Protesters fighting to stop pipeline through Otis State Forest

Protesters say countless trees would be cut down, pond would be drained

SANDISFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The normally quiet Otis State Forest was abuzz with activity Friday, as environmental activists gathered to protest a planned Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Kinder Morgan wants to expand their Connecticut pipeline through nearly four miles of the forest. Demonstrators sang, held signs, and vowed not to be moved in their quest to prevent the pipeline expansion.

The proposal would extend the fossil fuel pipeline underground, but protesters say that countless trees would be cut down, and a million gallons of water would be drained from a nearby pond. They said that their focus is on peaceful protest, but they would not rule out putting their bodies in harm’s way to send a stronger message.

“I will do everything I can with that code of conduct to stand before the developer of this pipeline project,” Ashfield Select Board member Ronald Coler said. He was among the protesters Friday; “Perhaps I’ll chain myself to a tree, perhaps I’ll sit in the road. I don’t know.”

There is a private security detail and an increasing state police presence in the state forest as Kinder Morgan begins cutting down trees and protests grow.

Kinder Morgan’s project will serve three natural gas distribution companies in Connecticut.

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