Ten arrested during gas pipeline protest

SANDISFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Ten people were arrested this morning on trespassing charges after a peaceful protest at a natural gas pipeline project in western Massachusetts.

State police said the demonstrators blocked roads in the work area. Police said the two groups refused to leave.

Demonstrators have been protesting an easement that allows the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to widen its right of way through Otis State Forest. The federally approved project extends existing pipeline infrastructure in Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut, adding four miles of new underground pipeline in Massachusetts.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, started work in April on the Connecticut Expansion Project. The $93 million project will upgrade Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s existing system to meet increased demand in the Northeast for transportation capacity for natural gas. The pipeline will cut through Albany County in New York, Berkshire and Hampden counties in Massachusetts, and Connecticut’s Hartford County.

More than 20 people have been arrested at the work area since the spring, including 98-year-old Frances Crowe, a well-known peace and environmental activist.

Today’s demonstration began early. Troop B of the Massachusetts State Police was notified at 6:47 a.m. about the two groups of protestors, according to a statement by State Police spokesman Dave Procopio. When the troopers arrived, the protestors refused to disperse and were arrested and taken to the Berkshire Sheriff’s Department to be booked.

Procopio’s statement said that those arrested were expected to be released and ordered to appear in court for arraignment in the “near future.” By 9:10, the roads were clear.

According to state police, those arrested were:  

1.    Irvine Sobleman, 67, of Northampton;

2.    Ellen M. Graves, 76, of West Springfield;

3.    Patricia P. Wieland, 73, of Northampton;

4.    Harriet A. Nestel, 78, of Athol;

5.    Amanda L. Nash, 58, of Gloucester;

6.    Erik W. Burcroff, 57, of Plainfield;

7.    Priscilla Lynch, 65, of Conway;

8.    Mary E. Kehler, 70, of Colrain;

9.    Bonner J. McAllister, 68, of Monterey; and

10.  Sherrill Hogen, 78, of Charlemont.

Gazette staff contributed to this report.

Author: Going Green

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