Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey intends to defend the state against a lawsuit by a gas pipeline developer who seeks to tear up a state forest and override a protection afforded by the state’s Constitution, according to an article on MassLive.com.
The attorney general will defend the state against Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., which seeks an easement through the Otis State Forest for a new natural gas pipeline spur that would serve three natural gas utilities in Connecticut. The Kinder Morgan subsidiary recently sued the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to gain rights to tear down trees on the state conservation land along the pipeline route.
“Our state Constitution protects conservation land across Massachusetts, including Otis State Forest,” Healey stated in an email to The Springfield Republican. “Any company with plans to build on or re-purpose state-protected land has an obligation to fully comply with the requirements set forth in our Constitution.”
The company won a certificate from the Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission on March 11 for the Connecticut Expansion project, but DCR has not conveyed a construction easement, citing Article 97 of the state constitution, which requires legislative approval for the disposition of conservation land, the article states.
The pipeline company wants to begin tree-cutting right away because aspects of the Endangered Species Act won’t let them cut trees in the forest past March 31.
The state acquired the Otis State Forest, including Spectacle Pond Farm, for $5.2 million in 2007 in collaboration with Mass Audubon, according to MassLive.com.
To read the MassLive.com article, click here.
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