risking arrest in non-violence direct actions.
» To register:
12:30 TO 7:30PM
Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership
40 Center St.

NVDA / Peacekeepers Training. You must have completed the full non-violence training in order to take this training and we prefer that you have participated in a large demo where arrests happened or could have, but you do not have to have been arrested yourself.
» To register:
3 to 6 PM
Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership
40 Center St.

Non-Violent Direct Action Training – through the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership. These are appropriate for Sugar Shack folks and others wishing to learn the skills and foundations of non-violence in order to consider risking arrest in non-violence direct actions.
» To register:
9 AM to 5 PM
Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership
40 Center St.

Monday Evening Vigil against Spectra/AIM W. Roxbury Lateral

6:30 to 7:00 pm

Corner of Centre and Grove Sts

West Roxbury, MA 
(Across from the quarry)


Wednesday Vigil against Spectra/AIM’s W. Roxbury Lateral
8:00 to 9:00 am

Corner of Centre and Grove Sts.

West Roxbury, MA
(Across from the quarry)

Letter writing group working on letters against Spectra/AIM’s W. Roxbury Lateral targeted to specific recipients. Details about location are available by emailing SWRL at
7:00 pm

Weekly TD BANK Vigil to pressure TD to divest from Dakota Access Pipeline
Noon- 1:00 PM

324 Main St., (near Federal St corner)

Greenfield, MA

Weekly TD BANK Vigil to pressure TD to divest from Dakota Access Pipeline
Noon to 1:00 PM
215 Main St.
Brattleboro, VT

and 1:00 – 2:00 pm
2 Church St.
Bellows Falls, VT

We're fighting the CT Expansion pipeline, Access Northeast, Atlantic Bridge and others, keeping an eye out for possible resurrection of NED or another new projects. We're also working with PLAN-NE, Mass Power Forward and other organizations to help ensure bold steps away from fossil fuel dependency continue and grow!

No Fracked Gas in Mass is a program of Berkshire Environmental Action Team. Donations made through our direct online Donation button or mailed in check are tax deductible.