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New England News

Massachusetts Announces Settlement Over Pipeline Expansion In Otis St. Forest

Pipeline opponents rallied outside Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield, Massachusetts for a hearing on the land access in April 2016.
Jim Levulis
/
WAMC
Pipeline opponents rallied outside Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield, Massachusetts for a hearing on the land access in April.

Massachusetts says it has settled a lawsuit brought by Tennessee Gas over an easement through Otis State Forest to expand an existing natural gas pipeline. 

The Attorney General’s office says Thursday the company will pay Massachusetts $640,000 for conservation land acquired by eminent domain. Part of the money will fund mitigation and improvements to the state forest in Sandisfield. Tennessee Gas sought the eminent domain taking because Massachusetts lawmakers did not vote to authorize the easement as required by the state constitution. About two miles of underground pipeline will be placed within a six-acre easement in the forest. It’s part of the roughly $93 million federally-approved Connecticut Expansion Project

Katy Eiseman, Director of the Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network, released the following statement in response to the settlement. The group has consistently opposed the pipeline expansion.

"While we like to think of the Attorney General [Maura Healey] as 'the People's lawyer,' her office made clear to us early on that they considered DCR [Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation] to be their client in this case," the statement reads. "And DCR's marching orders from [Governor] Charlie Baker seem to be that his energy combo platter is more important than our constitution and the natural treasures of our Commonwealth. The idea that the land can simply be replaced with another acquisition is extremely troubling.  This protected land is not fungible.  It was protected for a reason."

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