Last update:

Kinder Morgan Natural Gas Pipeline, USA

Pipeline expansion pushes aside the rights of a Massachusetts protected forest area, despite persistent protests and numerous arrests of even a 98-year-old woman. The fight continues...


The expansionary strategies of oil and gas companies through the construction of pipelines are an ongoing challenge for US-based grassroots environmental justice organizations. The strategy of Kinder Morgan is to expand a natural gas pipeline "to meet increased demand in the U.S. Northeast for transportation capacity [of] natural gas.” The pipeline will provide a capacity of 72,100 Dekatherms/day (3), which will have an energy equivalent  of 12,430 Barrels of Oil per day (4,5). The majority of opposition to the project is centered around the approximately 4-mile stretch of pipe currently being installed in Berkshire County Massachusetts with 2-miles through Otis State Forest (6), an 900-acre old growth forest in Sandisfield, Massachusetts, which includes trees more than 400 years old. This forest had been purchased by Massachusetts taxpayers for $5.2 Million in 2007 in order to place it into perpetual protection, of which Kinder Morgan intends to interfere. 

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kinder Morgan Natural Gas Pipeline, USA
Country:United States of America
State or province:Massachusetts
Location of conflict:Sandisfield
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Before 1950 in Massachusetts, USA, natural gas was manufactured from coal or oil through chemical processes; whereas today, natural gas is sourced from hydraulic fracking. The fracking wells, which differ from water wells, are volumes of underground earth and stone that have absorbed within them natural gas able to be extracted (1). The gas flows from wells through interstate transmission pipelines. Approximately 1,000 miles of interstate gas transmission lines exist in Massachusetts and are owned and operated by three companies: Algonquin Gas Transmission Company, Maritimes and Northeast Pipelines Company, and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (23), the latter a wholly owned subsidiary of Kinder Morgan and the largest transporter of petroleum products in North America and supplier of almost 38% of U.S. consumed natural gas.

See more
Project area:365
Level of Investment for the conflictive project100,400,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:128,000
Start of the conflict:08/03/2016
Company names or state enterprises:Kinder Morgan from United States of America
Relevant government actors:The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Massachusetts State Police
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network
Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)
Pipeline Awareness Network for the Northeast
Sugar Shack Alliance
Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Global warming, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Other socio-economic impactsFederal usurps State governments' ability to protect select lands from fossil fuel development.
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
Proposal and development of alternatives:Increased use of renewable energy and the non-development of fossil fuel pipelines, particularly through State protected land, are supported by all groups protesting the project.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The construction of the pipeline was completed directly through a protected forest and despite state laws protecting the forest from said construction. Also, the trends associated with the pipeline are quite worrisome, such as the purchasing of local police protection by the pipeline, and unresponsiveness on the part of Kinder Morgan to compensate the local people for their losses.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[13] ferc-approval-for-tennessee-gas-pipeline-connecticut-expansion-project
[click to view]

[15] 1st-Circuit-Judgment-BEAT-v-TGP-re-Section-401-Clean-Water-Act-jurisdiction
[click to view]

[2] Pipeline construction information
[click to view]

[3] Kinder Morgan Website News
[click to view]

[4] conversation oil barrels
[click to view]

[5] Energy price conversion
[click to view]

[6] Massachusetts News Pipeline
[click to view]

[7] Berkshire Eagle News
[click to view]

[8] MA News Arrests Made of Protesters
[click to view]

[9] Berkshire Eagle Protesters arrested
[click to view]

[10] Six more pipeline protesters arrested
[click to view]

[11] Protestors deliver arrest warrent to Kinder Morgan
[click to view]

[12] 98-year-old arrested
[click to view]

[14] Berkshire Edge Pipeline Appeal
[click to view]

[16] Pipeline Foes
[click to view]

[17] Mass okays pipeline
[click to view]

[18] Mass Agrees to pipeline
[click to view]

[19] Bill Open State
[click to view]

[20] TN Gas pipeling sues MA
[click to view]

[21] TEnsions over TN State pipeline
[click to view]

[22] Sugar Shack Alliance Protest
[click to view]

[23]Pipeline Safety Division
[click to view]

[24] Kinder Morgan 115K
[click to view]

[25] Pipeline begins to flow
[click to view]

[26] Contaminated pipeline test water
[click to view]

[27] Contaminated test water headed to Maine
[click to view]

[28] Pipeline activist subdued by stun gun
[click to view]

[29] Police arrest protestors and get paid
[click to view]

[30] Police stun gun protestors
[click to view]

[31] Standsfield highway chief shot from pipeline work
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Protest March:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Maarten Pellegrini, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3448
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.