MA member arrested in Spectra Energy pipeline protest

By Hattie Nestel and Nancy Price, Earth Democracy

On June 29, Hattie Nestel was one of 23 arrested in a nonviolent action to stop work on Spectra Energy’s fracked gas pipeline, West Roxbury, MA. In the morning, because they were stopped at barricades and not arrested, the group went to a local church to strategize and went back about 1:30 pm, taking the police and workers completely by surprise. About ten people—including Tim DeChristopher, who recently completed his two-year parole, Karenna Gore, and others—engaged in an action called Age of Anticipatory Mass Graves for Climate Victims and jumped six feet down into the trench where the pipeline was already laid and stretched themselves out, face up, as if already climate victims, while others, including Hattie, lay on the ground. They were all arrested and taken to jail. Though Hattie refused to pay a bail bondsman, she somehow was released anyway after about five hours. When they appeared in court the following day, they were all given misdemeanors and not charged with the larger crime of resisting arrest. As Hattie wrote to Nancy Price: “It felt like an honest day’s work!”

Already more than 150 people of all ages, including many clergy from many religious groups, have been arrested in ongoing sustained resistance to this pipeline as part of “Escalation Summer,” June 19-29. Every elected official who represents the area is against this project, and on April 29 the city of Boston unanimously passed a resolution opposing it.

Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline (SWIRL) and Resist the Pipeline have organized to stop this pipeline that is a branch of Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) natural gas pipeline infrastructure in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

Two short videos of the West Roxbury Spectra event of May 25 are available on YouTube, here and here.

Approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), construction has started on this 42-inch in diameter, high-pressure pipeline that crosses under the Hudson from New York to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The project includes expansion of 6 existing compressor stations, 24 existing metering and regulating stations, and construction of 3 new metering and regulating stations. AIM is a massive project, and FERC approval overrides local and state authority. Spectra Energy of Houston, Texas, is collaborating with its subsidiary, Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC of Waltham, MA.  

At present, Hattie and cohorts have stopped the Kinder Morgan pipeline across northern MA, which Earth Democracy has reported on in several previous Earth Democracy eNews articles. Yet, now, Kinder Morgan wants to build a gas storage” pipeline loop from Connecticut to Sandisfield, MA, and back into Connecticut that would require felling 14,000 trees in the old-growth forest of the 900-acre Otis State Forest, circumventing permanent conservation protections of Article 97 (of 1972) of the Massachusetts State Constitution. On May 17, 2014, residents voted to ban the pipeline, but now the question is whether FERC will override community and state’s rights. Stay tuned.

Recently, Hattie and three colleagues met with Senator Elizabeth Warren to ask her to call for a moratorium on natural gas pipelines in Massachusetts and for investigation of FERC members for alleged conflict of interest in both review and approval of projects.

Actions will continue with July 10, the second annual National Day of Action: Mobilize Now! Climate Emergency Day of Action to Protect Civilization & the Natural World, and the five-day People over Pipelines March, July 14-18, along the route of the Spectra pipelines to the Boston State House to show Governor Baker and state legislators that if they don’t take leadership on stopping new gas pipelines in Massachusetts, the people will.

Photo Credit: ResistThePipeline.


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