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March 26, 2015  Climate Action Now Newsletter
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www.ClimateActionNowMA.org

 

You are warmly invited to the next Climate Action Now Monthly Gathering

 
 Monday, March 28th 
7 to 9 PM
Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst 
121 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, Mass
(on a bus line and handicap accessible) 
 
This is a critical time in our work to stop the Kinder Morgan fracked gas pipeline. Please help us prepare for important upcoming actions described below. Workgroups include Stop the Pipeline,  Mothers Out Front, and Legislative Action. 
 
Let's work together to create an inclusive, unstoppable movement for climate justice!
 

Photo: Rene Theberge

Our Date with the DPU
  Everyone Come to Greenfield this Wednesday 

 
Wednesday, March 30
Arrive at 6:30 PM  with signs and songs so we have a vibrant outdoor presence
 Hearing starts at 7 PM
 Greenfield Middle School Auditorium
195 Federal Street
Greenfield, Mass.
 
Kinder Morgan has petitioned the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) for access to over 450 properties; land where owners have steadfastly refused access to the pipeline giant to conduct “surveys preliminary to eminent domain.” Every landowner who resists surveying is slowing Kinder Morgan down; the corporate behemoth needs this on-the-ground data in order to complete their pipeline project planning process.

Please join us to show solidarity with friends and neighbors whose property rights are under attack and who will be making statements to the DPU. More information is available here in the News & Updates section. Your written comments, due by Friday May 6, 2016, are appreciated; we want to be sure that landowners are able to have priority in speaking at the hearing. Go to nofrackedgasinmass for terrific in-depth analysis and help with comments about this and related pipeline issues.

Kinder Morgan Files for Eminent Domain 

Condemnation of Article 97 Protected Land    

 Western Mass Organizes to Resist!


Read the excerpts below from an article by Ritchie Davis for an excellent overview of current developmemts. 
 

AG plans to file in Berkshire pipeline case 

 
By Richie Davis for the Daily Hampshire Gazette: Thursday, March 24, 2016
 
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is pressing ahead to begin cutting trees for its Connecticut Expansion Project after arguing in a Berkshire Superior Court suit that it doesn’t need state permission to build across Otis State Forest in Sandisfield.
 
The company on March 11 received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for its 13.42 mile-long loop through two miles of state-owned land protected from development by Article 97 of the state constitution. And on Tuesday it asked to proceed with tree felling to beat a March 31 deadline set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and keep its project on schedule…
 
The suit by TGP, which has also called on Fish and Wildlife to extend the tree-clearing deadline to May 1, is seen as a precedent for the company to work around the Article 97 conservation land provision on its Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project through eight Franklin County towns.
 
The state attorney general’s office plans to file its response to the suit Tuesday to defend the constitutional provision, according to a spokesman for the AG. A hearing is set for next Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Pittsfield court.

Meanwhile, a group of Sandisfield property owners, which on March 17 filed with FERC to halt its approval of the Connecticut Expansion project in the southern Berkshires, has formally notified the commission that it plans to sue FERC in U.S. District Court for what it says is violating the federal Clean Water Act by approving the Connecticut pipeline looping project.
 
Until required certification by the Massachusetts DEP is approved or waived, said Alexander English, a lawyer for Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline, the federal Clean Water Act expressly prohibits FERC from issuing a certificate.
 
“It is a violation of (FERC’s) own mandate, to obey applicable federal and state permitting and laws,” to grant its certificate for the project before a Section 401 water-quality permit has been granted, said the notice of intent to sue.

The company’s Berkshire Superior Court lawsuit was filed one day after the Massachusetts Joint Legislative Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight voted to set aside legislation filed by Rep. Garrett Bradley, D-Hingham, calling for releasing the Otis State Forest land from Article 97 protection of conservation property. A two-thirds approval vote in both legislative branches would have been required to release the property from the provision. Read more
here


No Fracked Gas in Mass is doing amazing work. If you are able, please donate to their parent organization, Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT). Your donation is tax deductible and will help ensure that this invaluable organization continues to support all of us in our campaign to stop the pipelines. Go to No Fracked Gas in Mass to make your donation.

News Flash: FERC tells Kinder Morgan to slow down and provide more documentation before FERC will respond to KM’s request to start tree cutting. 


Here are some highlights gleaned by Rose Wessel of No Fracked Gas in Mass
Kinder Morgan needs:
  • Actual easements for any properties, including Article 97 land
  • An actual plan
  • A list of access roads to be used
  • To contact landowners
  • A 404 Water Quality Certificate (WQC) from NY and New England offices
  • Confirmation from MA & CT that 401 WQC are not needed (as KM claims)
  • To identify wetland setbacks
  • Evidence of clearance for bald and golden eagles from CT NDD and MA Dept F&W from USFWS
  • Clearance for 23 CT state listed species
  • A plan showing that no ceremonial stone landscapes are affected in MA
We are closely monitoring the situation.  No trees are currently being cut so for right now we ask you to take the following three actions: 
 

 Come to Pittsfield this Thursday for a Public Hearing on Kinder Morgan’s Eminent Domain case for the Connecticut Expansion Pipeline  


We need lots of people there to demonstrate our strength! 

Please join us if at all possible.
 
Thursday, March 31, 2016
2:00 PM

Berkshire County Superior Court
76 East Street, Pittsfield, MA
 We will gather across the street at 12:30 for a rally / press conference!


Please go to No Fracked Gas in Mass for important details about this action.

 Tell  the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that you oppose Kinder Morgan's request for permission to start cutting trees and that FERC must deny their request.


Refer to FERC Docket No. CP14-529 in your written statement. You can use the sample language below. Feel free to adapt the  wording and include a statement about Article 97 and the need for our protected land to remain undeveloped.
 
"I oppose TGP's request for permission to proceed with tree-cutting.  FERC should deny the request, as it did the Constitution Pipeline Company's request (with respect to tree-cutting in New York State) under Docket No. CP13-499, because TGP does not have the 401 water quality certificates required for this project."  

Anyone can submit a comment in opposition. If you intervened in the CT Expansion docket, you should mention that you are a party to the proceeding and are formally objecting to the request for a notice to proceed. For  clear instructions about sending your comment to FERC go to 
No Fracked Gas in Mass for details and instructions.
 

Make your voice heard: Tell the Baker Administration to stand up to Kinder Morgan and FERC now!
 

Pipeline companies like Kinder Morgan target open space for their pipeline expansions. For the Connecticut Expansion project, Kinder Morgan wants to take public land in our constitutionally protected Otis State Forest in Sandisfield for their own private profit. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a certificate for this project that could, if left unchallenged, allow clear-cutting through land that was placed into “permanent” protection just nine years ago.

Under the Massachusetts Constitution, this type of taking of public land requires a supermajority of both chambers of our state legislature - which Kinder Morgan wants FERC to preempt! Even worse, Kinder Morgan is trying to begin tree felling without all state and federal permits, and has asked for an exemption from previously agreed-upon cutting restrictions that are in place to protect migratory birds and endangered bats. Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is defending the Commonwealth against Kinder Morgan in court. Please go
here to send a letter and/or make the call.

Non-Violent Direct Action Training To Stop the Kinder Morgan NED Pipeline
 

Saturday, April 9th
    9:00 am to 6 pm
Conway Grammar School
Conway, MA 
 
Learn the basics of non-violence; engage in activities to help prepare you to join in large actions and to risk arrest if you choose to; learn what escalates and de-escalates conflict; discover the purpose and structure of affinity groups and connect with other people looking to form affinity groups.
 
You do NOT need to be in an affinity group to participate nor do you need to know whether you are prepared to risk arrest. If you have already taken part 1 of the NVDA training or have been in an affinity group in the last five years and participated in a large action that could have included civil disobedience, you may join us for the afternoon part of the day only (Part 2). Details will follow once you register.
 
There is no charge, but we do pass a hat to cover costs of materials, gas and time for the trainers. Folks usually throw in from $5 to $20 each. Morning, lunch and afternoon breaks are included in the schedule.
 
TO REGISTER: email
here with your name, phone number, e-mail address, and whether you are registering for Part I, Part II, or both by April 1st.
 
 

March 29th Lobby Day:
Clean, Local, & Healthy Energy for Massachusetts
 

On March 29, activists from across the state are converging on the Statehouse to meet with legislators and show our support for climate action and social justice. Climate Action Now supports the five positions put forward by Mass Power Forward (MPF) for this event:
 
No Gas Infrastructure Subsidy
No Public Lands for Pipelines
Support Offshore Wind
Support Solar
Support Communities with Retiring Plants
 
MPF is calling on Governor Baker and the legislature to adopt energy policy that stops fossil fuel subsidies, supports local renewable energy resources, keeps energy dollars in our communities, creates good green jobs and protects our Commonwealth from climate change and life-threatening pollution.  

We will raise other issues including Fair Carbon Pricing and Divestment. Members of the B’nai Israel Congregation will address a  broad range of social justice issues. We are approaching this day in the spirit of democracy and collaboration. The timing for this event is critical with bills being debated now that will have huge impact on our future.
 
Car pools will be leaving from Temple B’nai Israel, 253 Prospect St, Northampton at 8am. If you need a ride or can drive email here with “need ride” or “can drive” in the subject line. Include your Rep. in the subject line (Reps. Gonzales, Kocot, Kulik, Petrolati, Puppelo, Scibak, Story, Swan, Tosada, Vega, and Velis are the Valley Reps.)  Many people are planning to leave the Statehouse at 4 pm; if you need to leave earlier negotiate with your crew.
 
Taking Heart in Hard Times
 A Community Gathering and Ritual
Sunday, April 17
 2-5 pm
Edwards Church
 297 Main St., Northampton, MA
 
For those able to stay and wanting to go longer and deeper, there will be a break for outdoor time, a pot luck supper, and continued ritual and sharing from 6:30 to 9pm.
 
Co-led by: John Berkowitz and Jonathan Stein,
The site is wheelchair accessible.
Donations between $3-10 will be requested to cover expenses.
 More info: 413-387-8439   johnpberk@gmail.com 

Climate Action Now

 
Climate Action Now is a people powered, grassroots Western Massachusetts based organization dedicated to building a powerful, unstoppable climate justice movement. We work in our communities and in collaboration with diverse partners across the region to educate, advocate, and mobilize for climate action. Newcomers are welcome! Let's work together to create an inclusive, unstoppable movement for climate justice!

Please send feedback, comments and ideas for stories to Newsletter Editor, Susan Theberge
Special thanks to photographer Rene Theberge.
 
Copyright © 2016 Climate Action Now MA, All rights reserved.


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