Otis State Forest and Article 97

These statements were released by The Sugar Shack Alliance and allies on February 6th.

A coffin lying in Otis State Forest. A sign on the coffin reads, "Here lies Otis State Forest and the demise of it's Article 97 Protection. Rest in Pieces"

WHY WE MOURN TODAY

This afternoon, in the Berkshire Superior Courthouse, the settlement will be finalized between the Commonwealth and Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a subsidiary of the energy giant Kinder Morgan, granting them the right of way on an easement in Otis State Forest which had heretofore been protected by Article 97 of the State Constitution. Article 97, approved by voters in 1972, grants Massachusetts citizens the right to a clean environment and authorizing the Commonwealth to acquire conservation easements.   Article 97 was intended to be a legislative ‘check’ to ensure that lands acquired for conservation purposes were not converted to other inconsistent uses.  Such as a pipeline carrying fracked gas with all the accompanying dangers and degradations to the environment.

We mourn the loss of this protected conservation land, sold down the river to the lowest bidder. We mourn the Commonwealth’s capitulation to corporate power. We mourn the trampling death of Article 97 protection in Otis State Forest.

Sugar Shack Alliance and friends

FUNERAL PROGRAM

1:00 Line up on the sidewalk of Park Square behind the coffin.

1:10 Funeral procession around Park Square (staying on the sidewalk) to the solemn cadence of the bagpiper’s mournful melodies

1:20 Funeral service and eulogies

1:30 Taps

1:35  Disperse

2:00 (Optional) Settlement Hearing at the Courthouse across the street. No signs, no demonstrations.

Thank you for joining us this afternoon as we grieve the loss of Article 97 protection in Otis State Forest.