Defending Conservation Land Against Pipeline Projects
Update: As of December 2016, AG Healey successfully negotiated for compensation to the state for conservation land taken by eminent domain during the construction of the Connecticut Expansion Project. The company will pay $640,000 to the state, and identify and acquire additional conservation land “that provides ecological functions equivalent to the land impacted by the pipeline” such as the nearly two miles of pipeline through pristine Otis State Forest.
Mass Audubon has submitted an amicus brief to the Berkshire Superior Court in support of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office for their defense against the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Connecticut Expansion, a proposed natural gas pipeline project that is trying to remove protections on state land designated for permanent conservation.
The land in question is a large parcel of Article 97 conservation land in Otis State Forest in Sandisfield. Among its many valuable features are a 425-year-old eastern hemlock old growth forest, rare plant and animal species, mature deciduous woodlands, rolling meadows, and the entire 62-acre Lower Spectacle Pond.
Mass Audubon is committed to the permanent protection of this land, as we were heavily involved in its acquisition when we purchased and preserved it as conservation land, then conveyed it to the Department of Conservation and Recreation. We previously submitted testimony in opposition to the transfer of Article 97 protections from this land for access to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline through legislation.